A liberal education informs a person in the proper use of leisure. Liberal education, as the word liberal suggests, is intimately connected with the idea of personal freedom.
The central role of the liberal or liberating arts is to free us, if only for short periods of time, from mundane affairs, from the need to subordinate our lives, wills, and intellects to external demands, from the need—whether real or merely felt—to place ourselves under the sway of the marketplace in order to make a living. After all, human excellence requires more than the material ends that are procured through labor, however important such ends may be in their own right.
The article discusses the challenges posed by the three divergent interests of the modern university which are teaching, research and professional training, in the age of technology. It explains that since society places a high premium on utility, even scholarly works must be dedicated to production. The article asserts that while modern university is confronted with conflicting goals, it should seek to circumvent the tension by proffering the idea that the university is free from the demands of the marketplace where usefulness is the measuring stick.
Jalbert, John E. "Leisure and Liberal Education: a Plea for Uselessness." Philosophical Studies in Education (2009) 40, 222-233.