Now is the best time to study the humanities, and college is the best place to do it. After just my first week of college, I have already met students from various backgrounds and cultures. Through them, I have learned how to speak a couple words in over ten different languages.

Studying the humanities is an integral part of a thriving society. I believe that to study the humanities is to understand the world. Understanding the world and the people within it can greatly reduce miscommunication and the political conflicts that arise from it. Hopefully by studying humanities, people shift their paradigm for the better. For example, last week’s reading of Edward W. Said’s Politics of Knowledge has changed my perception of the nationalism.

I remember learning about nationalism in my high school history class. I remember hearing about how the indigenous people of countries such as Asia and Latin America would rally together to fight the European imperialist countries of Great Britain and Spain. My teacher would speak so highly about the idea of nationalism. How the “little guys can beat the big guys.” Since then, I’ve had a high regard for nationalism.

Coming from a Filipino family, I have heard the phrase “Proud to be Filipino” too many times to count. There is a short music video dedicated to this saying that plays during every commercial break in the The Filipino Channel (TFC). “She’s smart because she’s Filipino,” and “He has a good voice because it’s in his Filipino blood” are just a few the irksome things I have heard in conversations between my family members. I remember being a little perplexed by these overzealous remarks, but then having to put these feelings aside when my parents told me that I should take pride in my national identity.

Should I be proud of my nationality?

After reading an excerpt of Politics of Knowledge, it became clear to me. Nationalism is needed in countries that need to reclaim their identity. But nationalism can also be counter intuitive in bringing people together. Nationalism separates people into groups of inferiority and superiority. Said explains that once a nation’s identity is reclaimed they must turn their way of thinking into social consciousness. In other words, while we should learn our culture, we should also learn about the other nation’s cultures.

This idea is what makes Humanities important to learn about.

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One thought on “Importance of Humanities

  1. I agree that college is the best place to learn humanities. Since the beginning of our college education, we been reminded time and time again that we are a diverse bunch and should not bring existing stereotypes into our dorms. I have too met many different people with positions that I recognize but may not agree with. Learning in the humanities solidifies this and even applies it in the broader context of human knowledge. The humanities itself is such a broad entity, crossing paths with interdisciplinary geniuses. In our writing we must learn the spirit of acceptance through detail of analysis of underrepresented minorities. As aligned with Said’s argument, we have a responsibility to read between the lines of what is handed to us in order to pay respect to not only one culture, but the entire culture of humans itself. Reading from one centric point of view is ironically not very centric at all and is what empires have trained for us to do. By studying the humanities we are breaking the connotations set up by empire to venture into the next level of learning.

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