18 November 2007

Fluidity, Humanity and Hope.

What does the future hold? Where do I see myself in 10-20 years? What is going to play the biggest role in the lives of humankind? These are hard questions, but I can up with only one answer; the humanities. In our shrinking world it is not science, medicine or business that will save us from ourselves. Not to say that these are not noble goals. Science is the hallmark of logic in thinking, something that will hopefully overcome in the minds of many people in this country. Medicine, while problematic at some levels, has only good intentions to keep people healthy. Business, I am not able to see how it is vital, but I'm sure that it plays a role in the organic mesh that is the world.

However, the humanities will be the most important aspect of our futures. In 10-20 years I see myself working as an anthropologist, teaching at a university, making anthropology and social science more accessible to all people, to begin to incorporate its most helpful insights into the minds of all people. I will provide opportunities to think outside the box, cross disciplinary lines and incorporate critical thinking and reflexivity into all aspects of life.

I want to show people that reliance on science as an alternate to religion will only result in bad things. Technology cannot save us, it cannot incorporate itself into the most fundamental levels of humanity and open our eyes. Science, technology, the internet; it creates an illusion of people being closer to each other with connections made with the touch of a button. In reality, it is bringing us father apart. We've created a world where it is possible to live one's life completely on the internet, leaving the house is not neccessary. Indeed, networks like second life allow an individual to create another state of existence, one separate from true human contact. Science encourages us to forget about interactions and problems, and to simply wait until the new ideas comes along that will solve whatever problem there is. Desertification you say? Science will come up with something to solve that. Drying up of oil? Science will create alternate fuel sources, until then we'll just do like always. Developments in technology and scientific understandings of the earth will be important, but they should be the sole idea considered in the "future."

I want to make people critical of medicine, consider the impacts of the biomedical tradition. Consider different forms of healing, forms that often have comparable success rates as biomedicine. Consider how the idea of illness and health varies across the world. The biggest worry I have about relying on medicine is that we will attempt to cure all illness and disease, perhaps with hopes of conquering death. People die for a reason, not to teach a lesson or set an example, not as punishment. Natural evolutionary processes require death. I can't help but wonder if by finding cures to disease after disease we create a population that is prone to illness, where sickly genes can defy the laws of natural selection and create a humanity that must live in hypoallergenic bubbles with weekly immunizations. It is ironic that the more germ-conscious and afraid of this disease and that one, the more we limit exposure to natural elements (no matter how discomforting they might be) that we will breed super-bugs that are resistant to the many ways we attempt to kill them. What will the population of the earth look like in 100 years if we cure cancer and heart disease, problems that have been unable to hamper massive population expansion? What far reaches of the earth will we marginalize people to to make room for people living to be 120, 150?, years old?

I want people to question the position of the US in the future. Capitalism will very soon be on its way out as we see how sick and problematic Adam Smith's capitalism really is. In the future a degree in business will be the equivalent to holding on to a dying tradition.

I want people to think critically, as I do here on this blog. I want people to take a step back and evaluate both the extremely good and the extremely bad to make as well rounded as an understanding as possible. This hope lies in strong support of the humanities, the social sciences, English, international studies, the liberal and fine arts. I want people to think of the world as a fluid place where people drift hour by hour from one role to another, to one lifestyle to another, not as a world where we are bound by cultures and vocations. Specialization will inevitably occur, but this does not mean shutting oneself out from interdisciplinary influences. Fluidity, humanity and hope will be the mantra to consider. With a grounding the humanities we can incorporate many ideas and disciplines, while accepting nothing as doctrine, nothing as universal truth. We will be able to weed out the goods and bads that are hidden within all ideas and ways of acting. The Humanities is where our future lies, it is where my future lies and, quite frankly, I think it is our only hope.

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