neděle 31. května 2009
Why a man studies humanities? notes on E.F. Schumacher
These are thoughts of british economist E.F.Schumacher on education...
"Hence the longing for education, that is to say, for something that will lead us out of the dark wood of our muddled ignorance into the light of understanding.
I have said that a purely scientific education cannot do this for us because
it deals only with ideas of know-how, whereas we need to understand why
things are as they are and what we are to do with our lives. What we learn by
studying a particular science is in any case too specific and specialised for
our wider purposes. So we turn to the humanities to obtain a clear view of
the large and vital ideas of our age. ... - and thus make the world
intelligible for us. Such a process would indeed deserve to be called 'education'"(1)
But, many people indulge into restless activity without ever questioninig its larger means and purpose. In some cases, this subjective attitude can be explained by urges for survival and upward social mobility (Colombia be that case). But, who then is responsible for the large picture?
There are few ideas which should be HAMMERED into peoples heads 24/7.
ECONOMY IS JUST AN INSTRUMENT
DEMOCRACY IS JUST AN INSTRUMENT
IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHOOSE THE PURPOSE THESE INSTRUMENTS SERVE
Why then are these instruments working to deteriorate both the culture and the nature? Because we MISTAKE THE INSTRUMENT FOR THE PURPOSE.
ECONOMY GIVES MAN THE BASIS TO REACH OUT FOR OTHER VALUES (WHICH VALUES?)
DEMOCRACY ENABLES PROGRESS OF THE VALUES (WHICH VALUES?)
Now, this was understood by founders of modern economy - but - it is no longer understood by our contemporaries! MAx Weber suggests the protestant ideology approved of accumulating capital, as this power was later to be dedicated to OPUS DEI (Who does it?). Schumacher quotes Keynes saying, that we have to TEMPORARILY SUSPEND CULTURAL VALUES in order to DEVELOP ECONOMICAL BASIS (a dangerous idea indeed).
"Keynes, in the essay from which I have
quoted already, advised us that the time was not yet for a 'return to some of
the most sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue - that
avarice is a vice, that the exaction of usury is a misdemeanour, and the love
of money is detestable'." (p. 15) See? NOT YET!
"In ethics, as in so many other fields, we have recklessly and wilfully
abandoned our great classical-Christian heritage. We have even degraded the
very words without which ethical discourse cannot carry on, words like
virtue, love, temperance. As a result, we are totally ignorant, totally
uneducated in the subject that of all conceivable subjects, is the most
important, We have no idea· to think with and therefore are only too ready to
believe that ethics is a held where thinking does no good. Who knows
anything today of the Seven Deadly Sins or of the Four Cardinal Virtues?
Who could even name them? And if these venerable, old ideas are thought
not to be worth bothering about, what new ideas have taken their place?" (p.66)
THE IDEAS THAT SUBSTITUTED THEM ARE: DONT WORRY, WORK RESTLESSLY, MAKE MONEY, DONT WASTE YOUR TIME ACTUALLY USING YOUR BRAIN OR CONSCIENCE - THE PROGRESS WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING!
We have full right to fear, that the temporary regime of "dictatorship of economic criteria" has become permanent. WHICH IS A FAILURE. temporary regimes ALWAYS REDUCE AND SIMPLIFY REALITY in order to make decisions and action easier - therefor they are only suitable for TEMPORARY, TRANSITIONAL CONDITIONS (war, revolution) when the toll of by-produced injustice and attrocities is acceptable. NOT PERMANENTLY! What are we loosing? HUMAN DIGNITY, NATURAL RESOURCES AND TIME. There is sufficient evidence for the second and as for the third - even that seems to be quite evident mathematically - unless, offcourse, a miracle occurs. Do these valuable things that we sacrifice buy us a lot more happiness, or is it rather the other way around?
But, WHEN ARE THE VALUES GOING TO BE REINSTATED AGAIN THEN?
WHO WILL JUDGE THAT THE TIME HAS COME TO SUSPEND THIS TEMPORARY "econo-revolutionary" REGIME AND ONCE AGAIN PURSUIT THE VALUES MANKIND WAS MENT TO PURSUIT?
But, when we look around at our fellow men, we could very well paraphrase an Ice Cube character in Boyz n da Hood (1991) and say "either they dont know, dont show, or dont care about whats going on...". Well every educated person knows, that in their respective field of work ignoring problems certainly does not solve them or magically do them away. But, who then makes these problems their field of work? Who does speak about it? And that may be the reason people study humanities.