Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 13, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Peter Hunt Wednesday, January 13, 1971 - THI IETHMIDO! HIRAID - g Lib THWO recent articles, that by ' the late Professor GoodaU and the commentary by Pro* feasor Adel - Czlowiekowksi, have both re-afflrmed some of the traditional liberal purposes of university education. They have also emphasized what may be called a "higher utility in the studies and approaches which are acknowledged to be liberal; a concept which seems to be ignored in many of the arguments about the need for universities to serve the needs of society. This is appropriate in a university city and at a time when the attention of the educated is once more being drawn with intense interest to the nature, role, and functions of universities throughout North America and much of the Western World. In Canada, in particular, which has from its earliest history as a Europeanized country in the New World, enjoyed a strong liberal arts tradition, in 8 o m e ways gravely threatened, there is much fruitful thought and debate concerning the "idea of a university1 in the context of technological society and the problems it engenders. The question of 'autonomy', an essential quality in the tradition of liberal arts and unfettered pursuit of wisdom, has become particularly crucial. ? ? ? One of the main criticisms made of modern universities which are, or aspire to be, made in the image of the 'Multiversity* is that too often the truly liberal purpose of t u d y for 'understanding,' which is at the heart of the old phrase 'knowledge for its own sake', is stunted or distorted or even obliterated by the tendency to become an intellectual supermarket of fragmented specialities. And this is seen as part and parcel of the trend, increasingly significant in the past few decades, towards 'serving the demands of industry'; a trend which is magnified more and more by the financial power of governments and by the power held on councils and committees by entre- eral education and the university preneurs and business managers. Thus, priorities, opportunities for degrees and standards of Intellectual interest and attainment tend to be die-ated less by scholarly and humanist concerns than by the demand for experts and 'trained personnel' in the multiplicity of fields requiring tertiary-level academic preparation. ? ? The importance of this kind of criticism in the recent and current student unrest to which Professor Adel - Czlowiekowsld refers in his article needs to be emphasized. The world-wide phenomenon of a swing by students away from scientific specialities and towards the literary humanities and social studies is closely connected with this criticism, and is, in however muddled or inadequate a way, a groping towards restoration of that search for the true, the beautiful and the good which Newman expounded so eloquently last century. This does not deny, of course, the truth in Professor Adel-Czlowiekowski's expert diagnosis of the part played in student rebellion by discontented graduates in fields such as the so-called newer social sciences who could not find suitable employment. It should be added, however, that for a sounder society we could use many more teachers, librarians, writers and social workers than we have at present; and if jobs are short for these 'people-centred' professions, (as Professor Good all called them), that is an inadequacy in the priorities of a technologically - orientated society that is more occupied with mass-produced things than with genuinely human concerns. * ? * But we need to look more closely at this idea of utility in liberal education. To do this responsibly it is essential to bear in mind that the word 'liberal' was derived from the Greek distinction between a free man and a slave. The concepts of a liberal education developed by the Greeks was that of education for a free man, one who could pursue wisdom and develop and exercise his powers without regarding this as preparation for a 'useful' trade or profession; though the art and science of government was regarded as a noble and necessary fruit of sound liberal education. But as we believe that all men, endowed with rights and an essential equality (in that they are all human beings,) should be free, liberal education today is, or should be, simply education for man. In slave societies only free men were regarded as fully men; no slave could live a fully human life. Thus, it is necessary, as Jacques Maritain has set forth so clearly in his writings to see liberal education as something, at least in a basic sense, for all men according to their capacity. Gone forever, we hope, is that narrow, aristocratic elitist ideal, partly inherited from Greek times, but conditioned by the class - structure of eighteenth-century England in particular, which preached a false detachment from the concerns of the common man; however noble or disciplined and rich it may have been in some of its manifestations in the late eighteenth and in the nineteenth century. As liberal education is education for man, that is, for basic human nature and for personal excellence, it must be concerned with values. If it is concerned with values, there is a hierarchy of values involved in it. Thus, study for understanding of the purpose of human life, of man's relationship with nature and with the whole of the