David Foster Wallace's Liberal Arts Education Teaches An Individual To Think?

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David Foster Wallace postulates that the true value of an education lies in that education teaches an individual to think. He states that an education gives one the ability to consciously decide how they will perceive the world around them. Hendrix’s motto reflects similar values, and reads, “Unto the whole person.” In choosing this phrase as a reflection of the institution, Hendrix makes a commitment to cultivating graduates that are more than intelligent. In doing so, the institution recognizes that understanding perspectives is an integral part of life and actively aims to develop this ability in its students. The liberal arts cover a wide array of topics that vary from the abstract to the concrete and that require mature thought and …show more content…
They often promote the idea that Hendrix and similar schools create graduates who can do a little of everything, but a lot of nothing. In response I would allege that simply the empathetic ability gained while studying here is worth more than any number of technical degrees. Wallace mentions that how one allows themselves to think is directly related to how they perceive their experience. His talk implies that an individual who retains the self-serving attitude prevalent in today’s society will ultimately be unhappy in life. That they will see situations in regards to how those situations directly impact them, instead of by dissecting their root causes. Without the ability to take the perspective of others, Wallace argues that we as a society dehumanize those around us. It becomes simple and natural to look at those around us as obstacles and as burdens. Through the studying at a liberal arts college, an individual is given the tools they need to free themselves from that trap. Instead of seeing others as burdens, one is able to see the world from another’s perspective. One who is able to do this is less likely to stay irritated at a stranger, as when they understand the stranger’s perspective they liken the stranger to themselves. This focus of perspective taking that Hendrix focuses on is a means to and end, one that finalizes in making the world a smaller and happier place; one in which even the most opposite of people can find

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