Won’t you be my neighbor?
Individually your life is about preference, is it not? However, when it comes to where money goes for education and your preference as an individual is not taken into account. Statistically more money is put into STEM than the humanities such as arts and music each year. Much of this scaling back has to do with the fact that it’s seen as an inefficient career, because it’s very hard to make a great living as an artist or even a musician.
The government has decided to cut back on many of the humanities majors instead fueling the STEM classes because students are more likely to see a higher financial return. While this is true you have to wonder, what are we as people losing as a result?
If we don’t learn about the arts or our history or what separates our culture from another then we have no basis for common knowledge or practical knowledge. However, it now seems like there is much less concern from us as students in the Humanities fields and even if there is the majority of the time the concern does not outweigh the concern for a financially safe future.
It was once said by James Truslow Adams that there are two educations, “One should teach us how to make a living and the how to live.” I think that this holds true we may not want to pursue a career in the humanities fields but education of these things is a necessity and has been for countless years. It is crucial and vital to our understanding of the world. You can’t fathom how a religion of a culture acts without learning about their history and their beliefs. You can’t speak another language without it first being taught to you.
However, I do think one thing is important. You can create art whether it be a painting, a drawing, or something musical without someone to teach you. This is where we truly find out the humans ability to be creative. With or without the knowledge of music or other types of art you can create art, but someone who is trained will most of the time be much more refined and detail oriented than someone who has not. Many times it seems as if someone who is not trained learns to be more spacial and inventive. Not saying that I prefer people who are less trained because that is not the case but I must admit they come up with ideas that may not have been thought of by somebody who has been shown their whole life what is right and what should be done. I really enjoy when someone with training can resemble the perspective of someone who has no formal background and can really open your eyes with a moment of sheer brilliance that hasn’t been thought of and doesn’t look or sound regurgitated.
In regards to Adams’ statement about two education I believe that in our present economic climate he is quite right, but I don’t think that you can undermine the humanities, something that has existed long before this idea of STEM. Much of our learning in university studies comes from pictures and artwork that interpret history. In many of our textbooks there are visual medias to help illustrate what has happened in the past and to give us an idea of how things were. How can you undermine the importance of humanities when its cohesiveness with STEM is clearly evident. Just take a look around in the field of technology our first telescope may have been primitive but think of the craft that would go into making such a device. Computers don’t build themselves. People with knowledge in math and their technological background apply it to art and construct it. You cannot say that one of these things is more important than the other they should be equally viewed. They can be just as important at different times and for that reason they should both be recognized at any level of education. Just because one can be more profitable and possibly more prolific does not mean we should disregard the other. If we’re concerned about the economy truly, then we should not be trying to do away with humanities education because it provides jobs just as the technological, engineering, and science programs do.
If we don’t embrace the humanities and we push them away then we will be leaving out a crucial part of learning and may leave behind something that is more important than meets the eye. Each should be taught and the individual should decide which is a better fit for them and pursue a career in that field, rather than choosing something they won’t enjoy just because of the financial benefits.