Steve Jobs supports the humanities and liberal arts

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Image by Ownipics via Flickr

About ten months ago, I came across an article about Peter Thiel, the college drop-out turned tech mogul, and his grand plan to pay college students to quit school. It set me railing against Thiel’s shortsightedness and ignorance, an irritation that stayed with me so strongly that I wound up referencing it again this past March, and again in May.

Today, there’s an article making the rounds among my academic friends about Steve Jobs, who just resigned from Apple because of his health, and his firm belief that no true innovation can ever occur in technology or in business without the kind of creative thinking nurtured in the humanities:

Steve Jobs has mentioned [former Sony president and chairman] Norio Ogha as a great inspiration as they shared the belief that to create true technological innovation you need a mix of technology and liberal arts. […] As Steve Jobs explained last year during his Keynote at the WWDC: “We’re not just a tech company, even though we invent some of the highest technology products in the world,” he said. “It’s the marriage of that plus the humanities and the liberal arts that distinguishes Apple.”

Take that, Peter Thiel!

But as awesome as that is, my favorite moment in the whole article is author Axelle Tessandier’s closing lines:

We need to revolutionize education to encourage creativity and need to teach our kids to play, take a chance and create. By not teaching our children liberal arts we will hinder their capacity to innovate. And this initiative and revolution is not just Silicon Valley’s responsibility but a universal one.

As educators in Texas and Wisconsin come under attack by their own governments and education budgets get slashed across the nation, with the arts hitting the chopping block LONG before any other discipline, I think Tessandier’s point cannot be emphasized too often or too loudly.

I want this on a t-shirt.

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