environment, of questions about the experience of the race and about the creative expression of man in all his arts, are of higher priority (once basic physical needs make it possible to engage in such pursuits with reasonable freedom,) than specialist studies aimed at proliferating use and exploitation of natural resources. Indeed, such a hierarchy of values inevitably leads to a critique of the priorities which have turned the environment into a disastrous mess, and which are rapidly destroying the natural sources of wealth and well-being; pollution therefore has become the main symptom of a cosmic error in the conception, scope and role of science in the modern world. Science, largely divorced from the tradition of liberal arts, developed as a spectrum of studies during the middle ages, became illiberal; for it came to be seen and used less as a means of understanding the physical universe, less Stone age secret By Don Oakley, NEA Service A RCHEOLOGISTS have re-covered eight - foot ivory javelins from Stone Age graves in Russia dating back 20,000 to 30,000 years. The remarkable thing is not that Stone Age men made javelins but that they made straight javelins out of radically curved mammoth tusks. For this reason, the weapons are of as much interest to dentists as to arch-eologiats since ivory is basically the same dentin material that forms the core of human teeth. How prehistoric men did it is something that continues to elude modem science, notes Dr. Reldar F. Sognnaes, professor of oral biology at the School of Dentistry of the University of California in Los Angeles. "The ability to soften the dense dentin of ivory, to fashion it, and then to harden it again into a strong weapon to pierce the mammoth's hide has been lost," he laments. "If we could recapture this secret today, it might mean much to dentistry and bone repair." In the meantime, we can at least chalk up one authentic first to the Russians - proto-Russians, anyway. Either that, or there used to be a type of mammoth with straight tusks. APPLIANCE DEPT. 606-608 3rd AVINUE SOUTH PHONE 327-5767 With stocktaking only 2 weeks away ... we must move this mer-chandise and you are the one that saves . . . Juit ask for the Item of your choice by number ... we have numbered the items from 1 to 25 for your convenience in ordering! 88.00 RADIOS-RECORD PLAYERS and 8 TRACK UNITS 1. RCA PORTABLE STEREO Twin speakers, bass and treble controls. QA ^f* Mfg. list 129.95 ..................... * 2. LLOYD'S 8 TRACK TAPE PLAYER Twin ipeakers, battery, 113 or 12 volt operation. Mfg. list 119.95 ....... 3. 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To sum up, liberal education, thBt is, education for understanding of man, his destiny and his place in the universe, has a social dimension. That social dimension renders it useful in shaping arid fulfilling what is discerned as the good life for human beings. That aspect of its usefulness needs to be given due weight in the discussion of what purposes universities serve in the life of any community. ? ? * A university education which is truly centred in a dynamic liberal arts tradition would have at its core the three great sources of understanding and enrichment: philosophy, literature and history. With this humanist core, theology and those perennial questions and experiences to which religion has from earliest ancestral times and in every place provided expression, would also inevitably emerge as central. What is needed, and in fact what many students all over North America are turning to in increasing numbers is study of the ideas and values and ways of life which have loomed significantly in the lives of men throughout history. This Is the heritage which needs to be restored, not merely for the few, but for all. Honest, disciplined, scholarly searching is at the heart of a university's essential being; searching in those areas that concern man as man. There is no reason why a basic liberal education of this kind for all according to their capacity should clash with professional preparation or the need to earn a living. In the grasp of basic principles that underlie any true profession and the flexibility cultivated by a grounding in liberal arts (and science is a liberal pursuit), especially in a changing world, lies the best preparation for professional and vocational study. The University of Letbbridge could provide this in a three - year course, and then develop a general professional preparation in one year. After that, training courses as such could be taken elsewhere, or provided by the industries arid agencies who require specialized and expert manpower; at their own expense. Finally, let me agree both with the idea that university education ought to be 'freely available' to all who want it, and yet, (contradictorily it may seem,) with the judgement that many young people who enter university have neither the readiness to work, nor the appropriate preparation which any self - respecting university should demand from its undergraduates. For a good deal depends on the meaning of that word 'want' in Professor Goodall's phrase. Many who come to university do not really want scholarship nor are they interested in the heritage. ? * * Apart from the general state of our rootless society, some of the reasons for this are a narrow conception of schooling in overall education, and the fairly prevalent notion that to