John Henry Cardnal Essay, Research Paper
John Henry Cardinal Newman, the leading figure of the Oxford movement believed that a liberal education was more important than technical training in itself. He believed that the broad knowledge of many disciplines would allow the individual to be more successful in every day life. With the complexities of today?s world one cannot afford to not be equipped. Newman felt so strong about this concept that he wrote a book entitled, ? The Idea of a University? in 1852.
The Idea of a University stresses that a liberal education should encompass all disciplines such as reading, writing, math, science, technology, language, literature, social studies, physical education, public speaking, political science, anthropology, and so on. Studying these subject areas alone was not good enough in Newman?s mind. He wanted us to be able to tie these concepts into real life applications. He also wanted us to use these subject areas inter-connectedly. Newman?s focus is to create a world of thinkers who are self-sufficient. Newman believes that with a foundation in many disciplines allows the individual many options in becoming whatever he or she wants to. Newman explains; ?Again, as health ought to precede labor of the body, and as a man in health can do what an unhealthy man cannot do, and as of this health the properties are strength, energy, agility, graceful carriage and action, manual dexterity, and endurance of fatigue, so in like manner general culture of mind is the best aid to professional and scientific study, and educated men can do what illiterate cannot; and the man who has learned to think and reason and to compare and to discriminate and to analyze, who has refined his tastes, and formed his judgments, and sharpened his mental vision, will not indeed at once be a lawyer, or a pleader, or an orator, or a statesmen, or a physician, or a good landlord, or a man of business, or a soldier, or an engineer, or a chemist, or a geologist, or an antiquarian, but he will be placed in that state of intellect in which he take up any one of these sciences or calling I have referred to, or any other for which he has taste or special talent, with an ease, a grace, a versatility, and a success, to which another is a stranger?.
Newman believes that unless students have a basic knowledge background, they will have a difficult time in figuring out how to make things work. For example, currently our technology has advanced us to the point that we now have the use of computers. If a person learns the basics of the different computer software packages, when the new software packages come out we are still able to use them. Sure, there maybe new adjustments however; all the basics of the software will be the same. I know from my own experiences that this is true. I started my learning experiences on a dinosaur word-processing software package. I am able to go into any software program now and through trial and error I am able to figure out how to make it work. Most all of the software packages I now branch off from the basics I learned years ago.
The following is another example of the importance of having a well-rounded education. A few weekends ago my brother, Jeff, was up visiting me from Poughkeepsie, New York. He had just purchased a second hand car with his life savings. We used his car all day and we had no problems. While driving back to my house Jeff started running the air-conditioner. After a few minutes, the temperature gauge registered that the car was running hot and the engine started to smoke. Ironically, as the car overheated we managed to pull into a service station. A mechanic immediately greeted us and offered his services for $50 dollars an hour. Jeff and I looked at one another as if someone had kicked us both in the stomach. We had no foundation of knowledge when it came to cars and helplessness overcame us. I immediately phoned my boyfriend, Michael, for help in this situation. He is not an automobile mechanic, but is very mechanical and he said that he would come and look at the car. Michael arrived momentarily and asked my brother to let his engine cool off. After ten minutes he asked, Jeff to start the car with the hood open. While the car was running he immediately started assessing the problem. The fan that cools the radiator is supposed to begin running when the engine gets hot, staying on until the temperature decreases to a safe level. It was obvious to him that a sensor was bad. He knew that he had to bypass the circuit and needed some materials in order to make that .
While driving to the parts store Michael explained to us that sensors in automobiles work like wall switches in homes. These sensors allow for circuit?s to open and close. The sensor in the car wasn?t switching to the closed position when it was supposed to, which stopped the electron flow to the fan. We picked up the necessary materials and returned to the car. Within five minutes, Michael rewired the circuit to the fan bypassing the sensors, which allowed the circuit to close. The fan was now running and the car was cooling correctly. Jeff and I jumped for joy and thanked him repeatedly.
Michael is not an auto mechanic but because he has knowledge of electricity he was able to fix the car. What I?ve learned from this situation is that people who are lacking knowledge feel helpless. We can not know everything but it is evident that practical knowledge is freedom.
In conclusion, John Henry Cardinal Newman and the Oxford movement pushed for a world of thinkers and problems solvers. Newman realized understanding that the complexities of the world would require well-rounded people who could tie in many
disciples in solving problems. This did not mean only having an understanding about concepts but also being able to use them in a practical way. Newman stresses that concepts alone without application will cause us to fail. If knowledge is not harnessed for the betterment of mankind than it is wasteful. The earlier example mentioned electricity was not being harnessed correctly. What good was it? Not very good at all; once the problem was rectified the energy was working in the intended way making Jeff?s life more rewarding. Understanding the world and how it works from many disciplines gives us freedom and independence. It builds self-sufficiency and a competence that many don?t possess. Life opens up for the intelligent who are diversified while closing off to those who aren?t as versed. Again, we can not possibly know everything. We need to open up our minds and take in as much as possible. Having true practical understanding makes our lives more fulfilling.
In this world you never know what tool you will need to deal with an issue. No one tool will do the job for all situations. All situations in life will vary. Equipping yourself and knowing how to practically use that knowledge will offer freedoms that are unlimited.