As the name of our forum implies, we share the view of the great French mathematician/philosopher Blaise Pascal: humankind’s most precious and distinctive attribute is the capacity for self-conscious thought.
Our passion is education, for young and old – However, far too many Australian students – at all levels of academic ability – emerge from their studies:
– without a basic working understanding (“general knowledge”) of what have traditionally been termed the humanities, arts and sciences
– unable to engage in informed, critical thinking about the ultimate questions of human existence
In short, we are in danger of producing a generation of skilled but incurious technocrats. That is unfair to them and unsafe for everyone. In the wise words of one of the founding fathers of the United States, John Adams, “Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.”
In Victor Frankl’s ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ he observes that there is an ‘existential vacuum’ in modern life – a ‘widespread phenomenon of the twentieth century’. Frankl advises that: [We have our own] specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfilment.’. However, he stresses that ‘the true meaning of life is to be discovered in the world rather than within man or his own psyche and terms it the ‘self-transcendence of human existence’…’the more one forgets himself -by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love – the more human he is and the more he actualises himself.’ The second way of finding a meaning in life is by experiencing something – such as goodness truth and beauty-by experiencing nature and culture. More emphasis is needed on the big questions such as our existence, the place of science, ethics, morals and the meaning of life.
Humanities Studies can provide skills and valuable knowledge to young people and become educational tools providing benefits to generate interest in young people in: humanities, history, philosophy, sciences, ethics & morals – laying firm foundations towards a richer education to contribute to the total well being of the student.
Young people will face many ethical issues or even dilemmas in their careers, sport and lives – developing the skills to apply moral principles can build character and future leaders
Philosophy can provide people with tools to test assumptions and origins underlying their own world views. Personal fulfilment, improving analytical skills and resolving moral and ethical dilemmas are also potential benefits. For instance, the application of these tools to science can lead to a deeper appreciation of both the achievements and limits of science – a counter to the all-too common refrain that “science proves” or “science disproves” a given proposition when, as often as not, the scientific method is inapplicable to the relevant field of enquiry- for example, ethics is better suited to formulating human principles to equip young people for both the challenges in life and how to live a good life.
“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.”
The activities of the organisation will be to hold events with panellists and guest speakers in support of humanities and allied studies, submit articles to suitable publications, establish an online humanities resource centre including reading list and related activities.