insist on high standards end to cultivate excellence in a system that is geared to mediocrity, mass - methods and weak challenges, is somehow an offense to democratic sentiment. At both high schools and universities, too often, there is a tendency, in some quarters, to adjust standards to the intellectually lazy; and there is often, as Hilda Neatby pointed out in a famous book, still remarkably relevant, 'So Little for the Mind'. But if those university teachers and high-school teachers who want, and know how, to bring out the best in their students were to prevail, everybody, students and teachers alike, would achieve more real academic success than they do at present. As R. S. Peters, the well - known educational writer and philosopher of education shows, and as good teachers know from first - hand experience, the teacher concerned with education for understanding and disciplined and sensitive appreciation, is engaged in a creative struggle of initiating students into the heritage. In other words, it Is the teacliing task to prepare more young people so that they truly 'want' what a university, ideally, has to offer. And while 'basic liberal education' according to personal capacity should be provided for all, whether at high school or college, the main opportunities at universities ought to be for the interested and gifted; whatever their financial re-ources may be. Nationalism and terror The International Herald Tribune 'THIS is undoubtedly the age of rampant nationalism-and, for the most part, it is a nationalism that is permeated with a revolutionary ideology that, seeks to win its goals through terror. The result is confusion, both in alms and in means; in public reaction and in governmental attempts to cope with the problem. Is it possible to equate the Jews condemned to death in Leningrad with the Basques to whom the same penalty is applied- in Burgos? Or the Quebccois charged with the murder of a minister of state with Sudanese waging war against Khartoum? Who are the true nationalists in Vietnam, in Cambodia, in Laos? Black nationalists struggle with black revolutionaries in tin United States, and both condemn those blacks who seek only equality of civil and political rights. Nationalism has changed since that upsurge of national spirit in the 19th century which altered the map of Europe after the first World War. It has changed since Mussolini and Hitler used it as a weapon against international socialism within living memory-although it is still so used in Spain and Greece, as well as in many other countries that have not so sharply polarized the ideas and feelings which compose a state. Today, Africa is trying to rationalize the irrational boundaries imposed upon it by imperialism; seeking to resolve those economic, religious and tribal differences compacted within highly artificial political frontiers. The relics of far older imperialisms-enclaves of Celts and Basques in Great Britain, France and Spain; of American By Herbert Lefcourt, University AS AN AMERICAN professor teaching "T within a Canadian University I have been quite naturally interested in the give and take regarding American presence in Canada. Three points seem to have been raised recently by those alarmed by the American presence. First, there seems to be a fear that "things Canadian" will automatically be ignored by U.S. professors. No doubt, there probably has been a shortage of Canadian specialty courses. But then again, U.S. colleges have not focused extensively upon American literature or history either. Rather, such courses are regarded as specializations along with courses concerning the literature or history of Western Europe, Russia, China, etc. Somehow, education always seemed to be directed toward a search for generalizations regarding the human condition derived from relevant sources anywhere. Recently, a would-be Canadian chauvinist shocked nty sensibility when he expressed the desire to examine the phenomenon of population density effects excluding all geographic areas other than Toronto. Such parochialism about a pressing world crisis, when much relevant information can be most adequately derived from the experiences of cities such as Calcutta, Hong Kong, New York and London, is inexcusable. This brings me to the second point, the question of the identity of a university. Should a Canadian university be distinct from universities in general? U.S. universities, in the early years of this century, were primarily staffed with native professors (read WASP). The mass exodus of European scholars arising from the unsettled conditions of war-torn Europe no doubt changed the nature of U.S. universities. Such change was not always welcome. I remember bitter anti-Semitic remarks of older professors against their own academic colleagues. Yet it was the likes of French within Canada, of Indians in the two Americ:.s; of Khmers and Mon-tagnards in Indochina-are stirring. So are racial, national and cultural groups within the Soviet Union and among those states under Soviet hegemony. Arab nationalism clashes with Israeli nationalism. It will be impossible to resolve all of these conflicts peacefully, or in any wholly logical or satisfactory fashion. The degree of federalism enjoyed by Quebec in Canada, for example, would probably be welcomed by Biafra - but it is not enough for Quebecois separatists and too much for the men in the Kremlin. Fiji