History and our Democratic Soul

Food for thought from Dr. Fea, in today’s op-ed piece in the Patriot News. The piece, titled “Here’s why we’re losing our democratic soul,” argues for the importance of funding the Humanities. Here’s a snippet. Read the full piece here.

 

Let’s take my own discipline of history. An encounter with the past on its own terms, in all its fullness, can teach us skills that are necessary for contributing to our life together. By ridding ourselves of our obsession with the present moment in which we live we learn how to empathize with people who are different.

We learn to step outside of ourselves and walk in someone else’s shoes, even if that person is long dead. History teaches us to understand before condemning, listen to the voices of the past through the documents left behind before judging them, and to understand people on their terms, not ours.

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