The classical liberal arts education curriculum is designed around the core concept of “learning how to learn.” The components of the coursework begin with a heavy focus on reading and reading comprehension and work their way through subjects like composition, rhetoric, public speaking, philosophy, useful Arts, the sciences and mathematics. The natural emphasis of liberal arts is the humanities, which produce an experience of academics seasoned by a deep appreciation for mankind and his place in the universe. The goal of such an education is to produce a well-rounded student with sufficient experience in each major area of academics to support advanced study in a single subject.
Liberal arts students naturally gravitate towards careers like teaching, becoming an author, journalism, law, becoming a historian, public service, library science and business, mainly because those vocations take full advantage of a student’s appreciation for man’s continuing quest for knowledge. A liberal arts degree establishes a graduate’s competency in these areas and equips them to make their own contributions.
Students who appreciate man’s historical struggles and understand the conditions that led to many of the achievements of the past can fully appreciate what it takes to build and manage a business. Because commerce relies entirely on human interaction, learning subjects like marketing, advertising, and product design are a natural consequence of already knowing the basics of subjects like psychology, sociology and culture. While a liberal arts education doesn’t necessarily delve into the details of technical skills like accounting or finance, it does help future business leaders understand the “why” of successful businesses before they learn the “how.”
Such leaders can earn stupendous salaries, given their advice can be used to build mighty commercial empires from humble stock.
For most students, the law is a gigantic library full of difficult-to-understand texts, obscure rulings and even more obscure concepts that have their roots in the achievements of past millennia. For the liberal arts student, the law is a fiery advocate, bravely clutching the words of great judges and magistrates and thundering away before a tribunal seated to consider a case made or lost by one man and his vision of justice.
It should, therefore, come as no surprise that some of the greatest figures in history took seriously their journey through knowledge gained by studying the liberal arts. These are people who managed to codify timeless concepts and place them before all people in ways none have before or since. The education these folks earn is uniquely suited for trial law.
To say that liberal arts prepares a man or woman for legal practice is like saying rain prepares the Earth for grass. Good trial lawyers are as rare as good knuckleball pitcher, and are correspondingly well paid.
The ability to weave great concepts into even greater dialogue and plot is the mark of a true wordsmith, and no educational curriculum aside from pure language study prepares one better for taking the written word and making it sing. It might be said that writing books is no way for a prudent man to make a living, but in the 21st century, one could credibly argue there has never been a better time in human history to be a writer.
Given what mediocre romance novelists are earning in this day and age, it would seem that advantage can and does translate into staggering sums of money.
It is easy to say what a man learns as a consequence of a liberal arts degree isn’t all that useful in this technology obsessed age, but that would be missing the entire point. Technology is utterly useless without man, and man is understood by what students learn when they follow the academic path laid down by this indispensable academic discipline.
Source: Inside Higher Ed
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