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Topic: How to Be a Successful Human
Replies: 11   Last Post: Dec 13, 2012 8:20 PM

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GS Chandy

Posts: 7,950
From: Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered: 9/29/05
Re: How to Be a Successful Human
Posted: Dec 12, 2012 1:37 AM
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Further my post dt. Dec 11, 2012 5:30 AM, at this thread, I believe the following might be useful:

Key to the issue of 'Science & technology' Vs. 'Humanities' (if "versus" is the appropriate word), the following passage from Kevin Cool should be emphasized:
> We need people who know how to write computer
> code, build space rockets and perform heart
> surgery. All of these are important and desirable
> skills. What humanities education provides that
> these don't, necessarily, is a handle on what we
> value (philosophy), what mistakes we've learned
> from (history), how to understand other cultures
> (comparative literature) and how to interpret and
> describe what we encounter from day to day
> (English). You know, how to be a successful human.

Even further emphasis might be useful with respect to 'the case for humanities':

- -- "a handle on what we value (philosophy)"
- -- "what mistakes we've learned from (history)"
- -- "how to understand other cultures (comparative literature)"
- -- "how to interpret and describe what we encounter from day to day (English)" [English; US English; Indian English; Australian English; Hindi; Russian; whatever].

I observe that a fair bit of the above is, in the main, contrary to a number of the values that Haim has not unexpectedly expressed at http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7935323 and elsewhere. That is, Haim seems to be making the case that Kevin Cool has disposed of in the paragraphs quoted below:
> The case against studying the humanities is this,
> boiled down: They're irrelevant. They're not
> Useful. They won't get you a job that pays the
> bills, including the bills you stacked up
> learning them.
> Well, that's just not true, and Stanford faculty
> have decided they're tired of hearing it. They
> are on a mission to change these misconceptions
> about humanities and oh, by the way, to point out
> that Stanford has some of the best programs in
> the humanities anywhere in the world.

I observe that, despite the general vagueness and real ineffectiveness of many efforts made to convince a world sold on 'technology values' that the humanities are important to us, I, as a former 'science&technology specialist', claim:

The humanities are not just important, but ESSENTIAL to our emotional and intellectual well-being.

The tools described at the attachments to my message at http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2419536 can help one convince him-/her-self that I am making a valid case. It can be demonstrated, for instance, that 'learning the humanities' will (if done effectively) in no way diminish one's skills and insights as a scientist/ technologist: in fact, such study of humanities might well enhance, very significantly indeed, one's scientific and technological skills.

("Still Shoveling Away!")

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