Saturday, June 22, 2013

Humanities Committee Sounds an Alarm. By Jennifer Schuessler.

Humanities Committee Sounds an Alarm. By Jennifer Schuessler. New York Times, June 18, 2013.

1964 Report: Humanities “Uniquely Equipped to Fill the ‘Abyss of Leisure’” Made Possible by Forty-Hour Workweek. By David Austin Walsh. History News Network, June 19, 2013.

Some long term perspective on the “crisis” in humanities enrollment. By Benjamin Schmidt. Sapping Attention, June 7, 2013.

The Heart of the Matter: The Humanities and Social Sciences for a Vibrant, Competitive, and Secure Nation. American Academy of Arts and Sciences, June 2013. Also here. PDF.

Report of the Commission on the Humanities. American Council of Learned Societies, 1964.

The Humanities Project. Harvard University, June 2013.

Remarks by President Carol Quillen at Davidson College Commencement 2013., May 20, 2013.

The Humanist Vocation. By David Brooks. New York Times, June 20, 2013.

Why Study Humanities? What I Tell Engineering Freshmen. By John Horgan. Scientific American, June 20, 2013.

The Decline and Fall of the English Major. By Verlyn Klinkenborg. New York Times, June 22, 2013.

A Case for the Humanities Not Made. By Stanley Fish. New York Times, June 24, 2013.

As More Attend College, Majors Become More Career-Focused. By Nate Silver. New York Times, June 25, 2013.

The purpose of education for the individual is to guide, develop, and enhance his or her intellectual and spiritual capacities as a human being and a citizen. The purpose of education for the economy is to develop the human capital needed for the creation of wealth.

But Man does not live by STEM alone. The purpose of education in the humanities is to help you develop an appreciation, a passion and love for, the good, the true, the noble, the honorable, and the beautiful. It is to guide the young student on his or her first steps on the path to knowledge and wisdom. It is to open us to the full range of human emotions, to give us an understanding of the realities of human nature, including its dark and cruel side.

History, which straddles the humanities and social sciences, is the collective biography of humanity. It shows how human nature actually operated on the ground over thousands of years. History is the story of the societies we created, their rise and fall, their ideals and accomplishments, and their failures. It shows the disconnect between how people actually lived and the ideals they aspired to. History also records the deed of those individuals who have actually made a difference in the course of human events (admittedly a tiny, tiny, number), whose deeds great and terrible shaped and transformed the paths humanity would take. And, over the long term, history shows how we really have made progress from the Paleolithic to the Information Age. As the collective memory of our species, the story of our mythopoetic journey, history shows us where we have come from, which is the beginning of wisdom in figuring out where we are going.