Universities are the very backbone of western civilization. They educate us in the most broadest sense, taking fragments from the greatest minds that ever put pen to paper. These fragments combining to reflect but one aspect of truth, in it’s purest sense. It’s a call to the highest mode of being; it manifests in you the greatness of the past. It’s a civilizational inheritance. They sharpen the knife of the mind. You learn how to write; how to place a word in a sentence, in a paragraph, in an essay, and that essay answers an important question, a problem. Something we should like to have an answer for. Without any sort of deeper drive we settle in torpor, just scraping out an essay for a class grade.
But not only is this vital to the very development of ourselves and society, but I’d argue we are almost duty-bound to study these things. We have a moral and ethical duty to understand history, because it’s about us. We are only products of the ideas and history around us, and we have to understand that to ever glean a glimpse of truth. We need an awareness of aesthetics too, what is beautiful. What is noble. What is the validity of my being? What is a goal of sufficient nobility to justify the inequity of my existence? We have education to find these things, what the ideal is. And that’s what we orient ourselves to, the hope that sustains us through catastrophe.
And I say duty-bound because some people don’t and/or will never have access to these great institutes, or the works inside them. Those of us who are blessed with the opportunity of studying should approach it with thirst, and view it as an individual and societal duty. We can’t afford not to study. Goodness and truth are things that have to be constantly grasped for, they aren’t a static achievement from the past.
“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”
― G.K. Chesterton