Latin quote: "Animus facit nobilem"  translation: "a great mind is that which makes for  noblility" 

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Boarding schools

Boarding schools in the British style 
with emphasis on fostering individual
spirit within an atmosphere of communal
belonging along with a disciplined 
approach towards the learning of
classical philosophy and literature. 
School uniforms too across the board.
              

 


A conversion to intelligent schooling with 
abandonment of regurgitative, simplistically 
agreeable students who lack thinking abilities 
of their own. (Mainly as a result of stupidizing 
torturing practices - definitive of Canadian 
childrearing.)

 
High educational 
standards



Philosophy studies at high school levels as
well as a mandatory  year of Arts for students 
in any other faculty at a Canadian degree 
granting institution (University).

Entry examinations to determine aptitude 
including weighted interviews and life 
experience evaluation by responsible 
committees.

Mandatory B.A. in Political Philosophy for
those planning on pursuing a Law career.


this beautiful image can be purchased
as a framed print through "World-Wide
Art" on the internet. The talented
Artist: Mr. Steve Hanks

Importance of 
Liberal Arts Schooling

We have probably never been more concerned with 
our material well being as a society as in recent
decades. To be able to afford the things we want 
is the pre-occupation of most people. Yet, with 
ever rising incomes, there is a feeling of 
emptiness and a sense of desolation which 
accompanies it all.

If material wants alone could sufficiently 
satisfy, many more, if not most of those who 
have succeeded in attaining  wealth would in 
fact consider themselves to be very happy indeed. 
This is sadly not the case. Certainly, there can 
be much satisfaction from the ability to be able 
to spend freely as a result of having the economic
means to do so. I suggest, however,  that those 
whose lives mainly revolve around such concerns,
are in fact quite lonely and miserable to a large
extent, and feel themselves caught up in what is 
really a shallow exercise on the whole.

If there's more to life than this, just where is 
to be found, you ask! The answer is this. Its to 
be found in a liberal arts faculty at a decent 
University. With the right choices in schooling,
you can a develop a life long commitment to a 
course of making wise, morally sound decisions,
while pursuing excellence in work, a passion for
the arts and a caring for our families. All of 
which you should find this education  has 
prepared you for. In this, there is all the
happiness in the world to be found, as compared
to being simply acquisitive minded.

Consider that a good many people have no real 
sense of why they do what they do, or why they 
believe as they do except for habit, convention 
or simple minded regurgitation. If you cannot 
answer the question of why you exist in a 
rationally meaningful way, you should not expect
to have much fulfillment in what you do, other 
than momentary pleasures which last for varying 
periods of time. Weve all heard of those who if 
asked "why do you exist?", would respond with 
"well, now that Im here, why should it matter 
why Im here, after all even if I did engage in 
such an exercise, it would probably have no real 
meaning for my life". 

Yet, this all important question of what really 
makes life worth living is what you try to answer
in a meaningful way in pursuing a liberal arts 
education. When you do stumble upon the answer, 
it turn out to have been signing up for your 
degree in the first place. To put it more 
succinctly, allow me to quote Socrates who said 
"the unexamined life is not worth living". In my 
own experience, I was most fortunate indeed to 
have selected a world class University, The 
University of Alberta. The most rewarding course I 
took was at that time from the "associate chairman" of 
the Department of Political Science. The course was 
called "The History of Political thought". It 
dealt with the great ideas of philosophy, 
concerned with what is right?, what is just?,
how should we govern ourselves? and indeed how
ought men best live. Theorists from Plato, to 
J.J. Rousseau, to  J.S. Mill and John Locke are 
dealt with in much detail in the Poli Sci 310 course, 
and as well in other such senior level courses. 
 
The aim of this education is that it seeks to 
develop those abilities in a student which best 
prepares them for a life of thinking intelligently 
for themselves and with confidence in the values 
on which they base their decisions. A recurring 
theme in the lectures was the need for excellence, 
the seeking of quality in our work endeavours in 
order to attain the dignity we otherwise are 
deprived of.

