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Humanities are branches of knowledge that investigate human beings, their culture, and their self-expression. Distinguished from the physical and biological sciences and, sometimes, from the social sciences, the humanities include the study of languages and literatures, the arts, history, and philosophy. The modern conception of the humanities has roots in the classical Greek paideia, a course in general education dating from the fifth century BC that prepared young men for citizenship. Humanities also draw on Cicero’s humanitas, a program of training for orators set forth in 55 BC. The Renaissance humanists contrasted studia humanitatis (studies of humanity) with studies of the divine; by the 19th century the distinction was instead drawn between the humanities and the sciences (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006).
The humanities are a group of academic subjects united by a commitment to studying aspects of the human condition and a qualitative approach that generally prevents a single paradigm from coming to define any discipline. The humanities are usually distinguished from the social sciences and the natural sciences and include subjects such as the classics, languages, literature, music, philosophy, the performing arts, religion and the visual arts. Other subjects at times included as humanities in some parts of the world include archaeology, area studies, communications, cultural studies and history, although these are often regarded as social sciences elsewhere (Wikipedia, 2006).
Humanity in general is the experience of being human. The experience can be visual, audible or by touch. The philosophy of being human is also the aim within the general perception of humanity, thus separating the commonality understanding humanity from the personal experience of being human. The difference between the visualization of humanity and the practical application of humanity is the understanding of the critical observation of what humanity should be versus what humanity is. The larger interpretation deals with the different disciplines of science, medical and even in psychology. I do not believe that anyone can understand that the present situation globally has anything to do with humanity. For example, I do not believe that killing and raping like in Darfur or in other areas like Iraq or Iran has anything or needs much explanation if that is also humanity and if it is not, what is it?ArtThe art of painting has been said that the painter’s soul speaks within the creation of the painting.
For example, Leonardo DaVinci’s painting of Mona Lisa is not proven that Mona Lisa really smiled, yet in the eyes of the soul of Leonardo DaVinci he saw this smile which leads to the conclusion that humanity has a soul which one cannot assume in contrast to an animal. In the style of surrealism, one can make the statement that the soul is talking in a language that only the painter can understand. To finish this topic of art and humanity, it is possible to say that the soul in humanity has many different faces that is only understood by the creator. The harmony or the dis-harmony to be attracted to one or the other like Ruben’s painting versus Picasso’s abstracts indicates that the resonance of the viewer is enchanted or dismayed, thus this only shows the uniqueness of the soul.
Music from the viewpoint of one’s understanding of humanity is the rhythm of life. One would find oneself during the day humming this or that tune. One may not know why but one would be expressing the humming as joy. Theoritically one could ask the question, is music also the expression of the soul and if the answer is yes then why does the symphony entice some people but not all? So often one is confronted with the social expression that many people are gathered to be stimulated by the melody rather than the words.
Case and point, when men have get togethers they are singing 99 bottles of beer on the wall which has nothing to do with the harmony or the expression of the soul and yet they are happy. Then the men start to come up with all kinds of variations of the song. If music is the expression of humanity or if humanity is the expression of music, then joy is the same. An opera for someone that likes opera, can be very moving in emotions. An overture can also be very moving. There are many people that like overtures and a cello concert and there are many people that like Christina Aguilera, Leonard Cohen or Johnny Cash. One can see as diverse the music, so diverse is humanity’s perception of it.
ArchitectureThe visualization of an architect to create a structure is based upon the landscape and the scenery that can entice the architect to think and then create. It would be interesting to understand a child that creates the architecture in the clouds and tells his or her mother to look at the castle in the sky versus an architect that see’s the scenery and skillfully builds the castle. That would be the different findings. Throughout history, one has seen different styles of architecture like Roman and Gothic. Roman architecture is round and gothic is more triangular. Looking at Baroque, we see straight lines. All those different architectural styles are the expression of humanity and humanity’s evolution.
PhilosophyPhilosophy in one’s opinion is the most intriguing part of humanity. To ask a question and to not have an answer or not wanting an answer, that is philosophy. Philosophy is the purest of the interpretation of humanities which means that humanities in action is at it’s best. The progression of thinking. What does it mean when Socrates says, I know that I don’t know or Shakepeare in Hamlet who says to be or not to be. With other words, philosophy represents the capabilities of humanities.
Humanity and literature go hand-in-hand with the evolution of humans and the different societies. Ancient texts like the Bible and other writings represent the history of humankind as written words where more and more use for communication. As the Bible seems to be the representation of the history of a particular group of people like the Jews, other groups like in the Mesopotamian history became less and less a real representation of history by geographic means. Literature became more poetic. For example the Mesopotamian epic story of Gilgamesh.
Throughout the evolution of humankind, technology has changed the socio-economic structure which means from hieroglyphs communicated in clay or stone tablets to the skillfull calligraphy in monasteries and the triumph of the printing press by Gutenberg. Today literature is different because reading a book in the time of internet is almost a sacrilege. In not reading books in the way that it was done in the past, society has almost no time to read complete sentences because literature has also fallen in a trap that unfortunately takes away the thinking which is the hallmark of humanity. Humanity is comprised of many different cultures. Each culture has their own set of rules for humanity. The uniqueness of literature is lost in the complexity of it’s many interpretations.
Humanities are about being human. The idea is to draw connections between all the various creative movements and influences that exist in a culture at any given moment, as well as how these movements and influences have influenced what has come later and what we are experiencing now.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online (2006). Humanities. Retrieved November 2, 2006 fromhttp://www.britannica.com/ebc/article-9367537Fiero, G. (2006). The Humanistic Tradition: The European Renaissance. The Reformationand Global Encounter. Boston, Massachusetts: McGraw-Hill.
Robinson, J. (2003). What is Humanities? Retrieved on November 5, 2006 fromhttp://fp.uni.edu/robinsoj/Humanities/WHAT%20IS%20HUMANITIES.htmWikipedia the free encyclopedia (n.d.). Humanities. Retrieved November 1, 2006, fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanities