True Learning is Useless

Andrew Sullivan with some comments in the wake of Rush Limbaugh’s “incoherence and disdain” for classical studies.

In Defense of “Classical Studies”: But the main reason for a classical education is precisely its uselessness. True learning is practically useless; and it should be. It is not about deploying knowledge to master the world, it is about the pursuit of truth for the sake of nothing else. It is about the highest things. How is a life worth living if it ignores them?

I am becoming increasingly convinced that colleges and universities are being turned into trade schools. This is not a bad thing in and of itself, insofar as our country’s economic competitiveness in the world is at stake, but it may well spell the demise of real education and true learning.


2 thoughts on “True Learning is Useless

  1. Personally, I think that the movement from centers of higher education to trade schools WILL hurt our country’s competitiveness in the world! We’ll be good at the low-end menial tasks, sure, but without critical thinking, we’re done!

    1. I agree that increasing productivity in low-end menial tasks only is a detriment. We certainly need critical thinking skills, and we will still have places for them, but I fear those places will continue to become more scarce. I can easily foresee a future where state institutions become trade schools and private universities remain places for “liberal arts” educations, a move that would continue to increase the gap between people in society. This is not a future I hope to see, but will not be surprised if this becomes a reality.

      I must add, though, that strengthening our economy will help stem this tide more than anything else. With a strong economy comes more comfort at taking such risks as getting a liberal arts education and comes more demand for all types of educations.

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