Rethinking the Curriculum: Toward an Integrated, Interdisciplinary College Education

By Mary E. Clark ; Sandra A. Wawrytko | Go to book overview

10 THE CENTRAL CURRICULAR ISSUE OF OUR AGE

Huston Smith


IDENTIFYING THE GAP

I was asked to address the fact that even so-called objective knowledge is always value-laden, but I consider that battle won. We do need regularly to remind ourselves of the point, but I do not think that the point itself remains in dispute. That we even allude to an "objective fact" is evidence that we think that it is important (and hence value-laden) at least for the purposes at hand. 1

Instead of squandering our time on what we already know (and in present company, I feel safe in assuming, already agree on), we shall get further, I believe, if we venture into less charted and even controversial waters. Our goal is "to identify the central curricular issues of our age," and the central issue, I have become persuaded, relates not to values but to existence--not to what is good (though that issue enters almost immediately) but to what there is. Education is concerned with knowing, and by extension with knowing what exists importantly for human well-being. Current higher education can be excused for not seeing clearly reality's extent, for it is the human condition to be ringed round about by clouds of nescience or unknowing. What is not excusable, although it is understandable, is the way the university has locked itself into methodologies that preclude serious consideration of certain regions of reality, the most important and extensive regions, I happen to believe. The central curricular issue of our age is whether the university is grounded in an epistemology that allows for open rather than constricted vision.

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