Hey Mom, What’s a Humanities?

The arts and humanities bring the whole soul into activity…. Civil rights, labor rights, women’s rights: all propelled by persons deeply acquainted with the humanities and arts. Rachel Carson, Mahatma Ghandi, Henry David Thoreau, John L. Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Rose Schneiderman: each immersed in literature,religion, poetry, history or philosophy–or several of these…. That is why the continued disinvestment in arts and humanities is costly and ominous. In the last 50 years nationally, the percentage of all bachelor’s degrees conferred that fall in the humanities has dropped from above 20 percent to below 10 percent…
— James Engell, “Humanists All,” Harvard Magazine, January-February 2023.

Students and their professors
now pursue information, not
insight. They do not learn that
information is merely a means
toward insight, and has limited
value in itself.
It is one element of knowledge
that, by itself,does not lead to
wisdom and inspire action to 
preserve and protect human
rights and human welfare and
dignity.
Study of arts and humanities
opens the door to a journey
of mind and soul to knowledge
with wisdom, far beyond the
information gained in pollsters’
numbers and experts’ cliches.

George Salamon, in St. Louis, MO, wonders if more Americans will, finally, start asking that question. Read other articles by George.