While at some superficial level, most are raised 
to have some set of beliefs as to what is right 
or wrong, too many grow up believing that it is 
mainly the fear of sanction and the need for our 
collective security which is the driving force 
behind our sense of morals. As a result, it 
becomes all too easy to abandon them at a time 
or place as something best practiced when there 
are no overwhelming temptations to stray from the 
common path. It is this superficial level of being 
civilized that a liberal arts education seeks to 
deal with. Those who leave this class well taught, 
have a much more substantial idea as to what makes 
their sense of values worth defending. I personally 
found Immanuel Kant and Erich Fromm (two of the 
greatest thinkers in the humanistic tradition), 
indispensable at arriving at the answer as to what 
it is man can truly believe in as being worth 
living for. The sense of  values which one comes 
to embrace as a result of combining a great 
teacher of ability  with a reading of  prescribed 
books especially by the likes of Erich Fromm, 
are those which stand in the best of the humanistic 
tradition. In essence you become a Christian in 
spirit, as a result of these teachings.  In this respect, 
a trip to the bookstore might be a great place 
to start your liberal arts education. 

The books written by Erich Fromm are in fact very 
relevant and timely as they deal contextually with  
current issues facing North Americans. "The sane 
society", "Man against himself - an inquiry into 
ethics" and "Escape from freedom" are especially 
worthwhile reading.

So much for seeking sound values. The underlying 
principle in the liberal arts tradition is the 
pursuit of a higher level of learning for its own 
sake. It is really the most clear definition of a 
purpose for which to exist in the most meaningful 
way. The great British philosopher John Stuart 
Mill says of this that hed rather "be a Socrates 
dissatisfied than a pig satisfied". He stands 
against the value system used by most people which 
says "if it feels good, do it" tradition. He argues 
that not everything which feels good to an
unenlightened person is a good thing to engage in. 
In my view, "rap music" would certainly be a case in point.
And in this respect, he argues, those deprived of 
the highest learning they can attain, lead lives 
which are far short of their potential with a 
resulting sense of desolation, and meaningfulness.

My advice to those who wish to lead a full and 
rewarding life is this: Get a liberal arts education. 
As our Prof back then was quick to point out, for someone 
to have attained a law degree or a medical degree or 
what have you, but  not yet gained a liberal arts 
education, is to have only been trained for a 
profession, rather than having been truly educated. 
The latter requires that often derided B.A. Yes, it 
does add some amount to your student loan. But then 
thats the price of a ticket to the "real" good life. 
I promise you wont begrudge a penny of it when it's 
time to repay that loan. You cant make a better deal 
than investing in making yourself a truly educated 
person. 

By the way, I made the honours list that year, but 
this was only a bonus compared to the impact the 
learning has had on enriching my life ever since.

Michael E. Chessman, 
Founder Euro British Americas Coalition

25 the esplanade Box 5036 toronto M5W1N4


Feedback:

Thank you for your two notes. They provided an 
opportunity for some interesting reflection on 
my part.


             Bernard Shapiro
             
             Dr. Bernard J. Shapiro
Principal and Vice-Chancellor
McGill University
Tel. 398-4180
Fax. 398-4768


Michael,    I very much enjoyed reading your 
passionate defence of liberal arts education. 
I completed my B.A. at the University of 
Massachusetts, which insisted that every student, 
regardless of their major or career plans, be well 
grounded in history, literature, and both the social 
and physical sciences.
    I initially resented what seemed to me to be 
constraining and irrelevant requirements.  At the end 
of my first two years, however, I had gained a love of 
history (which I disliked in high school), a new 
understanding and appreciation of literature, and a 
real fondness for the poems of Baudelaire.
All of these things - and more - have continued to 
enrich my life, as your underegraduate education has 
yours.  I agree with you that our society has become 
increasingly concerned with the material aspects of 
life (and more especially with the 'bottom line' in 
education) and I share your hope that this will not 
blind us to the more important personal and social 
benefits of a broadly-based liberal education.
    All the best, and thanks for your thoughts.


--
Richard B. Day                   Phone (905) 525-9140 x 23006
Department of Psychology         FAX: (905) 529-6225
McMaster University              email: dayrich@mcmaster.Ca

 



 

 

 website: http://www.eurocoalition.com