When it’s time to function as a feeling human being
Will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?
One of the last songs I remember hearing was Chicago’s “Dialogue,” playing from the iPod in my car. (Yes, I am rather stuck in the past, musically!) The song features a dialogue between a man and a mythical college graduate with his head in the clouds. He is very hopeful, as long as he stays in his own world and doesn’t really think about the problems the world faces, like war and poverty. The third line of the song (if you count the questions and the answers as one line) is one that resonates with me:
“When it’s time to function as a feeling human being
Will your Bachelor of Arts help you get by?”
Since the lyricist, Robert Lamm, wrote “bachelors of arts,” I am going to presume that he was talking about a degree from a liberal arts college. (Hey, it’s my blog!) If there is one thing that a liberal arts college is good for, it is providing the background for dealing with human problems…that is, “functioning as a feeling human being.”
(Cinn takes another step up the soapbox platform.)
I was lucky enough to be sent to, and graduate from a small liberal arts college in the Midwest, and not only were those the best four years of my life, the classes I took continually play a role in the way I think about the world, and they contribute to the deep enjoyment of many aspects of my life. Because of a seemingly lightweight class in the “Art of Listening” (to classical music), I appreciate the differences between true classical, Baroque and romantic classical music. Due to courses in literature, I understand a little about Chaucer, Poe, and many other established authors. I also know about various emphases in psychology, including behaviorism, humanism, and psychoanalysis. Religion classes taught me about the thoughts of David Hume, Soren Kierkegaard, and C. S. Lewis. Now mind you, I grew up to become a scientist. And I would have a hard time with a college exam in many of the areas I have mentioned. But the point is, I have been influenced and my life has been made richer for the experiences I shared with many others in those four years of college in liberal arts.
These days there are high schools, called magnet schools, which already specialize in certain areas. I might have gone to a magnet school for science and technology, if I was of that age today. But specializing early would not have made me a better scientist, and it definitely would not have made me a better person.
(Cinn steps down from the soapbox.)