Dehumanization? It’s not as far-fetched as you think…

By: Kasey Lynn

Mark Slouka’s article “Dehumanized: When math and science rule the school” discusses the fact our society is becoming dehumanized. To an extent he tends to come at society with his guns cocked and fully loaded ready to shoot at anyone that even attempts to disagree with him (it’s a bit much). But his main points really are not far off from what our society really is doing.

We live in a society that continues to push aside the importance of humanities. We have senators that want to pass legislation that rewards and helps students choose “job ready majors” because they are more responsible than the students that choose non-job ready majors. And how convenient that the humanities fall in the category of non-job ready majors?

The humanities is not a popular field. At least not in today’s society.

As Slouka says, “what is taught, at any given time, in any culture, is an expression of what that culture considers important.” In today’s society fixing the economy is a top priority, which causes many people to throw the humanities out the window. Because of this Slouka claims that our society is focused more on the math and sciences, that our society cares more about “producing employees, not citizens.” With that focus, we are at the risk of turning our humans into machines, living life by rote and completing the same tasks over and over again, if this occurs, than we are dehumanizing our society, and we would be doing it willingly.

I think that Slouka may be pushing it a bit far because he goes to extreme to basically claim that no one at all cares about the humanities. I do not feel that our society is that bad, but I do agree that it seems our society is more focused on producing employees rather than citizens. The lack of consideration and understanding of what the humanities can do for people hurts our society.

The humanities teach people have to think. It teaches people how to have open minds and how to interact with others. It teaches us how to grow as individuals and how to grow as a community. A society needs people that have these abilities and this knowledge. A society needs a balance of math, science, and the humanities, an overdose of just math and science will not produce a productive and effective society.

The humanities are important. They are necessary. They create people with thoughts and ideas and opinions. If ideas don’t change or aren’t created then nothing will change. Progress comes from inspiration and inspiration comes from dreams and ideas. But if our society continues to choose math and science over the humanities, then how can these ideas and dreams continue to exist?

Literature creates a dream world and so does philosophy, talking about literature and philosophy creates ideas. These are two main areas of the humanities that are vital to creating people not machines. We live in a world where people hide behind machines, we live a world where the internet and online social networks control the interaction of people, if we continue to allow the humanities to slip away, and soon there will be no reason to connect with others because no one will have their own personalities or thoughts.

Slouka is a bit drastic in his thinking and I may have let myself go off on a tangent. The issue is not a life or death situation. But it certainly is a problem. And who knows, if the problem is not fixed soon then there is a possibility that years down the road it could be life or death because eventually generations will not have new ideas and will not know how to coexist and then more issues will arise.

The bottom line, we cannot live in a world without the humanities because we cannot live in a world without people. We are humans, we cannot, or at least we should dehumanize ourselves.

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