Students these days are worried about getting jobs. Grades matter not as a cumulative indicator of lessons learned but because they affect a student’s degree success. Education is not an end in itself: it is the means to an end - an economic end.
At ITP, I want to walk this fragile line where art breaks from commerce, creativity from marketability, and philosophy from profit.
In Monoculture, F.S. Michaels asserts that throughout history, people have viewed their world through a singular lens. In the Middle Ages, the lens was religious, and damning someone to hell was a palpable punishment. The Renaissance rotated its lens to system of scientific reasoning. Then things changed.
We currently view the world – and the art, creativity, scholarship and industry that define it – through an economic lens. Here, Michaels writes, “art matters not because it elevates the human experience, but because it contributes to ‘international competitiveness, economic modernization, urban regeneration, economic diversification, national prestige, [and] economic development.”
However, I believe in inherent beauty, beauty that is valuable independent from financial profitability. I believe that philosophy has a place in society, and that an educational system that awards 21.7% of B.A. graduates with business degrees does not necessarily cultivate good citizens.
The economist E.F. Schumacher put it this like this: “Call a thing immoral or ugly, soul destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations; as long as you have not shown it to be ‘uneconomic’ you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow, and prosper.”
There is another American way and we can find another American lens.”
We still and always want waking.”