Essay Liberal Education

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People who studied the liberal arts were either weird or dumb.

(Or they were women because, sadly, in those days, the humanities was seen as an appropriate training for an aspiring housewife but not for a budding professional.) If you were bright, you studied science, so I did.

I even learned computer programming—in India in the 1970s!

When I came to the United States for college, I brought with me that mindset.

I haven’t written about it yet.” There is, in modern philosophy, a great debate as to which comes first—thought or language. All I know is that when I begin to write, I realize that my “thoughts” are usually a jumble of half-baked, incoherent impulses strung together with gaping logical holes between them.

It is the act of writing that forces me to think through them and sort them out.In my first year at Yale, I took a bunch of science and math courses.But I also took one course in the history of the Cold War.And I might point out to Governor Scott that it could be in the vital interests of his state in particular to have on hand some anthropologists to tell Floridians a few things about the other 99.5 percent of humanity.It teaches you how to write But for me, the most important earthly use of a liberal education is that it teaches you how to write.I can well understand the concerns about liberal arts because I grew up in India in the 1960s and 1970s.A technical training was seen as the key to a good career.Whether you are a novelist, a businessman, a marketing consultant, or a historian, writing forces you to make choices and brings clarity and order to your ideas.If you think this has no earthly use, ask Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.I know I’m supposed to say that a liberal education teaches you to think, but thinking and writing are inextricably intertwined.The columnist Walter Lippmann, when asked his thoughts on a particular topic, is said to have replied, “I don’t know what I think on that one.


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