Many people use the term liberal arts with vague definitions that seem to contradict each other. Some say the liberal art is reading, so they consider studying literature or poetry to be part of their definition. However whether it’s talking about humanities or reading as an individual activity, there are some key differences between what people mean by the term when they refer to them as “liberal” studies.

When someone says they want students to focus more on the liberal arts, what they really mean is student success in college and career after graduation. This can include things like knowing how to read, writing well, working effectively in groups, and using time efficiently. These are all components of the humanities and social science subjects we study in college.

However, this doesn’t make these classes less important than others. In fact, we could argue just the opposite. By emphasizing the importance of the liberal arts for life beyond school, universities help foster an environment where learning and understanding are valued. It also helps create lifelong learners who recognize the value in exploring new disciplines and concepts.

This article will discuss why developing your ability to think critically and evaluate information and ideas is integral to your long-term success.

Definition of art

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

Art is making things with your hands or using your mind to express yourself, ideas or emotions. It can be creating something new, modifying or repairing an existing thing, or doing collages or re-styling of materials.

Art comes in many forms; music, painting, sculpture, design, crafts, and so on. Some people consider writing literature as a form of art because it requires you to use your skills to create insights and understanding into other people’s lives, nature, and concepts.

Liberal arts are not limited to just studying humanities like reading and writing, but also include studies in the fine, natural, and social sciences. These areas study how matter interacts and changes over time, how intelligent beings interact with each other, and how humans relate to space, themselves, and community.

The term “liberal education” was first used by 19th century English politician William Ewart Gladstone. He wanted universities that focused more on teaching students how to think than what field they would go onto teach. A liberal education should give students knowledge and reasoning skills, he said, not only about medicine, engineering, business, or philosophy.

Since then, the idea has spread across Europe and North America. In Canada, our most famous example is University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson who popularized the term ‘intellectual dark matter’ in his talks and books. This refers to topics that are outside of academia, but have big influence.

Definition of discipline

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

Discipline is acting or moving with deliberate effort, typically for a good cause.

Discipline can be moral or internal (self-discipline) or external (organization or leadership discipline). It’s having control over your actions and behaviors to produce that action.

External disciplines are usually formalized processes such as what we know in education as grade school through college graduation, but they can also include things like staying away from alcohol for a set amount of time or giving up sugar for several days. These practices help us retain knowledge more effectively and motivate us to learn more.

Internal disciplines are an essential part of who you are as a person and influence how you interact with people around you. They shape your perception of the world, your expectations of others, and your self-image.

Examples of internal disciplines include practicing gratitude daily, listening to music you enjoy, sharing food with friends, keeping yourself organized, and developing hobbies and interests.

Taking care of yourself physically and mentally helps you perform your best at work and in life.

Definition of culture

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

A few definitions of “culture” are as follows:

Culture is what people have embedded into their lives to pass along knowledge, experiences, and values to future generations.

It is something that people learn through repetition and example.

It is influenced by society, politics, and religion. People are shaped by these things – both positively and negatively.

I believe this makes sense because we find it hard to separate individuals’ beliefs and behaviors for purely moral or ethical reasons. For instance, when someone acts outside of morals they might be considered immoral, but also unethical. These terms seem neutral, but really refer to social norms and expectations.

We develop habits and cues from our surroundings, so deciding not to is like choosing to live without food, water, and shelter. Therefore, I would say that ethics are part of culture.

Liberal arts students study a wide range of subjects, but none more than the others. They explore many different points of view which help them understand how human nature works. This applies even beyond academia; anyone can apply this to everyday life.

For example, artists and musicians spend time exploring new styles, concepts, and techniques. Scientists do the same with theories and experiments.

Definition of creativity

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

In order to be creative, you do not have to use any tools or techniques that are totally unique. Being creative is about incorporating things into new concepts or combinations of ideas. It is exploring how to apply what you know to make something new feel authentic and meaningful.

It is thinking outside the box by adding new components to an idea or concept. Taking existing ideas and frameworks and applying them to create something novel is very much part of being creative.

Creativity can also include speaking up and sharing your opinion even if it differs from others. If you keep yourself protected in the space of only having your own thoughts, then you will never truly contribute anything.

Being able to recognize an opportunity and taking advantage of it is another key component of creating. You must learn when it’s okay to take action and when it’s best to wait for the right moment.

Definition of diversity

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

Diversity is not about having different colors, foods or clothes at your party. It’s much more than that. In fact, it’s not even limited to people.

Diversity is creating an environment where everyone feels accepted and included. It’s bringing together things that are usually separated from each other. This includes color, culture, gender, age, income, etc.

Having diverse beliefs and opinions is part of being richly lived as a person. We should strive to create an academic community which encourages this. A good place to start would be to make sure there is enough variety in faculty positions.

Definition of enlightenment

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

Enlightenment can be described as an internal state of being, one that is influenced by your environment and experiences. It is not something outside of you, but rather a process to which you contribute.

Enlightenment happens when you connect with yourself, when you realize that you are more than just your body or your personality — you have a soul that continues to live after death. You become aware of your inner self, your spirit, and what it means to be alive.

This is why people who practice yoga or meditation feel better about themselves – they learn how to love themselves and grow in confidence.

You may also know people who seem completely unselfish, who devote their lives to helping others without expecting anything back. These individuals gain personal happiness from giving away energy, and learning how to enjoy life even while waiting for things they want to happen.

We all have our own form of enlightened action, and we’re never truly empty unless we find it.

Definition of experience

Experiential learning is having experiences that teach you something about life. It comes from the word experient, which means “something experienced” or “experience of.” The term educational experiences was coined in the 19th century to refer to field trips made by schools to sites like museums and monuments.

In the 20th century, educational experiences became more common as teachers organized assignments and projects that asked students to explore topics outside of school. This extended the concept of experiencing education beyond just traveling here and there to see things, to asking how people interact with each other around ideas.

This kind of learning goes beyond knowing what someone else says about politics or business – it asks you to apply concepts to situations that are not directly related to your first beliefs. A student who has never been exposed to religious ideologies will probably find some confusing, but she can always read a book!

There are many ways to get this type of knowledge through socialization, reading, and doing things. People all over the world have built up understanding of society and the world by engaging in these activities.

Definition of freedom

what does the liberal in liberal arts mean

Achieving true liberty requires more than just being given certain freedoms, it also means using those freedoms to strive for something greater.

Freedom is not an end in itself. Freedom is only valuable when there are goals beyond just staying alive. This is why sacrificing for others is a key part of libertarianism.

By putting yourself in places that no one else will go or resources that noone has access to, you open up opportunities for people who might not have them otherwise.

This was what entrepreneurs do, and now we have a term for it: social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship does not exist as a standalone field yet, but it is becoming increasingly popular as individuals and organizations use their free time to make changes in the world.

Some organize charity events or educational programs while others start businesses that give other companies new tools or products. All of these things contribute towards creating a culture where everyone has access to essential goods and services.