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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 609)...

    I'm 18, a senior in high school and ready to conquer what my parents refer to as the "real world.' After discovering Daniel Quinn's books my sophomore year i have worked hard at what his message to me specifically is. This leads me to my question: I'm planning on going to college and studying philosophy and psychology. The question of where still remains. I have been drawn to a small Great Books college named St. John's, but can't quite figure out if the things that it teaches are consistent with the values upheld in Ishmael, My Ishmael, and The Story of B. The thing is, it teaches everyone the same things through seminar classes and the "Greatest minds" of Western culture. I only hesitate because there is more out there than simply Plato, Aristotle, Freud, and Wagner, and I'm afraid that I'll become ignorant to everything else. What is your opinion?

    ...and the response:

    The most important and influential course in my college education was a seminar course devoted to one of the Great Books, Plato's Republic. The rest pretty much vanished after the finals. St. John's is an excellent school of its type, dedicated to giving students a fundamental liberal education. I'd be surprised if my work was unknown there. If it's as good as I think it is, ideas are at the core of its curriculum, and it isn't hostile to new ones. Whatever school you go to, if you limit yourself to what you learn in the classroom, you'll "become ignorant to everything else." In my opinion, if you graduate from St. John's, you'll be a better educated person than 95% of college graduates, but you shouldn't make your decision solely on my opinion.


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