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The Great Conversation

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Wednesday, 01 July 2009

It’s also been called The Great Debate and The Great Discussion.  What is it?


In their book “Leadership Education:  The Phases of Learning,” Oliver and Rachel DeMille describe it as, “…the discussion leaders of the world at any point in history are having about what we all want as human beings and how we should get what we want.”  They also credit Mortimer Adler, compiler of The Great Books series, as saying, “It is the current state of a debate that has been going on for as long as we have written records.”


Perhaps you’re following the debate by watching the evening news, reading the newspaper, blogs, listening to Talk Radio or flipping through Newsweek.  You may have formed strong opinions about issues affecting our country and the world today, consider yourself well informed and are not afraid to blab your truth to the world via Twitter, Facebook or your own blog.  The truth is, you are in no position to influence what happens, nor do you understand, really, how it all fits together.  I'm just sayin'....


On the other hand, you might be of the minority group that has studied the great writers and thinkers, past and present, and have a clear view of human nature, political, social and ecological cycles.  You may follow the news with a grain of salt, but in addition to and with deliberation you pore over scientific and other scholarly journals, as well as study the Great Books; the classics which are pertinent today as the day they were penned.  You’re logical and can identify the fallacies permeating the media.  You are thoughtful, articulate, passionate and maybe, just maybe, if not already then you are on your way to becoming a person of influence.


So, how does one get in on this conversation?  How do we follow the debate?   For the majority of us who are not yet poised to influence the course of the world, the answer is -  Study.  Study hard and study well.


It’s never too late to join the debate.


For more information on “A Thomas Jefferson Education:  Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century,” by Oliver Van DeMille, visit:  http://www.tjed.org

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