Humanities Moments

Only Connect

Contributed by Sally Dalton Robinson
Monument to E. M. Forster in Stevenage, Hertfordshire
Over the years I have been blessed by many humanities moments, but there is one that I especially cherish. Some fifteen years ago, I happened upon an article in The American Scholar written by a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who put forth the ten qualities he believed a person would acquire from having a solid liberal arts education. It was the tenth quality on his list that got me. It was “Only Connect,” two words taken from a work by E. M. Forster. By this, the professor meant that a liberal arts education enables a person to have the freedom to connect — with different ideas, with different people, with different possibilities. It gives us, he wrote, the wisdom and the desire to connect with the human community.

Title

Only Connect

Subject

This was a major humanities moment for me because it gave me the answer to a question I had been pondering for over fifty years. Why did I have the feeling, however vague, that the courses in the humanities I had taken when I was a student at Duke University somehow helped me in every volunteer leadership role I had ever undertaken — whether it was starting a job training program for high school drop-outs, or helping start a history museum, or serving on a community foundation? The professor’s tenth point, “Only Connect,” had answered my question. What a gratifying humanities moment.

Description

Over the years I have been blessed by many humanities moments, but there is one that I especially cherish. Some fifteen years ago, I happened upon an article in The American Scholar written by a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who put forth the ten qualities he believed a person would acquire from having a solid liberal arts education. It was the tenth quality on his list that got me. It was “Only Connect,” two words taken from a work by E. M. Forster. By this, the professor meant that a liberal arts education enables a person to have the freedom to connect — with different ideas, with different people, with different possibilities. It gives us, he wrote, the wisdom and the desire to connect with the human community.

Contributor

Sally Dalton Robinson

Identifier

sally-robinson-only-connect

Collection