General Education

What did Merlin have to say about general education?

"The best thing for being sad" replied Merlin, beginning to huff and blow, "is to learn something.  That is the only thing that never fails.  You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewer of baser minds.  There is only one thing for it then-to learn.  Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by ,never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.  Learning is the best thing for you. Look at what a lot of things there are to learn-pure science, the only purity there is.  You can learn astronomy in a lifetime, natural history in three, literature in six.  And then after you have exhausted a million lifetimes in biology and medicine and theocriticism and geography and history and economics, why, you can start to make a cartwheel out of appropriate wood, or spend fifty years learning to begin to learn to beat your opponent at fencing. After that you can start again on mathematics until it is time to plough.

T.H. White, The Once and Future King, New York, Putnam, 1958