Monday, April 25, 2016


It’s hard to weed, it's hard to be young, it’s hard to do the things that have to be done.

Just now thinking, as I was weeding the garden too long neglected, how I’d had to learn (and later teach the grandaughter trio) to tell the weeds from the feeds, and thence in weedly fashion I got to thinking about a defensive critique I’d read recently about the Humanities (they now have to be defended!), how beneficial they are in nurturing the most important quality in living: an interesting and interested life.

Most significantly, the Humanities are not taught primarily in preparation for employment, which seems to be the astigmatic purpose of most education in our time - for a career that ends when you retire - but in an ancient understanding of preparation for life, in laying the groundwork for cultivating a broad mind with interests that sustain imagination and curiosity in new aspects at every age.

In my case, it nourished my hunger to read, and then to write, led me to travel for new knowledge; I'm still exploring after all these years, an 'alien' in 'foreign' lands: what greater source of  ongoing natural education (children, grandchildren, world, peoples, cultures, languages, gardening, monkeys, firewood etc.) as a way of life, unlike linear training that in time becomes outmoded, less and less part of a life that looks forward to retirement... The humanities, in contrast, are integral to life beyond its end.

Which is not to say that other fields of study don't offer these benefits in varying degrees, but the Humanities provide the broadest cast of all. All this flowed to mind (suggestively, while weeding) because the Humanities are being dissed these days as having the least income value, when in fact they are the reliable source of the greatest wealth-- not the external kind that incrementally isolates and uneases, but the kind that accrues within oneself, inner riches to enjoy and share for a life entire.


Kagemusha said...

I stumbled on your blog from Scriblets. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed your post. You are right... the humanities have so much to offer but are so endangered and attacked these days, it is hard to believe they can survive the increasing vocational trends in colleges and universities.

I will be coming back to visit your blog.

Thank you.

Tabor said...

Yes, I so agree. In the United States we educate for a job not for living. Living skills are so vast and so much more demanding than a job or series of jobs. While raising my children I remember telling them that the could participate in any after school activities but one had to be for the body and the other for the mind.

Anonymous said...

Oh so true and well said. I'm sending it to my two grands- one graduating from college, the other from high school. I think they'll be fine as they seem already to be grounded in the importance of quality of life. But just to be sure...