In these difficult economic times, workers have been urged to take classes and develop skills that make themselves more marketable. I’m always in favor of a practical education. But, I do think that focusing only on money-making abilities is a huge mistake for any self-educator.
This week, The New Republic published an outstanding essay, dispelling the idea that learners should ignore the humanities (i.e. a rounded education):
“…The worth of the humanities needs no justifying. The reason is that it will take many kinds of sustenance to help people through these troubles. Many people will now have to fall back more on inner resources than on outer ones. They are in need of loans, but they are also in need of meanings. The external world is no longer a source of strength. The temper of one’s existence will therefore be significantly determined by one’s attitude toward circumstance, its cruelties and its caprices…
We are in need of fiscal policy and spiritual policy. And spiritually speaking, literature is a bailout, and so is art, and philosophy, and history, and the rest. These are assets in which we may all hold majority ownership; assets of which we cannot be stripped, except by ourselves.“
Great literature is something that helps us understand the world and create meaning in our lives. Times may be tough. But, even if you’re struggling to make ends meet, take a little time each day to give yourself a “literary bailout.” Reading great books can help you rejuvenate your soul and even gain a better understanding of the current situation.
Don’t know where to start? Take a look at my article: 10 Ways Reading the Great Books Can Improve Your Life. Then, check back here soon for more in-depth discussions of great literature.