The Curse of Liberal Education… Continued

As much as I have always loved liberal education, even I will admit that it does have a fairly obvious downside. I call this downside “the curse of liberal education.”

What is this curse? Quite simply, liberal education arouses the mind of its victims with an interest in things that appear to be of no interest to anyone else. Well perhaps I should say liberal education arouses a thirst for knowledge about things that seem to be of very little interest to most people.

For example in these relaxing days of summer I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to understand basic grammatical concepts like the difference between nouns and verbs, as well  as the difference between the way the modern mind thinks about these things compared to the medieval mind. It turns out that the modern mind (surprise!) thinks about grammar in a very utilitarian and functional way. It turns out that the moderns think about grammar as an almost completely relative and absolutely conventional art, whereas the Medieval mind thought that grammar was a key vehicle for knowing the truth – and I don’t mean that it key only because it is a functional tool by which we are able to communicate with one another. The Medieval mind understood that the “modes of signifying” conveyed the truth about the “modes of being.”

You would think that schools would teach grammar wouldn’t you?

I suppose that the “curse of liberal education” is that it prepares and arouses the mind to think about “trivial things” (e.g. Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic). And not only does it prepare the mind for these things, it also makes these things very interesting and even exciting and of great significance to the mind.

Of course liberal education makes its adherents mostly interested in truth and finally God, but it turns out that those so called trivial things are fundamental to the search for truth.







About marklangley

Presently, the founding Headmaster of Our Lady of Walsingham Academy in Colorado Springs (see www., former headmaster and Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their children.
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