Monday, August 24, 2015

Humanities holds the greatest treasure of mankind. The 10 Aims of Humanities

Humanities makes a beautiful tapestry of humanity. It presents the wholeness of the human being worthy of "perfection" the Creator conceived of man.
 Dr Abe V Rotor
  Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

1. Humanities brings out the sense of awe and wonder. “Son, what do you remember as the happiest moment in your life?” asked a dying old man at his deathbed.
“When we went fishing, dad, and caught fireflies on our way back to camp.”

“Thank you.” And the old man smiled. It was a parting sealed by sweet memory of childhood.

Kids fishing in acrylic by the author
Humanities brings out the sense of awe and wonder, specially to the young, of the things around , of life processes and cycles, the passing of seasons and ages. It makes one aware of even the minute existence of things, the transformation of the ordinary into something beautiful.

Wonder the summer night, camping by a lake, home outside of home,
no roof but the sky, no walls, no gate, stars and fireflies mingle as one;
Wonder the breeze blow and weave through the trees, comb the grass,
carry into the sky kites of many colors and make greeting the rainbow;

“The sense of wonder is indestructible, that it would last throughout life, an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years.” Says Rachel Carson, author of an all-time favorite novel, Silent Spring. It is true, the sense of wonder prepares the young to face and conquer the world.
2. Humanities builds on the framework of truth and values
Even with few words the mind is set to explore, giving way to imagination beyond mere reason. Brevity is the framework of the mind, the heart and spirit in the Lord’s Prayer and the Gettysburg Address of America’s most loved leader, Abraham Lincoln. It is also a path to humility in greatness, a union of the classical and the contemporary
The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet
If the story of the Creation can be told in 400 words, if the Ten Commandments contain 297 words, if Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address was only 266 words, if an entire concept of freedom was set in the Declaration of Independence in about 1,300 words – it is up to some of us to use fewer words, and thus save the time energy, vitality, and nerves of those who must read or listen. (Jerome P Fleishman)

3. Humanities brings out the human spirit

Guernica, a plaza mural made by the greatest modern painter Pablo Picasso, ignited popular revolt against the Nazi regime. On the huge mural were embedded hidden images that conveyed principles of truth and freedom.

 A reprentation of the hands by a UST Fine Arts student
Similarly, in an earlier era, our own hero Juan Luna painted Spolarium, (centerpiece of the National Museum), a mural depicting the Filipinos under Spanish rule suffering like the gladiators during the Roman times, a visual message for the people to realize their plight. Later Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, one of the greatest books ever written in the category of War and Peace by Tolstoy, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, extolled the coming of a new world order – post-colonialism and the birth of new nations.

4. Humanities brings tranquility in crisis

It may be strange to know that Winston Churchill, the great English hero of WWII, still found time to paint by the bank of the Thames. Arts bring tranquility in times of crisis, and elevate the senses on a higher vantage plane of vision. Putting down his brush and easel, he would then return to the battlefield with greater revolve to save Great Britain from the ravaging war. And to a greater surprise, what was it that Churchill painted? Peace.

Summer children's art workshop at author's residence It was the other way around five hundred years earlier when the great Michelangelo who single handedly painted the huge ceiling of the Sistine Chapel would descend from the scaffoldings, exchanged his paint brush with sword and fought side-by-side his benefactor the Pope, and when victory was apparent would climb back to finish his masterpiece. The result: the biggest composite mural that brought God, the angels and saints, down to earth., making the Sistine a microcosm of the Kingdom of Heaven.

5. Humanities is guardian of movements and schools

Nationally renowned authors, poets and dramatists, among them Ofelia Dimalanta, Sedfrey OrdoƱez, Jose Villa
From the paintings of early man in the Lascaux caves in France, to the surrealism of Salvador Dali, humanities has kept faithful to the evolution of human creativity expressed in various aspects of human life, pouring out from palaces and cathedrals to the villages and streets. For arts no longer belong to selected societies and cultures. Impressionism took over Romanticism and translated Realism for the grassroots, subsequently bypassing standards of perception, and permeating into the unconscious seeking expression and catharsis. Expressionism founded by Vincent Van Gogh opened a wider door to abstractionism that subsequently spilled into post-modernism.

