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Why should I take Philosophy and the Liberal Arts?

by Rafael Kieran M. Monday


Today, it is common knowledge that highly technical and specialized courses are favored
over the creative liberal arts. In any job fair here in our country you can easily observe that
companies tend to look for graduates of management and business courses. Well, if youre that
desperate to get that 9 to 5 job then go ahead. Understandably, we are living in a developing
country. In order to survive, one needs regular income. Poverty, political instability, social
inequalities are prevalent, and one cannot fully enjoy novels of Dostoevsky or critique a Tarantino
movie when the tummy is grumbling.
The world is more and more mechanized it implicitly converts universities and schools to
factories producing commodities in this case students for specific jobs which most of the time they
dont like and are only compelled due to financial practicability. In our modern techno-capitalist
system how can one get a regular job with a degree in philosophy or literature? If you look at it,
it's quite simple, one must have above average grades, an active participant and member of
different groups and organizations, and simply the will to succeed. A philosophy student who
graduated cum laude is more competitive than the 53rd management graduate with a regular
mediocre resume. I recently discovered, while I was under my minds curiosity, a number of our
cabinet secretaries and high government officials are philosophy graduates. However, I think they
missed some of their classes in ethics.
The point here is even though society especially here in the Philippines look upon the
liberal arts as a waste of time you must not be swayed and let other people dictate what you will
endure for 4 years. Remember it is you who will suffer from the regrets and not them. Don't look
at your college degree as a form of "pre-work" course. Your years in college is supposed to be the
time to explore your interests and discover your skills and abilities. The time spent in the academe
should be a humanizing and enlightening experience. Don't worry if you're not in the course that
will fit what kind of working adult you'll become. Learning how to manage financial accounts of
a lending company or how to properly make an inventory of products in a soda factory can wait.
There is no doubt that the world is progressing economically and technologically, however,
are we really in its deepest sense progressing? We have faster cars, unbelievable smartphones, and
even robots who in the near future will be the new proletariat. Why is it that even with these
remarkable achievements of man were still experiencing wars, racism, bigotry, genocides, famine,
ecological degradation, and much more? With each technical advancement, we lose at the same
time a piece of our humanity. Scientists, doctors, bankers, or even engineers do wonders for society
but not to take away anything from them, they however only most of the time show us life in its
superficial level. To quote Robin Williams from the movie Dead Poets Society: Medicine, law,
business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty,
romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
So don't you ever feel bad taking up a course in the liberal arts. Don't be too concerned if
your essay on Heidegger's Being or your reaction paper on Shakespeare's Macbeth will contribute
anything to your "employability." You, a student of the liberal arts, will give us what we stay alive
for.