13 March 2007

Whither The Humanities?*

Scholar, novelist, essayist Thomas Mallon asks ten questions about the future of the humanities in America:

5. How can the contemplative mind survive in the multitasking, ADD-inducing world of digitization? Are we willing to face the downside of this great electronic boon? Do we really want students reading electronic texts of the classics that are festooned with more links than a Wikipedia entry? Aren’t a few moments of quiet bafflement preferable to an endless steeplechase across Web page after Web page?

6. Are we willing to consider the irony that our unceasing communication with one another — the dozen extra phone calls that we all now make each day; the two dozen pointless e-mails — is making us less human? And that we might have more important things to say if we could re-master the lost art of shutting up, for at least a half hour every now and then?

7. Are American writers, artists, and thinkers truly prepared to admit that Islamofascism is a real, and even imminent, threat to everything they are accustomed to thinking, saying, and creating?

Here's the whole thing.
*Highbrow entry of the day - back to chicken-eating cows anon.


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