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Humanities And The Changing Concep Of Nature

First and foremost, I would like to introduce the term humanities as a discipline that studies the living existence and condition of man. This is a very different form of studying man unlike the modes used natural science and social sciences. Humanities was derived from a Latin word known as “humanitas”, which meant humanity or humanes. He concept of nature has changed over the ages and it is so obvious that humanities contributed immensely to the present state of ma. In other words, humanities bought about man’s special significance and worth in the orderly earthly existence.

Formerly, man was just like every other animal whose main aim of living and survival were all about satisfying his physical needs. This was just all about food, shelter and reproduction; but humanities elevated this mere aims and objectives to the current status of man humanities assisted in the fostering and development of the uncommon ability to appreciate physical, spiritual and moral beauty, order and harmony in the world around him. This gave real meaning to the reason why man was really existing, giving him control over the earth as a whole. HUMANITIES IN THE EARLY AGES.

Man’s existence was primarily based on meeting up with his physical basic needs and nothing more but this was changed by the study of humanities. In the early ages, Humanities was not studied directly as a course but it was traced back to certain individuals that introduced some disciplines that affected the humanities of man. An example of such persons was “Cicero”, who was a famous Roman jurist. He wrote a book titled the “De Orator” (that is on the Orator). In that book, he enunciated and described a special kind of program: a general and liberal education to be given to young free men, with the aim of preparing them for good citizenship.

Cicero’s educational program comprised of studies called the “art Bonae” which meant pleasurable art and “the art Liberal” which also meant liberal art. The disciplines included music, fine art, literature, history, rhetoric and philosophy. One significant purpose of the discipline rolled out by Cicero was that, there all dealt with the aim of making man to be productive with his imaginative creativity and to also express his intellectual, moral and creative powers. I would want to believe that, this was one of the methods that lead to the humanization of man.

With these, man longer fixed his mind at only meeting up with his daily basic needs for food, shelter, and physical well being but rather be interested in exploring the uniqueness of nature. Before then, the artworks seen then were cave carving used in representing the internal feeling of the already existing ages HUMANITIES IN THE LATE MIDDLE AGES. By the time of the middle Ages, Humanities was brought down to the lowest of its ability. The way Cicero used in describing man, as “the measure of all things” in Humanities was almost lost. All these were due to the predominant Christian culture.

The Christian culture no longer worked in accordance with the words of Cicero, which took man as “the measure of all things”. Man lost control of the world they once controlled and fixed their hopes and lives on “the life after death” and longer about the; life here on earth. There were no longer seeking ways to explore but had the mentality that due to Original Sin, they has been debased and fallen. Man now placed more of his emphasis on studying theology rather that studying humanities, seeking more need for divine mercy and forgiveness.

It was all about faith. Presenting artworks like that of Jesus, Mary, Angels and saints. This was due to the belief, mentality and feeling that they had at that particular age that lead to the form of arts that we had then. The elaboration of Cicero on humanities and the concept of man as “the measure of all things” were conceived by “protagoras”. This was another humanist that brought about the resurrection of humanities in the late Middle Ages in Europe. This period was known as the “Renaissance”, which was known as the rebirth of learning.

At this time, Humanities was now brought out to be studied as a subject. This act was taken up by some Italian scholars who call themselves “humanist”, because they devoted their time to the teaching of humane discipline ( Studia Humanitas). Such disciplines were rhetoric poetry, history grammar and philosophy, which was gathered and discovered from the great works of ancient Greeks and Roman writers. All those works put together, signaled the end of the middle ages and lead into the high ages. HUMANITIES IN THE HIGH AGES.

At this time, man had rediscovered the rich and varied dimensions of his creativity and of his abilities to tame and manipulate the force of nature to his own advantage. Man’s renewed awareness of his capabilities led to a new spirit of inquiry and adventure, and to re- examination of accepted laws and principles, be it in religion, philosophy or science. Socrates and the bible, the accepted sources and the foundation of the Middle Ages philosophy and science began to be subjected to critical study and appraisal and in some cases, began to be questioned, challenged or even rejected.

Religious reformers such as Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, etc appeared, questioning doctrines of the church and in cases rejecting them. The new spirit of adventure led to the great voyage of Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Majellan and Vasco daGama. In science, the revolutionary theories of Galileo, Copernicus and Francis Bacon’s “Novum Organus” opened up new vistas of scientific investigation and called for a re-examination of the old accepted scientific theories and principles.

The new spirit manifested itself and also in the emergence of a new social order and a new social class, the rich bourgeoisie which owed its wealth to trade and commerce rather than ownership of the land which was the foundation of the wealth and power of the old aristocracy. It also showed in the increase in trade and commercial activities and in the accumulation of capital, which eventually made possible the industrial revolution of the 19th century. All these transformation, particularly in the Western Europe, can be attributed to the emergence of the new humanism that is the revival of the interest in Humanities if the high ages.

The force of the of the mind, liberated from the dominations of the middle ages religiosity, found expression in the art and cultures, in scientific discoveries and inventions, in new spirit of the adventures and in the explosion of geniuses in he high ages. Talking about the arts of the high ages, one of the most significant was the art of “Monalisa”. This was an inspirational artwork derived form the present mentality of humans in this present humanities age.

At this age of more improve enquiry for a better existence and development led to great artworks like that of Monalisa. HUMANITIES IN THIS TECHNOLOGICAL AGE. We are in the age of science and technology. There has been tremendous progress in man’s attempts to better understand and dominate nature and the universe. Man has explored almost every dimension of our planet and is turning his gaze to outer space and to other plants. There has also been a tremendous progress in the general application of science to solve humans’ problem and provide better conditions of living.

Science and technology holds out a great deal for the betterment of humanity in the future. This is so because science has provided to the basic needs of man, like food and shelter and seeking more ways to make it more comfortable. In our age of science and technology, the humanities have tended to be assigned a lower place and in the order of priorities, and importance. Modern developments measured, not in terms of the contributions of artists and humanists, but in terms of the outputs of scientist providing tangible answers to material needs.

This value orientations, and appreciation today determines the policies the governments and even opportunities provided by universities for study and researches. The humanities have, nevertheless, an important place and an important ole to play in our age of science and technology. Indeed, the more advance and sophisticated science and technology becomes, the greater need for Humanities in other to humanize the world and to uphold human values and human dignity above the impersonality of science and technology.

Apart from the technological age there was also an era known as the Elizabethan Era. This was an era that was all about Queen Elizabeth 1. This era fell into the late middle age where there was the reintroduction of the study of poetry and art with a full bake up from the queen herself. There was also an era known as the Victorian Era, which idealized the Elizabethan era, having a long expression of music and art.

REFERENCES

(1) Hulme, S. (1917). “Renaissance and Reformation”. New York: Appelation Century Publishers. (2) Okafor, F.C. (1984). “Philosophy of Education and Third World Perspective. Virginia: Brunswick Publisher Co. \ (3) Thorndike, D. (1917). “ The History of Medieval Europe”. New York: Houghton Mifflin. (4) Francis, A. , et. al. (2005). “African Humanities: Humanities and Nation Building”. 6th Edition, pp 5-6. 10-11, Nsukka. Afro-Obis Publication Limited. (5) Condron, F. , Michael, F. , Stuart, S. , eds. (2001). “Oxford University Computing Services guide to Digital Resources for the Humanities”. West Virginia University Press.

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