In a speech for the National Endowment for the Humanities earlier this month, the talented documentarian Ken Burns gave a powerful and compelling defense of the humanities. He mixes life lessons with insights into our current state of affairs gleaned from his immersion in the humanities. It’s really worth reading the entire speech.
Here’s and excerpt: “In a larger sense, the humanities helps us understand almost everything better–and they liberate us from the myopia our media culture and politics impose upon us. Unlike our current culture wars, which have manufactured a false dialectic just to accentuate otherness, the humanities stand in complicated contrast, permitting a nuanced and sophisticated view of our history, as well as our present moment, replacing misplaced fear with admirable tolerance, providing important perspective, and exalting in our often contradictory and confounding manifestations. Do we contradict ourselves? We do!”
Read the entire speech here: Ken Burns Jefferson Lecture | National Endowment for the Humanities