Tuesday, 10 January 2017

"Why are you going into _____?!" (Drama, Philosophy, Arts, Literature, History)

I am not optimistic about the future of drama. Society's increasing focus on consumption and herd-mentalities has left us with a serious problem. As a culture, we do not know what drama is for. In fact, we do not know what any of the humanities are for. Our society considers anyone who goes to university for philosophy, literature, history, art, or drama to be wasting their potential as future employees. And it's true, unemployment has never been higher for graduates of the humanities. But the truth is they are not unemployed, they are misemployed.
Our economy recognizes the value of the logging industry or the cement trade, but humans are more than just practical creatures who need food, drink, and luxury items. Religion once called it our "souls", the humanities once called it our "psyche", but our society calls it a waste of time and money. This is because nobody knows what problems the humanities could solve.
We still don't know how to make our relationships work, that could be a billion dollar business. We still don't know how to understand what we are feeling, or relate those feelings to others. We still don't know how to have empathy for the millions in this world who need it most. We are very bad at interpreting our emotions and making good choices. A lot of the time we are sad and anxious.
Philosophy is a practical and pragmatic strategy to learn how to think. Novels are guidebooks to understanding human relationships. Drama provides us with cathartic experiences, art teaches us to reframe our perspectives, and history has infinite case studies of political and social scenarios. Simply, they solve problems.
The humanities as we know them will be long dead if our economies do not realize the value they produce. The humanities are not outlets or hobbies, but practical tools to understand the deepest parts of ourselves: The parts our society tells us to hide.
(For more on this topic, see "The School of Life - The Underemployment of Arts Graduates")

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