When I was a child, it was believed that animals became extinct because they were too specialized. My father used to tell us about the saber-tooth tiger’s teeth — how they got too big and the tiger couldn’t eat because he couldn’t take game anymore. And I remember my father saying, with my brother sitting there, ‘I wonder what it will be with the human beings that will be so overspecialized that they’ll kill themselves off?’
My father never found out that my brother was working on the bomb.
Richard Feynman’s sister, Joan (via historical-nonfiction)
Thinking of the value of the humanities predominately in terms of earnings and employment is to miss the point. America should strive to be a society of free people deeply engaged in “the pursuit of happiness,” not simply one of decently compensated and well-behaved employees.
A true liberal-arts education furnishes the mind with great art and ideas, empowers us to think for ourselves and appreciate the world in all its complexity and grandeur. Is there anyone who doesn’t feel a pang of desire for a meaning that goes beyond work and politics, for a meaning that confronts the mysteries of life, love, suffering and death?
I once had a student, a factory worker, who read all of Schopenhauer just to find a few lines that I quoted in class. An ex-con wrote a searing essay for me about the injustice of mandatory minimum sentencing, arguing that it fails miserably to live up to either the retributive or utilitarian standards that he had studied in Introduction to Ethics. I watched a preschool music teacher light up at Plato’s “Republic,” a recovering alcoholic become obsessed by Stoicism, and a wayward vet fall in love with logic (he’s now finishing law school at Berkeley). A Sudanese refugee asked me, trembling, if we could study arguments concerning religious freedom. Never more has John Locke—or, for that matter, the liberal arts—seemed so vital to me.
I’m glad that students who major in disciplines like philosophy may eventually make as much as or more than a business major. But that’s far from the main reason I think we should invest in the humanities.
Would You Hire Socrates by Scott Samuelson, via Leiter Reports. (via mikerugnetta
I’m giving this to my history teacher
From his magnum opus Das Crapital.
Uh, deny climate change? Expand gun rights after school shootings? Put bacon in ice cream! We are very talented.
Jon Stewart, in response to President Obama’s statement, “No other country does what we do” during his State of the Union address
These are the disease outbreaks that could have been prevented by proper vaccination according to the Council on Foreign Relations. You can explore the interactive map here.
Check out the thousands of whooping cough cases in the United States in 2011 and the measles outbreaks plaguing Europe.
VACCINATE YOUR GODDAMN CHILDREN. JESUS CHRIST.