Cahiers Péguy

7Jan/112

A Liberated Liberal Arts

(with apologies to Peter Maurin)

I'm for the liberated liberal arts not the monetized
and politicized liberal arts,
the virginal liberal arts, not the pandering liberal arts.
The humanities after all, belong to the humans and the humane.
Why should the university be the gatekeeper of the human?

In the university, students do not learn to connect
the particular to the whole, but instead
to regard each subject as the master of all the others
during class... and as an abstraction immediately afterward.

A bachelor of arts is a certified human;
a master of arts is a certified teacher;
a doctor of arts is a certified teacher of teachers;
but certification is not essential to the human.

What’s essential to the human person is
connection to the whole, establishing ties,
that is, religion.
Without religion, says Peter Maurin,
so-called education is:
“plenty of facts
but no understanding.”

Without religion,
universities are no longer the wardens of merit, but
the gatekeepers of mammon and power.
In their book Trust Agents, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith advocate
gatejumping for the sake of the human.
A gatejumper builds credibility
man to man — without the approval of gatekeepers.
Gatejumpers are not automatically worthy of trust
but at least they don’t rely on credentials
purchased with borrowed funds.

Is it just for students to complain
that the liberal arts are too pricey when they borrow
with the expectation of earning many times the amount?
Is it just for the university to train adjunct professors at costs
beyond what can be recovered?

If you want to be human,
learn the liberal arts at personal cost.
Read The Quiet Light as background to The
Divine Comedy
. Read Christopher Dawson
for a non-sanitized history. Fr. Giussani gave books
to his friend, Enzo Piccinini.
These books became Books of the Christian Spirit.
And Spirito Gentil is a classical music series
with notes from Fr. Giussani.

So on vacation, on lunch break, in the evenings,
and weekends, get together with friends to
learn appreciation for music and drama;
learn politics and philosophy and economics and
the sciences.
For Christ’s sake,
for humanity’s sake,
for yourself and your children,
and their children.

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About Fred

Kansas City metro area, in Kansas. Father of three. Masters in English (mainly Chaucer through Donne) from Fordham. Work as Customer Service Manager in software specializing in successful implementation and training: bridging people with business requirements and technical specialists.
Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. What an eloquent follow up!

  2. Thank you! It seemed to me that a critique of the academy need not follow the academic form. I feel like every day I’m giving up familiar ports for the open sea.


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