may find peace and prosperity in Independence (if the indigenous Fijians and the Indians there can continue to work together), but could the islands of Micronesia do the same? And can the states assailed by this new nationalism cope with the problem rationally? The Soviet Union applies the death penalty for merely planning to leave the country illegally. In the United States, Puerto Ricans openly demonstrate for the independence that their own people have rejected by free plebiscite. In Britain, Irish and Scottish nationalists are elected to Parliament. Is there still room for nationalistic debate? There is, in many lands; but terror can cut it short, and simple slogans can destroy its validity. Nationalism hag become a highly complex mood, that takes many forms and has many varying degrees of moral value. There is nothing about it that can be safely taken for granted except its existence - and its strength for good or ill. professors of Waterloo in Saturday Night Einstein, Hannah Arendt and Bruno Bet-telheim, among many others, who broadened and strengthened the appeal of academic pursuits. The point is that universities must always be concerned with the development of excellence and that excellence comes from the dedicated pursuit of understanding. Accidents such as citizenship cannot become primary conccina without the risks of mediocrity and insularity. A third point of criticism Has focused upon the question of citizenship. Why don't Americans take up Canadian citizenship and, consequently, give witness to their involvement in Canadian life? To begin with, the equation between citizenship and involvement is questionable. Those who have naturally acquired group memberships rarely are as partisan as converts. If a U.S. citizen becomes a Canadian citizen, however, there is no guarantee of involvement. Only x disavowal of involvement ia the U.S. is guaranteed. Nevertheless, the question of citizenship is of some import The greatest number of U.S. professors have immigrated within the last few years, and, unlike British immigrants, are not eligible for citizenship within that abort span of time. Those of us who have Hved here longer may have other motives. I, for one, share with many Canadians an anxiety about the intentions of the U.S. government both in internal and external matters. A concern for potential danger ia political trends in the U.S. compels me to maintain citizenship so that I may retain my voting rights and, within my Hmita, feel free to attempt to influence the political developments in that country. We Americans are here by choice, and in time may become Canadian citizens. However, the willingness to take such a major step could become dampened if jingoism under any guise should emerge as a major force in Canadian life. The church in Quebec Montreal La Prcssc TUffi Catholic Church in Quebec is in a dilemma. It was criticized not long ago for talking too much. Today it is asked to pronounce itself on most of the important questions preoccupying Quebec society. Formerly it was not appreciated if the church mixed with political power. Many Christians now want it to point out the people's complaints. . . . The church in Quebec is worried. It now must make choices which will decide its influence on the growing generation. It knows the physical and moral miseries of men and women in the poor areas of our cities and the poor parishes of the countryside. It wonders about the causes of violence in our society. It knows that the language it uses is sometimes too obscure or too subtle to be really understood by those who must understand it. . . . The church has become more humble. . . . Thus, the phenomenon of anti-clericalism which marked the 1950s and 1960s has gradually disappeared. The church no longer unites everyone, but It has no enraged enemies. However, it found out too late it had let apathetic people multiply around its steeples. ... In 1970, the Quebec episcopate drew itself closer, by word and deed, to disfavored groups. In Montreal, Msgr. Paul Gregolre made the poor one of his principal concerns without paternalism. During the October crisis, Quebec bishops stated without fanfare that "injustice feeds violence" and that justice should be given "to the legitimate aspirations of groups." ... Despite the dilemma in which it finds itself, the church is not mistaken in making the anguish groups its preoccupation. . . . Neither is it going wrong by associating itself with the worries and hopes of a people still to decide their own destiny. It may make errors, it may sometimes draw reproach on itself. But the worst error it could make would be to be absent. Sock surprise By Dong Walker f\NE would think that after the publicity Elspeth has received recently about permitting mate - less socks to be found in my bureau drawer she would be extra careful in the kind of returns she makes. But apparently not. The other morning I fished out a pair of socks in the dark (I try not to disturb her slumber so eschew the lights) and took them to the kitchen (another of my little thought- fulnesses is that I don't sit an the bed to put on my shoes and socks). When I started to pull on my first sock it produced some very odd crunchy sounds. Investigation revealed some onion husks! You are wrong if you think Elspeth was getting even with me. That pair of socks had been used by Uie toys to receive their gifts from Santa.