The Renaissance of Liberal Arts = 教養の再生
Our modern Japanese society is defined by an ever-narrowing specialization in the fields of scientific knowledge, technology and education. We believe that a mindset born from a Liberal Arts education is necessary to create that spirit of flexibility and freedom required to cross over the lines and build bridges between these specialized branches of knowledge.
A liberal arts mindset does not focus on the immediate practicality of applied knowledge, or study focusing on advantageous results. Instead, it focuses on a straightforward fanning of the flames of desire towards learning more, and thinking deeply, about the things that you find personally interesting. This path of learning grants the power of personal freedom, the power to understand and overcome situations you find yourself in that initially seem completely out of your control. That is the power of a liberal arts education.
The challenge facing us in 21st century Japan is how help average everyday people cultivate themselves into self-actualized citizens, regardless of issues of gender and class.
The late author and critic Shuichi Kato explained liberal arts education as an important path to decide one’s own place and direction in the world; in the same way, learning the skills to build or drive an automobile have no bearing when you are in the front seat, deciding the destination you wish to drive. Further, he explains that the only we as individuals can decide our own reasons for living, not the government, teachers, parents or company.
We named our shop “Darwin Room” to serve as a symbol to honor the research methodology of Charles Darwin. He left on his great expedition aboard the HMS Beagle, collecting a large variety of specimens and observations along the way; developing these findings into the foundation of his theoretical treatise that went against the conventional wisdom of his time.
Where are we heading, and for what purpose? What is the meaning of our journey? We have developed the Liberal Arts Lab as a place where we can explore and help each other understand these questions. Our vessel is the Darwin Room, and we are about to depart for a long voyage of self-discovery. Please come aboard and join us.
October 10, 2010
The Forest of Curiosity "DARWIN ROOM"