Why the Humanities Are Just as Important as STEM

Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

As a global society, we tend to give the impression that STEM is something you should go after whereas the Humanities are something you should avoid. I think this is unfair for two reasons: firstly, there’s the obvious case that people tend to either swing one way or the other, and that pushing people all on one end isn’t productive for those who would rather spend time in the Humanities block. Secondly, I don’t think we give Humanities the credit it deserves.

Traditionally, I’ve come from a primarily STEM background. While I do enjoy writing and the arts a whole lot, when it comes down to straight work I tend to lean much closer towards the structure and rigidness that is most STEM courses and projects. However, as time has gone on I’ve realized that STEM cannot exist in a sphere solely on its own; it needs the Humanities, for better or for worse. Here are three reasons why I think that.

Firstly, the Humanities allows us to see the world in the abstract. This not only serves to excite us, but can allow us to view the world with a lot more angles. STEM suffers from a lack of this; while it is very good at solving given some pieces that are already known, it can’t expand beyond its already established boundaries too well. Being able to think of abstract processes (think philosophy) allows us to dig out a lot more areas.

Speaking of viewing a world in a different light, perhaps the most obvious benefit of the Humanities is its ability to get us to focus on creativity. While STEM allows for some creativity (and certainly requires it), it can often be bogged down due to the sterile method in which concepts are introduced. Humanities allows us to expand our boundaries and think in much more vibrant ways.

Lastly, of course, there is the namesake of the Humanities: it allows us to better understand what is fundamentally human. Atoms and cells are good and all, but they don’t really mean much to us on an inherent level in our daily lives. The ability to understand what makes humans the way they are has mostly been thanks to the Humanities over the Sciences, and will likely stay this way for a very long time coming.

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