Daily Archives: February 10, 2023

Why Do We Need The Humanities?

GBH Forum Network – Feb 10, 2023

What kind of society do we wish to live in? Nobel Laureate and physicist, Steven Weinberg once said that science discovers many things but nothing in science can ever tell us what we ought to value. At a time when interest and investment in the humanities is plummeting, and enrolment in STEM subjects is flourishing, we consider the human consequences of such a shift in direction.

What good are the arts and why should we care about the past? Martin Puchner, has been grappling with these questions in his latest book “CULTURE: THE STORY OF US, FROM CAVE ART TO K-POP”. Historically, humanity has sought to understand and pass onto future generations not just the know-how of life but the know-why. Puchner suggests that the meaning and purpose of existence as expressed in art, philosophy and religion are essential to the focus and purpose of human civilization. Puchner is an author & Harvard Professor of English and Comparative Literature.

Patrick Bringley, a writer, spent 10 years working as a museum guard at the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York and he has just published “ALL THE BEAUTY IN THE WORLD” about his many and varied experiences there. What is the function of a place like the MET and what effects does it have on our psyche and humanity?