Various attempts to understand the behavior of humans and existence of their surroundings has led to the humanities’ study. It is a broad academic discipline assessing the situation of humans and the surrounding influences and contributes to their behavior. It includes the study of philosophy, archeology, ethics, language of a people, literature, religious beliefs, laws of the land and their history. Although not all its facts are fully accepted by people, this study enables people make sense of their lives and the world they are living in. Different perceptions have been held regarding humanities’ study and the viability of its content. This is because people tend to interpret it to suit their origin.
Aesthetics is a study in philosophy that describes the origin of beauty. It finds an explanation to the existence of human surroundings and the reasons behind their character. In relation to humanities’ study, aesthetics is significant as it involves finding the origin of the human life and the affecting factors. According to Lamarque, and Olsen, (2004) “Accordingly, our aesthetic experience of the natural world is often mixed-a mixture of the aesthetic appreciation of nature as nature with an additional element, of a variable nature, based on human design or purpose or activity” (Pg 545). This clearly indicates the role of aesthetics in humanities, which is finding an explanation to the occurrences in the world and human behavior. It also describes the adaptation of different concepts such as language and religion.
Three questions relating to the study of humanities include; 1) Why is it necessary to understand the behaviors and components of human life? This question enables a person to develop an interest in the study. 2) Why do the practices of humans differ? This one enables the learner to understand the difference in livelihoods. 3) Are the components of life a mystery or do they have an underlying explanation? This question enables the learner to be open-minded towards the possible findings.
The study of humanities helps in human judgment of both others and the surrounding. According to Commission on the Humanities, (1978), “…educators should emphasize the value of the humanities for effective enjoyment and judgment of arts” (Pg 23). This emphasizes the importance of humanity in judgment since an understanding of different people and origins allows people to appreciate each other. For instance, a person with a different religious approach will be more cautious when arguing about other religions because they understand their origins.
It also helps in proper communication between people and improved perceptions of others. People understand the culture, history and lifestyle of each other, which enhances better communication. Commission on the Humanities, (1978) stated that, “… for understanding other cultures; and for assessment of ethical problems (Pg 23). This enables people act more cautiously with each other to avoid arising conflicts due to ignorance and failure to appreciate each other’s culture.
Human beings often ask themselves questions regarding their origin and the reasons why they behave in a certain manner or choose to follow certain leads in life. The study of humanities has assisted to clarify this issue and bring people from different scopes of the world together. It gives a better understanding of why the world runs the way it is and not any other way. People are able to relate to their beliefs and ways of life and appreciate that of other people. Togetherness, proper communication and good deeds towards each other are also attributed to the understanding of each other.
Commission on the Humanities (1978). The Humanities in American Life: Report of the Commission on the Humanities. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lamarque, P., & Olsen, S. H. (2004). Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art: The Analytic Tradition: An Anthology. Blackwell Philosophy Anthologies, 21. Oxford: Blackwell.