Years ago (1993-1999)I took several graduate/post-graduate courses in Philosophy, from Dr. Greg Johnson, Ph.D, who created Atlanta's "The Invisible College"(the title is a delightful nod to the Ancients). The Invisible College was a wonderful group of folks--everyone from female litigation lawyers, and male defense-attorneys, retired engineers, political advocates, to housewives, to me-- all hungry for learning. At the time, I was working in a nightclub several evenings a week, and auditioning for commercial work, by day. I never took the classes for "credit", but simply for knowledge, for the pure joy of reading/learning/understanding. It was at this time that I coined a phrase, "The Luxury of Thought". The luxury of being able to take time to think, to ponder, to wonder.I figured it was a "luxury" for most folks, who are busy trying to calculate how much money they'll have left at the end of a given month. Or....what will a new day-care person need, to assist them with their child, when that mother must return--out of necessity--to work?
These folks are busy, living, and providing.
I read of Plato, Aristotle, and his Poetics, the German philosophers like Heidegger and Hegel, the full beauty of Immanuel Kant and I read of Swedenborg, and studied many other visionaries.
I spoke of my frustration with some family members who deemed what I was doing as "not important", or, when I spoke of studying, on my own, Attic(ancient, no-longer-in-use)Greek, as "something only the Kennedys have time for...".
The very idea that studying the Humanities (a famous Greek once said "The unexamined life is not worth living.")is something only for those who have "leisure time" or are independently wealthy, is ridiculous, unfair, and even, dangerous....
Frankly, I think if everyone could develop their critical-thinking skills a bit, we'd collectively all be better partners to those we share our lives with, and we'd be better citizens, better parents, better friends, better sons and daughters.
I was fortunate to have the "luxury of thought". I had a job which allowed me free time to take a class one or two nights a week, and I had the time to study.
The Humanities do not equip us with technical skills, they are not skills that guarantee a higher-paying job, but they equip us with skills for becoming a better person, so we may live a good life--one filled with rich meaning.
So, imagine my surprise when I discovered--today, in 2009--that in the very urban, sophisticated New York Times, there is an article which discusses the phenomenon of the Humanities being put in the position--once again--of having to "prove" themselves. Sigh.
Read on, by using the link, below.