[VoxSpace Life] Humanities Vs Math. Science Vs Humanities. Why, But? A Look Into The Disparity

Choose From Subjects – But Why Exactly?

Which of these subjects won’t teach you important things? What is with the comparison? What makes us choose from subjects, subjects that are so both worthy of being studied?

You see if we go around asking, most people would agree that studying humanities is sort of important, but for reasons they have nothing to offer. Their answer has no base at all. Usually, discussions like that end up at an impasse between “we need to be cultured, we are doomed to repeat history if we don’t study it, humanities is important” from the advocates of humanities and something along the lines of “Poems don’t cure cancer” from the counter-argument.

From what I have found, the advocates of the study of humanities (who will be referred to as pro-humanists for my sanity) have missed a crucial point. Humanities is not an optional thing that provides us with “culture” if we partake. It is ESSENTIAL, just as science is.

Every time I try to defend Humanities, which I apparently shouldn’t even have to, I get “When poems can produce vaccinations, I will rescind my argument against the focus of humanities in education” a lot.

This argument is 100% unarguable based on the pro-humanist argument. There is nothing that can be reasonably and surely said against it, and no real reason, based on common arguments, that can really refute. Music CANNOT cure cancer, poems CANNOT create vaccines, your philosophers twiddling their thumbs, being all poetic and deep CANNOT fix the economy.

Where Does Then Humanities Become Essential – The Resting Argument

“Humanities” do not create “scientists” which can produce medical vaccines. But these “scientists” forget one crucial thing. This vaccination is our moral code. The virus would be the ailments of society: murder, robbery, extortion, intolerance, rape. No amount of tests can tell us that murder is bad, yet one glance in one of the various revered texts across a plethora of societies will tell us that killing is bad or something to that effect.

Humanities teach us things that we carry around within ourselves for life, attributes and thoughts we live by. We on the face of this planet can choose not to be around technology, or Math or Science but we CANNOT avoid being around human beings. Humanities study makes us better and easy at that. 

We asked students about what they thought of it as a subject.

“See, Humanities is as relevant as science because it forms a base on which a society grows. Like History is the base and uske upar hi we keep building our civilisation agar base nahi hai toh building banegi kaise. So this is how each subject in humanities is extremely important. As for parents, they don’t realise how Math keeps getting tougher. Like, how what they studied in class 10th is now taught in class 8th.  unke samay mein 10th ka course tha voh ab 8th ka course hai so I feel ki agar kissi ko nahi padhni math toh voh 9th mein hi chod de. It is perfectly OK and that should be supported as a decision”, said Aadya, a Humanities student.

“I didn’t pick Humanities in my class 11th but I don’t mean to demean it ever. I love Science and Arts and that my is calling. But I definitely don’t appreciate how parents think Humanities as a field is for the students that haven’t scored too well in their 10th. A topper can might as well opt for Humanities as well and he/she must be supported”,  said  Ishita Nanda, a Science student.

“Humanities is equally significant as commerce and science because it provides a variety of options for students seeking for career options related to literature and other fine arts. Parents need to understand the equivalent importance of this stream because this provides a great base for students trying to pursue a career in education. Journalists and teachers are some respectable options which the students can opt for”, said Prerna Mukherjee, a Journalism student.

The Wider Perspectives Vs The Civil Understandings

We also asked people who are out of school now and have seen things on the other side.

“Humanities is an important subject because it guides the student to think objectively with a wider perspective. Parents need to know that before informational courses, it is important to develop a healthy understanding of civil and social life. It carries the same importance as science or math when you look at the bigger picture because both of these subjects go hand in hand”, said Divyanshu Tripathi, a writer.

“I think labelling people based on the stream they choose only confines the scope of huge leaps one can make. Humanities, as a stream, is often seen as the last resort by the society which is extremely sad. It is equally important as Math and Science and in fact, in certain spheres, it is more relevant than the aforementioned streams”, said Anubhuti, who works at India Today Television but is an artist at heart.

It is not just the students who think so… Since it becomes very important to look at both the ends of a story, the givers and receivers should both get to speak their mind. So, we managed to include a few teachers’ say on the subject as well.

Study of Humanities, Science and Math – The Conundrum Ahead

“As is the nose, ears and eyes to a human face so is the study of humanities, science and math! They all have equal and individual importance for a student. They will have to face all three in their life even if they choose 1 of them academically. They cannot survive without either of them”, said Anupriya Agarwal, Study Hall Foundation

“I teach History and political science. It’s really important that children have a clear and unbiased perception of their past, culture and political institutions. Especially in times like these when everything is politically motivated and history is being recreated to generate hatred among the masses. Besides humanities consists of subjects that we witness around us in our day to day life.  It can be applied and seen around us”, said Sadaf Jafar, City Montessori School.

“India is a prejudice society. Beta scientist doctor lawyer ya engineer hi banega. We need to educate to innovate. India might has a surplus of doctors and engineers. What we lack students willing to push the boundaries and learn. Hence humanities for me is if a lot more important than the generic streams. Humanities teaches you stuff that helps you become a stronger and better a human being”, said Brijender Anand, Delhi University

Further, it is important to acknowledge that before both science and religion established their names and began butting heads, there was philosophy. In philosophy, both functioned together as cooperating tools to understand the world in which we live. While most scientists walk around with a pretentious dismissal of religion they forget that science was once simply called natural philosophy.

We cannot compare science and humanities because just as humanities is unable to tell us about the reproductive life cycles of bacteria, so too science is unable to define right and wrong. They’re both just as important.

The final point is this, in the argument for the study of humanities: Both science and humanities have different means to the same goal, to better our understanding of the world and to allow us to live to our full potential as sentient beings. Humanities deserve just as much weight as Science does. Because you know what, Science is a social construct too.