"Humanity is the measure of all things: of things which are, that they are, and of things which are not, that they are not." Protagoras of Abdera (ca. 430 BCE).
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;Stanley Fish, in his usually brilliant blog, Think Again, hits pretty close to home with this post. According to Fish—as with Alexander Pope—the proper study of Humankind is Humanity.
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle II, ll. 1-2 (1733)
I am a full-bore humanist in his sense. I graduated college with a double major in Philosophy and English, and a double minor in Classics and History. I have graduate degrees in Theology and Philosophy. I terminated my Philosophy work with an M.A. when I realized how peripatetic the life of an academic truly could be. I would have no real control over where I lived, taking whatever adjunct positions I could until I managed to land a tenure-track spot at whatever backwater U. This felt like the beginnings of what Fish is lamenting.
There is a benefit to a humanities education, however indirect. Granted, a terminal undergrad humanities major does not translate directly into a professional career. Understanding human nature, learning to think, learning to feel: these by-products of reading, say, Milton and Herodotus, Wittgenstein and Beckett, and Protagoras and Pope (for that matter) are not negligible. Navigating the seas of humanity is not an M.B.A. skill. Not even a PoliSci or Econ skill, as much as their proponents would have you believe.
My humanities background translated into a pretty fair law school app. Because of my training in logic, I scored in the 98th percentile on the LSAT's—way better than my SAT's, by way of contrast. Frankly, law school was a breeze after Philosophy grad school—law review editor, honors, multiple job offers from top NYC firms, etc., all while holding down at least one job and finishing my M.A. thesis (on inter alia Barthes's S/Z). And certain areas of the practice of law—research, analytical reading, reasoning from facts and principles and rules, rhetoric, argument—came easily as well. Understanding people—their motivations, foibles, and deviances— played a big role also. I always recommend Philosophy to kids who know they want to go to law school. I do not always recommend the practice of law, though, and I'll go into the reasons for that another time.
[My wife translated a Philosophy and Music double major, filled out with the requisite pre-Med science courses, into a successful medical school app. And there are others.]
There's a long list of blogs I follow with some regularity. For the most part, they are non-corporate and non-professional. All are humanistic—broadly conceived, whether their proponents would agree or not. For this reason I commend them to you. As the humanist aspect of education wanes, the conversation of humanity is continuing on in the blogosphere. Click, comment.
Here they are (in no particular order):
Arts & Letters Daily
The Elegant Variation
The Reading Experience
Blog of a Bookslut
That Shakespeherian Rag
wood s lot
The Existence Machine
Syntax of Things
Sentences (Harper's Magazine)
The Book Bench (The New Yorker Magazine)
This Itch of Writing
O Caderno de Saramago
CONTRA JAMES WOOD
The Modern Word
Brit Lit Blogs
ABC OF READING
Yankee Pot Roast
International Necronautical Society
The Morning News
Cahiers de Corey
Happy America Literature
Jacob Russell's Barking Dog
Lee Rourke's Scarecrow
The Glass Hombre
3:AM Magazine » Buzzwords
Barry Crimmins : Political Satirist
EXILED ONLINE - MANKIND’S ONLY ALTERNATIVE
Who knows, maybe I'll make a blogroll.