The Vision of the Humanities for the Young
by Robert Coles — 1984
The humanities ought to offer young people in school a means of fitting various pieces of knowledge into a larger view of things--to draw upon a Latin phrase: sub specie aeternitatis. The humanities have to do with perspective—the long haul of time; and they have to do also with values, with a sense of what ought be as well as what is. The humanities begin with language—the distinctive attribute of human beings. We are the ones who become self-conscious, through words; who begin to ask questions as well as respond to reflexes; who gaze and wonder, then put into talk what crosses our minds. With language comes distance, a capacity to draw back and render an account of what is and has been taking place: history.
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