Friday, October 5, 2012

Humanities Deserve Celebration

October is National Humanities Month. Unfortunately, not too many people know about that or even care. Fortunately, there are efforts in West Michigan to address that.

Grand Valley State University once again has its Fall Arts Festival to celebrate the arts and humanities in our region. And new this year is an effort in Muskegon called the Muskegon Area Arts & Humanities Festival that has the same goal.

Not only are these fun and thought stimulating events worthy of our participation just for personal enjoyment. They are important efforts to remind us collectively as a community that the arts and humanities matter, and matter greatly, even in an era when the emphasis increasingly seems to be on science, math and technology.

We should not disparage one field of academic study or professional pursuit to elevate another. Rather, we should recognize that while individuals may have different competencies and interests, as a society we are better when our talents and interests are as diverse as our ethnic backgrounds.

Never has there been a stronger and more timely endorsement of this than Steve Jobs, the legendary CEO of Apple Computer who died one year ago today. His company's products were known for technical genius, but also magnificent design and aesthetic. As he says in a video tribute posted on Apple.com today:

"It's technology married  with liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the result that makes our hearts sing."
Yes. That sentiment may be more important than any of the gadgets he gave us.

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