Originally Posted by luqmaninbmore
Doesn't Rabbinical school give you practical experience in debate that you wouldn't get from just reading a book? I'd think that developing legal reasoning in depth and then having to defend that reasoning on the fly would be an especially valuable learning experience. I know that in traditional Islamic education you have to go through a similar process once you grasp the fundamentals (i.e. Grammar, Vocabulary, Basic Religious Law, etc.). Students are regularly assigned propositions to attack and defend and taught the application of formal logical and rhetorical principles. My understanding that a traditional Yeshiva education operates using similar methods. At any rate, I think a liberal arts education is invaluable in learning how to think and in forcing one to tackle the Big Issues and Great Questions. I don't regret the years I spent studying philosophy (although I wish I had also tried to do a double major or at least a minor in Middle Eastern studies while I was at it). As it is, it is difficult enough to avoid being infected by the rampant materialism and consumerism that has got its grips in the American soul. A liberal arts education gives you a fighting chance to free yourself from that grip. I don't see how an educational experience which is from start to finish entirely focused on obtaining a marketable skill or set of skills without consideration (and often with no time available) for the meaning of what one is doing will allow one to develop in the type of person qualified to exercise the power that a free and democratic society confers upon the individual. This is not to say that there are not thoughtful engineers and doctors, but this is something they come to 'on the side.' Frankly, I think if there were more engineers who deeply studied and pondered over ethics, there would be a dearth of those individuals willing to devote themselves to the art of developing better ways to kill humans. If there was a concerted movement among scientists to study social theory, perhaps we would not be awash technological and pharmaceutical products which serve very little purpose other than to enrich patent holders while actually contributing to the degradation of the quality of life and of the fabric of our society.
It's not that I regret it. I did enjoy being in school. I enjoyed learning and I still do. However what I learned has very little to do with what I now do for a living and the pieces of paper I have mean exactly nothing to the clients I work for who only care if my writing is good and if I can get the job done on time. The irony of it all is that when I was 8 years old I knew I wanted to be a writer. It took going through 10 years of school and 19 different jobs before I got back to what I wanted to do when I was 8 and almost none of those 10 years of school or 19 jobs was particularly relevant since I was already getting praised for my writing when I was in high school. Actually, I still remember when I was in my first year of college I turned in a paper in my film class which my professor marked with a C+ and the following comment: "you deserve an F. You didn't write a single thing about what I asked you to write about. However, what you did write was so well written, I just couldn't flunk you." Anyway, bottom line, my higher education might have been enjoyable and might have given me lots of general knowledge, but it wasn't necessary for what I do for a living right now.