On The Uses Of A Liberal Education: As “Lite Entertainment for Bored College Students” Teacher evaluation day is the catharsis at the end of a semester’s tragedy. Mark Edmundson presents a powerful vision for liberal education. The responsibility for it lies directly with students and professors themselves.
On Making Decisions Despite the Instability of Our Future Selves The paradox of how our lives must be planned for a future self that is uncertain. Different takes on this theme of commitment-making under uncertainty, and my own perspective from a college essay.
The Drama and Humanity of Sport: On Stage 19 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia The contrast between the beauty and permanence of the landscapes next to the suffering of humans trying to overcome them is what makes this sport a symbol of humanity.
On Excellent Sheep: What is College for? Bill Deresiewicz often seems unsure about who to blame for our education system’s failure to live up to the promise of the liberal arts. But his immense contribution may be as the person who gave rise to new champions of the liberal arts, standard-bearers who will make the liberal arts cool again.
“Write a story about how school is the biggest trick ever” I rediscover a note I wrote to myself during high school. Ultimately, it is precisely the perilous mixture of ambition and creativity that poses the problem, for one requires conformity and the other its exact opposite.
Why Do We Take Such Great Risks for Sport? If youth is wasted on the young, sport might go some way towards alleviating that waste through the individual recognition that bodies aren’t uniform and nor are they infinite. Or; what do the Red Hook Crit, Roger Federer, and Stage 16 of the 2015 Giro d’Italia have in common?
In Myanmar, Learning What is at Stake in Our Travels A following-the-footsteps journey leads to questions about buying colonial lifestyles; how travel writing was Somerset Maugham’s version of the Facebook glamour shot.
Learning How To Do Nothing On “leisure guilt”, and how when it comes to productivity, we frequently fill our days with tasks before giving ourselves the space to ask whether those tasks are ones we ultimately want or need to be doing in the first place.
Connecting the Dots of Our Lives We need to be aware of how our personal narratives and the lives they lead to are shaped by the structures of resumes and career thinking; otherwise, well-meaning career advice may hold us back from drawing a constellation between the dots of our lives, forcing us instead to draw an all-too-straight line between them.
The Two Yale-NUS Colleges The focus on the views of everyone other than students at Yale-NUS belies the false premise from which many commentators approach the College; the concerns demonstrate the confusion of liberal values with a liberal arts education, and I for one came to Yale-NUS for the latter.
“Do you think we spend too much time thinking about life instead of living it?” A conversation with a friend on the role of reflection and books in living, learning, and growing up.
A Global Perspective on the Humanities Debate A reply to Nicholas Kristof’s “Don’t Dismiss the Humanities” article in the Times; how he framed the humanities debate along U.S.-European lines, and in doing so missed core trends in global education.
Why Should We Go Abroad?: On Connecting the Dots of Our Lives We may well want study abroad to be a transformative experience, exposing us to new interests and ways we could live our lives, but taking this approach will make being accepted to the program far less likely; how the structure of a resume dictates the possibilities that are open to us.
Declaring Makes It So: What it Means that the United States Now Thinks it is a Pacific Nation [Fox & Hedgehog] A declaration of national identity in terms of geography is very different from a declaration in terms of ideology or creed; only through believing itself to be a Pacific nation can the United States justify its re-alignment of military and economic structures to focus on Asia.
What Is Our Time Here For?: The Meaning of Yale-NUS College and the Liberal Arts [The Octant] The liberal arts and sciences are not a unique selling point for a resume, or a euphemism for an elite college; they are about having freedom to learn about ourselves and our own minds so that we can approach everything else we do in life with solid foundations, with “inner character”.
Reflection on a Grain of Sand Everything that I have consumed my mind with for a decade has been confined to continents and islands and managing the conflicts that flare up in the world. How could humans have possibly exited this atmosphere and looked at the whole of earth at once?
A Conflicted Past: What We Can Learn from the UN Security Council Painting [Fox & Hedgehog] Original research on Per Krohg’s painting; the irony is that the permanent members of the Security Council are watched over by a painting that is meant to remind them of their role in maintaining and advancing peace in the post-war world, and instead should remind them of the dangers of being stuck in the past.
If a Goldfish Could Remember Milan Kundera wrote that “Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only one decision; we are not granted a second, third or fourth life in which to compare various decisions”. It seems to me that Kundera more closely describes goldfish than humans.
What’s in a Flag? My opinion on the 2015 New Zealand flag referendum; If what’s in a flag are the experiences and aspirations of millions, we shouldn’t be surprised that the first four designs we are presented with don’t quite cut it. As much as I want a new flag, I’d rather wait for the right one.