What good, if any, is the study of the liberal arts, particularly subjects like philosophy? Why, in short, should plumbers study Plato?
My answer is that we should strive to be a society of free people, not simply one of well-compensated managers and employees. Henry David Thoreau is as relevant as ever when he writes, “We seem to have forgotten that the expression ‘a liberal education’ originally meant among the Romans one worthy of free men; while the learning of trades and professions by which to get your livelihood merely, was considered worthy of slaves only.”
The Grande Bellezza of Palazzo Sacchetti
One of the reasons I love Rome is the unexpected beauty you find almost anywhere you look. A hidden park, a frescoed wall, crumbling ruins, and the way light catches on the glass bubble curve of a wine glass. It’s the contrast between the graffiti, the overflowing dumpsters, and psychotic drivers and these pockets, these wells of beauty that tug at my heart and refuse to let me leave.