Forest and Creation, impressionistic and abstract paintings by the author 

“What’s abstract? a young art enthusiast

once asked, dutifully I answered:

“When you look through the window of a car

running so fast that views are blurred.”

“What’s expressionism?” an elder one asked;

“When the car stops, or just about,

yet still running inside, seeking, searching

for the spring of life to pour out.”

“And what is impressionism?” a third asked,

and I said: It’s sitting on a fence -

On one side Amorsolo, the other Ocampo,

It’s the spirit of art past and hence. ~

6. Humanities aims at goodness and peace

Propagandism and license are perhaps the greatest enemy of Humanities. The world plunged into two global wars, followed by half a century of cold war - the polarization into opposite ideologies that froze mankind at the brink of Armageddon, awakening Humanities to a new dimension - the search for peace.

Peace through dance and music, a stage presentation, SPU QC

And as in the Renaissance, Humanities centered on rebirth and renewal of man’s faith in his destiny. Peace reigned the longest in contemporary times in spite of local conflicts. And for a century or so Humanities blossomed into wide popularity and acclaim, and rich diversity today, dominating media, commerce, industry and in practically all aspects of life, which often venture on the boundaries of humanities itself, among them pornography, religious extremism, acculturation, among others.

7. Humanities is keeper and pioneer of the arts

Humanities gave the world the finest of human achievements and continues to do so - timeless classics from novel to cinema, painting to photography, colonial design to high rise structures, stage play to TV and Internet show. Man’s glory is akin to humanities - Venus de Milo, Taj Mahal, Borobudur, Eiffel Tower, Hallelujah, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, The Little Prince. to name a few.
The Jeepney, people's art

Humanities discovered superstars like Elvis Priestley and Michael Jackson, and our own local sensation Leah Salonga.

8. Humanities faces challenge of the cyber age

But arts has also plunged into a deep and unknown global pool bringing across the world cultures heretofore unknown and appreciated, and riding on postmodernism into the chartless world of cyberspace. Which leads us to a puzzle, Quo vadis, Humanus?
9. Humanities elevates reverence for life and Nature

Stone eagle, monument of the endangered Philippine eagle.
(In memory of Pamana, the tragic Philippine eagle)
And yet humanities is anchored on a strong foundation, none other than the place of his birth and his ascension into Homo sapiens - Nature. 

Reverence to Nature is reverence for life, the highest expression of man through humanities. From this relationship he finds inspiration in his arts and technology, in seeking knowledge and wisdom, and in enhancing the unity and harmony of creation, and among mankind into a living network.

10. Humanities is the custodian of the network of humanity

We are the World – the song that united the world by the compassion it created for the dying is perhaps the greatest humanitarian movement in recent times, originally USA to Africa in the eighties, and was repeated during the Haiti disaster twenty years later. Translated by different races, beliefs, ideologies into a common call, it brought consciousness to the whole world, that humanity is a network, a closely knit fabric beautifully expressed in the lyrics of the song -

Pinsal Waterfall watercolor by by the author

There comes a time

When we heed a certain call,

When the world must come together as one.

There are people dying

And it’s time to lend a hand to life,

The greatest gift of all


We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me.

It is a most fitting tribute to mankind through this song, that no man is an island, that when somebody dies, a part inside each of us also dies, and for every man’s victory, we too, feel triumphant. Humanity is a beautiful tapestry, and Humanities is Arachne on the loom.

Humanities makes a beautiful tapestry of humanity. It presents the wholeness of the human being worthy of "perfection" the Creator conceived of man.

In summary, Humanities

- is a beautiful tapestry of humanity

- brings out the sense of awe and wonder

- builds on the framework of truth and values

- brings out the human spirit

- brings tranquility in crisis

- is guardian of movements and schools

- aims at goodness and peace

- is keeper and pioneer of the arts

- faces challenge of the cyber age

- elevates reverence for life and Nature

- is the custodian of the network of humanitiy

And the greatest masterpiece of all is made by Nature such as this photomicrograph of 


Source of article: Humanities Today - An Experiential Approach by CM Doria and AV Rotor, C & E Publishing Co 2011

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