The following comment was sent to the Dr Fish Blog on the New York Times web site in response to a piece about defending the teaching of humanities at American universities.
The humanities, like all learning, educate the imagination. What is it like to be the “other?” How can this poem, this painting, these replicating stem cells, this sonata, help me see, hear, and understand reality in a deeper, more vibrant way? How have other humans, at other times, in other circumstances, felt, believed, experienced? And of course, this isn’t “useful.” It may be, in the grand scheme of the universe, that neither human beings nor the study of what they think, feel, sing, or do is of the slightest importance. But I think it is to humans. The humanities keep us in touch with reality, increasingly important in affluent countries where the virtual “reality” of technology has broken the link we human animals have with both the mud–and the stars.
— Posted by Wanda