A(n ongoing) discussion.
The humanities as a discipline deals with the study of the human experience through cultural mediums such as literature, philosophy, religion, language, music, and other art forms. The records of each medium, each individual’s attempts to wrap their mind around this shared experience of life, enable an intergenerational dialogue. This instills in the human experience itself an appreciation of connection and heritage, helping us become more critical, empathetic, and introspective in all of our endeavors. It not only shapes “how people imagine themselves and one another,”¹ but provides society with a “type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”²
It can even be examined through the overlap of the – often polarized and made mutually exclusive – sciences and humanities. The sciences work to answer the how in life. The humanities work to answer the why. The Humanities exists to intertwine the two, pulling the roots down deeper. Depth. Engaging the mind and heart.
More raw thoughts on the humanities below.
On the pre-orientation trip for the HUMES program, we read through Voltaire’s satire Candide to discuss themes of evil, art, misery, and the humane spaces in-between. Below is my visual interpretation of his closing remark to tend to our garden.³
¹Philip Gourevitch, We wish to inform you that tomorrow we will be killed with our families (New York: Picador, 1998), 6.
²Jonathan Rieder and Martin Luther King, Jr., “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Gospel of Freedom (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2014), 172.
³ Voltaire, Candide (New York: The St. Hubert Guild, 1901), 208.