A recent column by the NY Times’ David Brooks suggests that there are three principal purposes of college:
- Commercial (starting a career)
- Cognitive (learning how to think)
- Moral (building an integrated self through moral, emotional, and spiritual growth)
According to Brooks, elite colleges have mostly abandoned any attempt to guide their students toward a meaningful, moral life because they don’t think it is their place or they don’t think they know how. But Brooks is encouraged by an essay by William Deresiewicz that “offers a vision of what it takes to move from adolescence to adulthood. Everyone is born with a mind, he writes, but it is only through introspection, observation, connecting the head and the heart, making meaning of experience and finding an organizing purpose that you build a unique individual self.”
Hear, hear! My thoughts exactly.