A Liberal Arts Education


A liberal arts education provides students with a broad spectrum of
information enabling them to expand knowledge and to advance society in a
positive direction. This universal education provides a strong foundation of
knowledge in many subjects. The students can observe the strengths and
capabilities, as well as the limitations of each field of study. This allows
the students to find connections between diverse fields of study, to explore
them, and to discover new theories, thoughts, or inventions. It allows the
students to investigate areas of intrigue and create new fields of study by
blending subjects that compliment each other. With these new inventions,
discoveries, ideas, and new methods of problem solving, society will advance in
a positive direction. Standards of living will rise with these inventions and
discoveries, making society more productive and more capable of controlling its
surroundings. New thoughts and theories will give insight to those who desire
meaning and understanding of concepts.

A liberal arts education provides a strong foundation of knowledge in many
fields and subjects allowing students to create new theories, inventions, and
connections between fields. With this foundation, great thinkers can build and
expand from what others have learned rather than wasting time and effort on what
has already been discovered. While it is true that the factual information
about each subject is very important, the most useful tool liberal arts students
can possess is the knowledge of the strengths and capabilities of each
individual field, as well as the weaknesses and restrictions. With this
knowledge, the students can mesh attributes of different subjects to formulate
new and more brilliant concepts; the brilliance being a function of the
strengths and compatibility of the chosen subjects. As in mixing colors, a new
color can only be created by mixing different colors. The brilliance of this
new color depends on the shades and hues of the colors used to create it. The
same is true for education. The resulting idea or innovation is a function of
the aptness and compatibility of the subjects meshed to create it. For example,
the invention of the transistor, one of the most important electronic devices,
was developed by a team of research specialists. Specialized mathematicians,
scientists, physicists, and engineers all worked together to find a quicker,
more efficient way to process the overload of telephone calls. The leaders of
this research team had to be highly educated in every one of those fields of
study, as well as language. They had to practically translate the technical
terms of each field to the other team members so each one understood the
approach the team was taking. Most notably, though, the team leaders came up
with an approach of improving the efficiency of the vacuum tube in the
transistor, which resulted in one of the most practical electrical innovations
of all time. The solution the leaders came up with was ingenious. Through this,
society benefited by bei ng able to communicate more quickly and more clearly.
Businesses, armed forces, and governments today greatly depend on the rapidness
of telephone calls. This high level of communication in society is a direct
result of the innovative improvement of the transistor by liberal arts educated
minds.

A better understanding of each facet of education comes from
understanding the dependence of each subject upon one another. Each subject is
a branch of education and every branch stems from the same tree. Some branches
diverge and have twigs and branches of their own, but everything is joined at
the root. Education is very similar because each branch of knowledge relies on
the other in order to advance. For example, science relies on language to
document and publish experimental results. If these findings are published
inaccurately, other scientists who use these publications in their own research
will be misinformed. Each subject relies on another in some way. It is easier
to understand each branch of the tree better if you can see how it is involved
universally: where it stemmed from, and how it is dependent upon other branches;
what branches stemmed from it, and how they are dependent upon it. John Henry
Newman, in his "The Idea of a University", said, "true enlargement of mind … is
the power of viewing many things at once as one whole, of referring them
severally to their true place in the universal system, of understanding their
respective values, and determining their mutual dependence"(38). Newman is
saying quite directly that in order to understand something, it must be looked
at as one component of a universal picture. He is saying that when something is
closely examined, there