Archive for August, 2010

August 13, 2010

The Case for Humanities: Pt. 2

Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, regards the imbalance of our society as a favoring of one brain hemisphere over another. The left, concerned with sequential reasoning, logical processing, and language syntax, has been the seat of economic prosperity for much of the last century. But in the new era, which Pink calls the Conceptual Age, technology and economics will largely render those abilities immaterial to personal success. If a computer can do your job more cheaply, or if your skills can be outsourced in any way, Pink argues that your left-brainedness could use an infusion of right-brain approaches. The right hemisphere concerns simultaneous, contextual, abstract mental processes. Humor, language interpretation, creativity—all these reside in the brain’s right hemisphere. Historically, creativity has not been valued monetarily—especially in American society. However, in the Conceptual Age, Pink believes jobs like designer, artist, teacher, and storyteller will be the ones concerned mothers subtly push their children toward. The great human skills of the next age include narrative, humor, and perhaps most importantly, the ability to find meaning. If this is so, then the humanities have as much value as the sciences in the coming era. Beyond the philosophical values, an education including the humanities will reap eminently measurable economic rewards. This is the future we face.

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