No, I am not talking about stem-cell research; rather, I am referring to that hackneyed acronym, STEM. That is, “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” All these are worthy fields. Yet, when I look at this list, is not something terribly important missing? Art? History? Literature? Philosophy?
Three thoughtful essays have appeared recently to address this issue. David Brooks, an erudite columnist for the New York Times expressed why I, both as a student and, later, an educator, have felt so strongly about the importance of the humanities in education. He ends, “Teachers … were zealous for the humanities. A few years in that company leaves a lifelong mark.” Exactly! As a history major myself (with a concentration in anthropology), my studies in the liberal arts continue to this day, history and folklore making up the bulk of what I like to read. As many educators like to put it, the humanities have instilled in me “a lifelong love of learning.” His op-ed piece can be found here: http://t.co/PCS185h0K3
Verlyn Klinkenborg, a New York Times essayist – and a very fine writer, in my opinion – spoke about the English major: “In the drift from the humanities, we lose something of ourselves.” I heartily recommend his article, which can be found here: http://nyti.ms/18pjlRl
Finally, for a perspective from the UK, a colleague of mine suggested this, an older article, which also provides sources for further reading: https://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/humanities How many of us are able to identify the buildings of ancient Athens to which the article refers?
Dr. Korczak believed that each of his orphans should take with him (or her) the sense of humanity and ethics when he (or she) embarks upon the world. From the writings of Itzhak Belfer, Igor Newerly, and others, the Old Doctor certainly succeeded.