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October 31, 2007

Searching for Meaning in Higher Education

In a bygone time, knowledge was assumed to consist of those things that could be discerned about the natural and supra-natural worlds. In this unified view of truth, the university was the place where people went to train for a vocation while learning about the great metaphysical questions of life. In fact, the word "university" is etymologically derived from "unity" and "truth." However, once the scientific worldview created the fact-value split in knowledge, higher education became a metaphyscial wasteland where generations of students were left to navigate the confusing waters of meaning and purpose without a compass or captain.

Concerns over this condition, and strategies for correcting it, are being voiced from some interesting corners these days. Read about it in my new BreakPoint piece, "Collegians in Confusion."

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Excellent as always, Regis.

I wonder if collegiate focus on preparing for a career is the cause of many a midlife crisis. Graduates are shot from a cannon into their first job and a family, and only when their own kids go off to college and material success is in hand do the former students realize they were never equipped to determine the "why" of all those furious years of "what".

And finally, I was amused to see you use (and coin?) the word "Kronmanian". Is evolution working in reverse on college campuses, creating a throwback species that is less fit for survival? Ah, but it might explain the presence of imaginative graffiti on campus walls. :-)

Regis Nicoll

Lee-I think you're right about the modern focus on career versus unified knowledge. As to "Kronmanian"; you like that? Honestly, I couldn't pass up the strained allusion to "Cro-magnumium." ;-)

Jason Taylor

Actually I have plenty of unified knowledge but I am still looking for a career.
And a career is more then material. It is a way to give a little back to society.
So there is always a balance.

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