openness and commitment

[Ariel Castle just found this quote as part of her Europe studies – I thought I would pass it on. Chaim Potok, speaking on what he hopes his work will spark in students:]

“An openness to discuss all sorts of ideas. The conviction that no idea should be foreign to us. A willingness to debate without fear of consequences. At the same time, an acknowledgment that, as a civilization, in the end there have to be limitations; there have to be borders; there has to be some measure of what most of us will agree is the deviant in our culture. There has to be some way of living a day-to-day life in spite of the fact that the discussion remains fluid.

I think that’s the fundamental purpose of the university: to teach the student how to create a balance between an ongoing, fluid discussion about the nature of a culture, and the reality that when the student wakes up Monday morning he or she has to commit himself or herself to something. It’s one thing to discuss; it’s another thing to live.”

– Chaim Potok