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Importance of the Humanities Essay

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There has been much debate about the importance and benefits of funding the humanities in school. Many people are of the view that the study of the humanities is a waste of time and that more money and effort should be expended on teaching the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). On the other hand there is the school of thought which express the importance of maintaining the humanities. Others like Christina Paxson in the article “The Economic Case for Saving the Humanities” have posited the view that there be a “cross pollination between the sciences and the humanities”.

I am of the view that the humanities are essential and should remain an integral part of the education system.

Like Paxson I agree that individuals should be exposed to both the humanities and the STEM disciplines. The humanities are basically the study of the different ways in which people from different parts of the world and during different periods of history have processed and documented the human experience.

It is the humanities that we have used to make sense of the world in which we live and also to make records of our experiences. Humans have made sense of the world in which they live through philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language. Having records of human experiences allows individuals to feel connected to those who were before us and also our contemporaries.

I strongly believe that the study of humanities is important because not only does it allow us to understand the world in which we live but it also gives us insight into everything and brings clarity to our future. By doing the humanities individuals learn to think creatively and critically. They know how to ask questions and to reason. According to Paxson we need to create well rounded individuals who will be experts in any situation. She argues that the country does not need experts in one subject but a civil society in which everyone can provide meaningful insight into any topic of conversation.

As Paxson points out we are living in a global world. As such it is important that we have knowledge of other cultures in order to negotiate our way in this complex village. The United States for example have to form relationships with other countries and it is important that the powers that be know who they are dealing with. Paxson cites the example of the importance of having experts in Arabic and the history of Islam after the
September 11 attacks. Through their knowledge the US gained insight into what motivated these individuals and how to possibly respond to them. Knowledge of these people would not have been possible without the study of humanities.

The humanities provide us with a number of intellectual and emotional skills that we need to have in order to operate in our society. These are not acquired naturally but rather through the study of a number of humanities. The humanities helped me a lot in my last job at a bank. It strengthened my communication skills both in written and spoken word. I was able to communicate with internal customers, coworkers, easily and without being socially awkward. I was also able to challenge and make recommendations to policies in a respectful manner. I dealt with external customers promptly and efficiently due to the fact that I was able to understand their transactions and queries.

In the first part of the video “Why Look at Art” a lady says, “I think it’s important [that] people look at art, because we live in a visual world.” This is true; we definitely live in a visual world. Look at it this way, if it was not for art, computers and other electronic devices could only be used by programmers as they were just a series of codes and commands. The introduction of the

GUI, Graphic User Interface, solved this problem. The GUI had images that everyone could relate and easy to use. If it was not for art these devices would not be as successful as they are today and would not form the backbone to our means of communication. Throughout this paper I have sought to highlight the importance of humanities as a course of study. Humanities encompasses a wide range of areas that can be applied to our daily existence and enhance our interpersonal interactions, it is therefore important that the humanities remain an integral part of one’s educational experience. This is basically to ensure that one becomes wellrounded, socially accepted individuals.


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