"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience." – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I think I can do no better about answering the question of what it means to be truly educated than to go back to some of the classic views on the subject. For example the views expressed by the founder of the modern higher education system, Wilhelm von Humboldt, leading humanist, a figure of the Enlightenment who wrote extensively on education and human development and argued, I think, kind of very plausibly, that the core principle and requirement of a fulfilled human being is the ability to inquire and create constructively independently without external controls.
In fact, some of the biggest issues of the contemporary world can be better understood through the prism of the Arts and Humanities because these disciplines have important things to say about every aspect of human existence. The list is endless but some pressing examples that come to mind are terrorism and war; migration and multi-culturalism; security; privacy and freedom; environmental and digital issues; and mental and physical well-being. The Arts and Humanities both celebrate and challenge the expression of the human condition in its numerous manifestations and place human values at the centre of our world.
I have been trying over the past twenty years to balance the serious and disturbing information I absorb at my job about human suffering, the earth's failing environment, and the atrocities of unnecessary wars, in a way that allows me to also, sometimes, feel joy.
I think what is going on now is we are being forced to recognize that this paradigmatic Western civilization, what we are part of, that we have been indoctrinated with, has fundamental flaws. And the most fundamental flaw is this automatic assumption that everything coming from the West always came from the West, had no other origins, whereas it’s almost the opposite.
The English way of saying, well, you meet a new person and what was he like? "What was he like?" is a very strange thing to say. It's saying: don't tell me how he was. Tell me what he resembles. Isn't that weird? It says: tell me a story.
PURE IMAGINATION PROGRAM for YOUNG WRITERS
OUR VOICES, OUR STORIES, OUR LIVES
"IMAGINATION is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore,
the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity,
it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared." –J.K. ROWLING