The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Moscow International University is an educational institution of a fundamentally new format. It is based on not only lectures and courses bringing a student closer to mastering a particular profession or discipline; it creates a landscape where heterogeneous knowledge builds an integral worldview. To build this worldview, you need to collect it as a puzzle. It is collected from various fields of human sciences.
We live in time and are always concerned with building our own view of the world. Building this “view” requires knowledge. This knowledge is a bit like various optical devices and in different periods, they are different. There is fundamental, constant knowledge and there is new knowledge, but most importantly, each epoch, estimated at just a decade today, creates its own puzzle of knowledge necessary for building a modern picture of the world. The Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Moscow International University differs from all other educational institutions in paying special attention to the construction of this view. Carefully thought-out disciplines, subjects and courses, both fundamental and new, meeting the demands of the current decade, should create a completely original puzzle.
More important than counterpoint
Mahler told Schoenberg some very precise words about his students: “Make these people read Dostoevsky! This is more important than counterpoint.” However, what could be more important than a counterpoint for a musician? What did Mahler mean? What knowledge is contained in Dostoevsky’s work and why is it more important?
Dostoevsky is a metaphor for a certain kind of knowledge. It is scattered in books, in pictures, in symphonies, in films. It is hidden in the dark boxes of the novels of Dostoevsky, in the paintings of Grünewald, Holbein, Klee, in the sonatas of Schumann and in the films of Bunuel and Pasolini. Elfrieda Elinek considers Freud’s “Moses and Monotheism” to be one of the main prose works of the 20th century. Special knowledge lies in the books of Kraft-Ebing, Baudelaire, Dante, and in addition to special subjects and disciplines at the Institute of Liberal Arts and Sciences of Moscow International University there are courses that are directed specifically at this non-special knowledge. There is a course “100 books”, as well as courses in music, painting, cinema. Their goal is very difficult to define, but they correspond exactly to what about Mahler wrote to Schoenberg.
It takes not just knowledge, but also experience to build a worldview. Ludwig Wittgenstein once told his Cambridge graduate student Maurice Drury: “It is very important that you leave Cambridge immediately. You will not live to the fullest here… you need to be among ordinary people you do not know anything about… Try to find a job in some big store or company where you will meet ordinary people. This is exactly the experience you need.”
This opposite experience principle is one of the most essential elements of the puzzle. There is knowledge that connects one with such experience. Several courses at the Institute open up this non-intellectual experience. It so happens that a director, a writer, an artist, a scientist having classical knowledge and craft techniques lacks something else, a core element that lies outside techniques and disciplines, and that, despite its outness, is the essence of their arts: philosophy, literature, cinema, theater or music. This is commonly known as life experience or the knowledge of life. This is why Arthur Conan Doyle, a 23-year-old medical student, set off on a six-month polar voyage on a whaling ship. Combined into one whole – classical knowledge, knowledge of modern languages and forms and the same unnamed knowledge about which Mahler wrote to Schoenberg, it all must fill these voids. A philosopher or a writer dealing with psychiatry and psychoanalysis, by studying the courses of Arthur Aristakisyan and Arkady Ippolitov, must gain that unique experience, the presence of which is one of the important elements of their science or craft.
A person always belongs to his generation, and this means that he must be at the height of the ideas of his generation. In addition to vocational education and special knowledge, the Institute should transfer these ideas to students, it should be the bearer of cultural ideas, and our business is to bring the student into conformity with them. This is the main task of the Institute.
A look inside
In addition to the humanities and courses, such as philosophy, text analysis, history of ideas, image theory, history and theory of art, the Institute has psychoanalysis and psychiatry courses. Psychoanalysis (and all related disciplines) turn one’s look inwards. These disciplines rake up dreams, fantasies, secret inclinations, passions, and then you find yourself in their power – that is, in the power of yourself.