4/3/11

Lots to do today: some fun, some annoyance. Main thing is to edit 5-6 pages of a project I’ve been working on, make it look as presentable as possible. It’s not work I look forward to – it’s very easy to do too much, and I’ve been doing too much on the same project the past few weeks. Hopefully this will be the conclusion, but I’m already planning to put this off until late this evening.

On campus there’s a rhetoric competition coming up. The undergrads have been given a prompt concerning technology and the liberal arts. I don’t remember if it concerned the survival or relevance of the liberal arts. I just remember that I was toying with how to answer the general concern myself. What I’ve been telling people recently is this: the sciences get you more certain knowledge, but they ultimately require enormous specialization. Not everyone has the nature appropriate to certain sorts of knowledge, even though the result will hold true absolutely and can be demonstrated to one patient enough to follow the proof.

The humanities can have an equalizing tendency. It isn’t perfect, but everyone has a book or movie they “click” with and have derived insight from. It isn’t too hard for them to explain themselves or something they value in terms of what they enjoyed. Is there demonstrative proof? No. Certainty? Absolutely not: part of the point of the humanities is to get questions that go back and forth, where insight develops slowly. It is very easy to get bad questions. Someone good in the fields that comprise the humanities can quickly see which discussions will become self-indulgent tripe and get us past them quickly.

Other than that, still promoting the interview from last month – I do request your help with that, esp. if there’s a community you think hasn’t seen it yet.

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