In Defense of the Liberal Arts

The world is perpetually dying for lack of empathy.

I cannot ever know how you feel,
I can only imagine.
So, without imagination,
There can be no empathy.

As children, most
Revel in the world of imagination, but,
Education, formal or practical,
All too often
Breaks us of the habit
Of using our imaginations with joy.

Literature? Music? Theater?
Painting? Sculpture?
What could be less practical?

Why spend time
Cultivating our imaginations
When the world has practical problems
That need solving?

If we cannot imagine what it is to suffer
From these problems
We are never really motivated
To help address them.

Many talk of helping,
For they like the way it makes them feel,
But far fewer actually help.

Do you want to love?
Can you imagine what it feels like
For any partner you have
Not to get it?

Have you been hungry? Really hungry?
Do you know what it feels like?

Rejection? Grief?
Anger over injustice?
Do you know these things?
We all do, in some measure —

The liberal arts teach us
That everywhere, at all times,
There are the great joys and miseries of humankind
And the little ones, that
We all feel, in our different, individual ways:

And that,
By imagining things
We learn the unique and un-replaceable skill
Of empathy

The world is dying, perpetually, for lack of empathy.

If only we could imagine
Differently, or even
At all

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3 Thoughts to “In Defense of the Liberal Arts

  1. I agree with this 1,000 times over. This world needs more empathy and even sympathy. Too many cold and closed hearts. Such a waste of so much potential. And what better tools to inspire than love and the arts? 🙂 This is a great poem. It may just lead me to write my own on this topic as well. May we be the light for others and help them see love, peace, and friendship.

      1. Thank you! If we can feed on one another’s positivity, one soul at a time, this world will plant more seeds of hope for change and peace.

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