100 words per response due in 8 hours
Define the humanities
As described by J. McAteer in the LIB101 introduction video, the humanities that we focused on in this class were “art, literature, history, philosophy and religion”.
Art can be broken down into numerous different forms ranging from hand drawn pictures, theater, and even entire buildings. In week four we saw J.M. Sweeney (2010) explain in detail how religion dedicates the various different structural pieces of their buildings to the artwork of their faith. A rather ingenious idea really once you start to think about it. How else would you be able to spread the word of your faith to those that could not read or spoke a different language?
We dove into literature right out of the gate during week one with Homer’s epic, The Odyssey. Literature is a great way to accumulate a wealth of knowledge and spread ideas. These days we use literature as an escape from reality, some use it as a doorway to greater knowledge, and others use it as a way to put their ideas on to paper. Literature is a great tool for preserving these ideas and stories throughout history, assuming of course, someone doesn’t decide to burn down the library.
History, the past, as it is written and also discovered by other means. We have acquired most of our knowledge of the past from literature and stories passed down throughout the years. We are constantly seeking and discovering more clues about our past by means of archaeologists, deep sea treasure hunters and the occasional lucky find in some farmers field. History is one of the best teachers.
When it comes to teaching, how is it best to start? In fact, it would seem the best way to start learning is to form a question, then another, and another. Socrates used this method as a way to understand the world around himself. One cannot truly understand something until they dissect each working part and figure out the how’s and why’s. Philosophy has taken its place in history as an exceptional way to teach and learn. Not only does it help us to understand the world around us, but it also enables us to discover different parts of ourselves.
Throughout history people have turned to religion to help them understand the reasons for events that were beyond their comprehension. It has guided those that are able to assist the less fortunate, given people higher standards and morals to live up to and provided explanations for experiences. It has brought like-minded people together so they could succeed as a community, rather than struggle as an individual. This is how I define the Humanities that we focused on in this class.
Define the humanities
For me, it is hard to put the definition into words. I guess for me the humanities are the study of what influenced our society today its learning our history. For example, the video talks about how philosophy is necessary for democracy because we must evaluate our thinking and not base our thinking on just traditions.
Explain their relevance to our lives
The humanities play a major role in our lives. The study of religion, for example, helps us better understand other cultures and traditions. I work with a variety of families that come from different backgrounds and its important for me as an educator to be aware of different religions and traditions and be respectful to them. Furthermore, learning different religions will help us not make assumptions about anyone’s beliefs. I think another important aspect of the humanities is the study of philosophy. Philosophy helps us by asking ourselves and others why they believe what they do. Some people have an opinion that is influenced by others way of thinking and not much else. Challenging them by asking them why they have that point of view will make them use their critical thinking skills and see If their opinion has anything solid to back it up. We can also use this to challenge our own thinking and make sure our own opinions can be backed up by evidence.
For me humanities is home. Home being hope, sense of self or becoming who we strive to be in our lives. It is the ability, as the video mentioned, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and learn who you are as well as who they are in the process. Many times we take what we read or see as the final decision or factor but with humanities we are asked to open our minds and see the world in different ways. By doing so you in turn grow and get closer to “home” or who you are meant to be. I think Socrates showed this also with his discussion about our souls and how if we live life well then our souls will be free.
Relevance in our lives
Humanities are important so that we can look and think outside the box. We cant be stuck in one train of thought. Many times we focus on parts of our life that are not as important as we deem them. I think humanities helps us to learn from history not just talk about it. Especially what is going on today, it helps us to take a step back and look at the whole picture. It opens us up to different cultures, religions and ways of being. I thought it was so interesting that there were times in our discussions that a similar quote could be used to define a completely different thought. That is what it is all about. Opening ourselves up to something more then our beliefs and thoughts.
I am going to take more of a literary approach to my paper. I think many of the works and quotes that I can think of lead me in that direction. I think all of these works make you use your imagination and ability to think outside the box and the common frame of mind. Everyone interprets life differently and so many of these Medieval texts help us to see life in such different ways.
Humanities is how every human processes and reacts to everything us humans are experiencing. We study humanities in current and ancient culture, philosophy, and events. This is extremely important to our lives due to the fact that understanding the way we think helps us evolve as a species. Studying past humanities in myths and religious stories helps us understand how the world operates. The story of Medea explains how humans seek happiness through love. “For you I raised the light which rescued you from death. I left my father and my home, on my own, and came with you to Iolcus, beneath Mount Pelion. My love for you was greater than my wisdom. Then I killed Pelias in the most agonizing way, at the hands of his own daughters, and demolished his household, all of it. Now, after I’ve done all this to help you, you brute, you betray me and help yourself to some new wife” (Medea Lines 561-578). Although Medea believed doing all these deeds for her husband in the name of love would bring her happiness between her and her husband, it was most definitely not the case. Not only did she doom herself, but many others around her. This tale presents an abundance of wisdom on the danger of humans seeking what appears to be happiness, only to find tragedy. It teaches us to be content with the blessings we receive instead of striving for more.
Euripides. (2006). Medea. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.proxy-library.ashford.edu
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