“Knowledge that is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.” — Plato, 427 - 347 B.C.
In the years it has taken to build Ralston College, there have been many conversations—with students, professors and parents, with philanthropists and psychologists, politicians and philosophers.
Those in higher education see the situation for what it is, and many are as concerned as those outside its ivy-clad walls and concrete corridors. The increasingly urgent concern is that current education teaches students to tear down rather than to nourish and rebuild. Cynicism corrodes the curriculum and degrades our culture.
Many feel that the battle in higher education has already been lost. To them, we say “Courage!” But the results are already felt. Depression and suicide amongst the young is increasing. Concerned with the state of the world—politically, culturally, environmentally—people young and old yearn to help build a better future.
We are living through an historic crisis of alienation, amnesia, and loss of meaning.
Presented with the politics of identity and boundless choice, many are finding themselves without the resources to understand the world and themselves. Materialism, cynicism, and nihilism abound, courted by alienation, shame, and loneliness. The commonest route out is into a profession, as quickly as possible, without the time spent and knowledge earned to consider whether it is the right path.
The channelling of young people towards this vocational utility, through educational and parental pressure, is as oppressive and grey as the university experience itself, that once held so much excitement, expectation, and promise.
But the situation extends way beyond the classroom. Many are unsatisfied, and feel that something vital is missing. They are longing for something else, something more, but they don’t quite know what, or where to look for it.
We aim to light a beacon for them, and in them. Ralston College sounds a clarion call at this moment in history.
“The mind once enlightened cannot again become dark.”
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Education and conversation free from censorship, cynicism, and corruption matter. Ralston College is a place for them to happen, for human flourishing and building anew.