Liberal arts education makes people whole

Knowledge knows no bounds, and mankind's quest for it should not be constricted by self-imposed distinctions between the arts and the sciences ("Reuniting science and the liberal arts"; Oct 12). 

A world steeped in science will make us grossly utilitarian, perhaps leaving us devoid of feelings, while a society subsumed by classical scholars incapable of making anything with their hands may turn into an economic backwater.

A liberal arts education is holistic.

You will be spoilt for choice with pickings in the humanities, social and natural sciences, quantitative methods as well as rhetoric, among other subjects.

There will be demands on you to write serious papers and deliver the same ideas through speeches that you will pitch to your peers. 

Ethics and philosophy offer many values that are timeless. In an age of great uncertainties, these values are even more relevant. 

You will be forced to think critically and make sense of the otherwise messy world. 

The interdisciplinary exposure will arm you with the tools to embark on a path of curious inquisition that may exhaust you mentally but fill you spiritually.

The rigour of plodding and probing what is still unknown to you will lead you to a higher plane, and you will be enlightened.

A liberal arts education not only makes a person whole, but it makes him wholesome, too. 

Ethics and philosophy offer many values that are timeless.

In an age of great uncertainties, these values are even more relevant. 

The world is not black and white; it is colourful and diverse.

We should let our spirits flock to whichever side - the arts, the sciences, or both - intrigues us.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 21, 2015, with the headline 'Liberal arts education makes people whole'. Print Edition | Subscribe