Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 6th, 2010

Many universities in the US and Europe are cancelling “humanities”” or Liberal arts departments:  Economy stupid! The University of Middlesex in England announced the closing of its philosophy department and then moved it to another branch after international mobilization and uproar over this insane decision.  This trend is not particular to Western “democracies”:  Nehru PM of India in the 50’s  focused on sciences, engineering, and technologies; China universities have been following suit in the last two decades and ignoring humanities.

Western “democracies are forgetting that their societies development and awareness in human rights and civil rights are basically founded on generations of “well-rounded” educational system.  The USA schools at the turn of the last century were even more serious than their European counter part in teaching Latin and ancient Greek; they taught the accompanying poetry, philosophy, and literature of ancient scholars.

Forget Latin and ancient Greek, at least schools should realize that it is excellent business to be conversant in another language.  When the US society is composed of 30% “Hispanics” then, US citizens must learn Spanish and be officially bilingual for integration and good internal communication, trades, and security. Forget Latin and ancient Greek; when another 25% of the US population are from Asia, India, and Arab speaking people then, it is good business to be conversant with another language.  After all, these immigrants are from ancient civilizations that built empires when Europe was in its Medieval period.

Humanities curriculum used to include languages, history, acting, painting, philosophy, and literature.  Obviously, Geography to humanities is as basic as Math is to sciences if we have to first locate the “others” and comprehend history and diversities.

I said “to be conversant” with another language, at least, just not to pressure students and the educational system into an extensive program that best suit global trade.  Business or trade is principally negotiating with people; thus, negotiation acquires higher “added value” when the other partners in the trade feel comfortable with serious traders who invested time to get acquainted with the language, customs, and culture of the partner.

The Black “Invisible Man” could not be seen by white people though “We are all on a raft of sensibility, hopes, and wants of entertainment”  The “inner eyes” of the WASP people lacked the capacity for imagination to figure out the range of sensibility of the “others” and agency for action toward civil rights and human rights had to wait for the 70’s.

The “Big Shaggy” in us, our raw emotions and reactions due to ignorance is ever ready to take on arms or clubs and go after the others at the first sign of institutional failures; or when the institution wants to bring up the raw emotions to cover up its failure to establishing semblance of security and normal development.  Thus, the best remedy to stopping these insane pre-emptive wars is to focus seriously on performing liberal art departments and pay better those teachers who interact and bring out intensive exchanges among the students to enrich communication and individual reflection.

In the 30’s Tagore established a university that encouraged liberal arts and humanities; courses were help in nature, outdoors, under the shades of trees simply because mankind is an extension to and an integral part of nature.

Martha Nussbaum, professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago, published “Not for profit: Why democracy needs the Humanities”  She had co-operated with the famous economist Amartya Sen to elaborating the concept of “capability” in order the measuring the development of any society away from the ancient GNP standard measure.  Actually, most developing nations that are experiencing economic downturn (such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, Ireland) are those that did not encourage an entire generation to resuming university studies after the latest fictitious boom in the late two decades. Entire generation quit schooling to catch up with quick money and get into consumerism band wagon.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2010
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