Do Humanities come to an end?

Monday, April 25, 2016

And "No one wants philosophers" are issues that tackle a number of excellent collaborators at "El País" in its supplement "Ideas" of April 24, 2016.

"Sanctification of technology and utilitarianism has immersed into disrepute the knowledge related to literature and philosophy”. And so with arts ... Gradually, information in English is searched and found, they manage commercial arrangements that can improve business, colossal arsenals data are handled, considering the advantages of following "new careers”...

And, however, progress is not achieved with “digitally directed” specialists but by those who reflect, imagine, invent. Let us all take note of what Prof. Hans Krebs told me in Oxford in 1966 that I never tire of repeating: "New knowledge, scientific advances are achieved seeing what others can also see ... and thinking what nobody has thought ".

I know it very well as a biochemist that it is essential to know the reality in depth. If we know it superficially, we can modify it in an epidermic way. To recognize the past, act in the present and think together about the future.

The immense media power leaves no time to think, to be oneself, to behave according to our own reflections. We cannot be hijacked by the same technologies that allow us to be citizens of the world and express ourselves, for the first time in history, without restrictions. When we could stop being invisible, anonymous, frightened ... and be fully "human", we cannot allow ourselves to be "de-humanized".

Education is for being not for having.  The goal of education is that each person conducts their own life.  José Luis Sampedro already warned to young people: "You will have to change direction and ship". Many of today's "ships" are managed from distant motions of power ... and are turning many into "automated acolytes" who faithfully follow the guidelines they receive.

We will achieve that through philosophy and art education, the educated human beings are, as established by UNESCO, "free and responsible", able of exercising the distinctive faculties of the human species: thinking, imaging, anticipating, innovating, "creating"... even though “markets” want it or not. And as in "Ulysses" of Lord Tennyson, we can say to everyone, without exception: "Come friends, it is not too late for building a new world".

The future is to be done and will not be the "remote-controls” who achieve it but “free and responsible persons".