My six recommendations for what academics in the humanities can do to help save the humanities

An idle self-scolding:

1. Everyone – not all the time, but every once in a while, acknowledge the fact that human beings occasionally produce something noble, beautiful, or virtuous without oppressing anyone. Writing like Eeyore is not doing us any favors.
2. English faculty – it’s okay to get excited once in a while about silly things (Archie comics, zombie movies, Happy Meal toys), but it’s gotten out of hand; try to spend more time with grown-up material.
3. Philosophers – if you are working on problems that only interest people with PhDs in philosophy, there’s a decent chance you are spinning your wheels. Get real.
4. Historians – just because it hasn’t been studied before doesn’t automatically mean it’s worth studying. You’ve got to make the case that it’s worth someone’s time.
5. Classicists – You’re doing a great job; keep up the good work!
6. Everyone again – bitching about not getting enough respect is a losing strategy for getting respect. Write about something important in a way that lots of people can understand. If you get it right, you’ll get respect. (That’s right, by the way: we can get things right, and we can get them wrong – if, that is, we are actually saying anything. It’s not all just interpretation. What? You think I’m wrong about that? Good. Point made.)

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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2 Responses to My six recommendations for what academics in the humanities can do to help save the humanities

  1. Dennis Hermanson says:

    The 6 comments above are well said. Here. Here.

    A question or few, for you from me.
    Do you think that the moon is philsophically special, or just spacial? That is, as a philosopher, do you think that nationalism and owner have a place of purpose on the moon, or do you think that now is the time to come together as a human race and seek a higher (absolutely) organization?

    The same could be said for digital culture. Do you think people carry on their lives with thought, or just doing things with technology? Now.

    In the middle ages, thought was technology, as was religion. Now, with real science and technology, is thought itself a past way?

    Can philosophers answer questions with a guess, or do they have to have some premise or developed thought to make it so?

    Is the map close enough to the territory to allow you to get there? The territory is always more. Is more better, or is the abstract of the idea just as functional, in fact, more functional as it is with dna? Less is always less, right?

    Is there a new field of cut and paste philosophy, where the parts don’t fit together, but it all makes good sense?

    Just wondering.
    Dennis Hermanson
    Hillsborough, NC USA


  2. Huenemann says:

    Wow! Interesting remarks and questions. Overall, I think there’s always some good in “non-technical” thinking – meaning, exploring thoughts without connecting them to immediate concerns. Sometimes that’s the best way to discern larger patterns (a forests-instead-of-trees kind of thing).


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