“But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.” And thus the Music Master advises Joseph when they are discussing Joseph’s further education. My friend once sent me a cartoon of a circle with a very small bulge along the periphery. The caption helpfully informed me that this bulge was the amount I could increase human knowledge if I chose to get a PhD. That image has stayed with me and the Music Master’s advice reminded me of it once again. The world is pushing us constantly to every increasing specialization and sub-division. And when the age of the liberal arts education, of the person fluent in mathematics and philosophy and history, is recalled wistfully it is so often discounted as obsolete. Reading The Glass Bead Game has helped me solidify my own support for the liberal arts tradition. The Game requires an understanding of a large number of subjects and the ability to translate a concept in one discipline to another. The real goal of a liberal arts education should be have the knowledge and skills to approach problems from a large range of perspectives. Not to seek the peripheries of subdivided knowledge, but to seek of synthesis of inner passions in a center that combines all disciplines. In this, one is not straining one’s capacities by studying disparate areas, but is strengthening a central focus. Knowledge is not necessarily precious for its own sake, but its direct application doesn’t need to be immediately apparent for it to have value.