Defining the Humanities
March 25, 2013
Defining the Humanities
After reading this week’s lecture and my understanding of what humanities are is the study of what people have experienced and how they express this experience. Humanities are how people have interacted throughout their existence and how people interact today. Humanities are the study of the philosophical beliefs of a culture. The philosophical approach to understanding a culture is what separates humanities from science and history. Science and history are exact and rarely are open for debate once it is proven to be fact. Science will set out to prove its point, whatever it may be, through precise calculations. Science also studies theory and probability. Science lacks imagination in their calculations whereas humanities use imagination to understand past culture. Science wants to prove how people came to exist whereas humanities seek to understand why people exist. History is different from humanities because history studies documentation as facts and undisputable regarding what happened. Humanities seek to answer why it happened and to understand it. History was recorded in books in libraries, Humanities are written on walls in caves or in the design contained in buildings. Today cultures express their interests, their experiences, and their values through many forms such as art, music, and movies. Sharing experiences is perhaps the most basic form of explaining who people are. By sharing these experiences in the forms of art, music, and movies, it allows us to share information about us through our creativity. In today’s culture these three forms of expression allow people to show their individuality and to connect with many on different levels. Art takes many forms and is interpreted by an individual differently. Colors and design reflect our feelings. Black and white expresses loneliness and pain whereas bright colors express happiness. A painting for example, allows an artist to express themselves in a way he or she feels. It is their visualization of their thoughts (Kitchin, 2004). Society looks at the painting and is free to interpret it their way. One person may see happiness whereas another sees sadness. A picture of time square could mean chaos and seem overwhelming to one from a rural area where someone from a city sees everything he or she needs. People continue to express themselves with music. The meanings behind the words of the songs often come from the feelings and the experiences of the author. It is the responsibility of the musician to express those feelings and experiences through sound. Music with soul (Hakes, 2011). Music has been very important to our culture. Think of how important the Beatles were to world or even the Grateful Dead. My personal favorite band is Linkin Park. They are my favorite because I can relate my life to the words of their song. Their music attracts those who appear to be weak or who do not appear to be societies strongest. Their song “The Little Things Give You Away” was written about Hurricane Katrina. The devastation from Hurricane Katrina was widespread devastation. Their song attempts to reflect through music the pain and suffering affected by it. Movies are much like music however instead of only simply able to hear words and visualize it; the movies create the visualization for the person. Movies use categorization such as romance, action, and drama. Movies based on real life events attempt to capture those events and explain them. Movies can show the romance side of a situation or even the heroics. The recent movie Argo is about the falling of the United States Embassy in Iran, which was overrun. This movie reflects the horror that six members went through while showing the heroics of a CIA member to return the members of the Embassy to the United States. These three forms of expression will continue to exist as time continues. They are acceptable means of expressions and are a very important part of today’s society. All three bring joy to people and if capable a person can express him or herself like none before.
Kitchin, M. (2004). Art and expression. Retrieved from http://www.students.sbc.edu/kitchin04/artandexpression/artandexpression.html Hakes, T. (2011, March 11). Music as expression vs. music as entertainment. Retrieved from