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abel d soto
abel soto THIS IS how I want to understand and study the humanities: through the power of words and their meanings.

I want to understand the humanities from the pragmatic/practical vantage point of a language teacher, which is with the way it is spelled or from its linguistic, lexical, or semantic composition.

Undeniably, humanities is a big word. It is already loaded with significant words with essential meanings that will somehow reveal already the essentials of the humanities.

Try reading and rereading the word "humanities" and watch how it unlocks and reveals its meaning to you, a meaning so simple and yet so profound.

The center of the study of humanities is man, which is more or less at the center or core of the word "humanities." Without the human dimension, without "man" in "humanities," you cannot spell the word anymore for it would obviously be incomplete, in the same way that one's study of the humanities will be useless and meaningless without man trying to understand and to be understood, to learn and to be learned about himself/herself and his/her world. Without "man," HUITIES would be what's left of the word, which could aptly stand for, "Hollow Understanding of I and his/her TIES (his/her connections and what connects him/her to the world he/she lives in)."

The word "I" is likewise an indispensable element of the word, for removing the letter "i" would again result to incompleteness in the lexical composition of the word, in the same manner that no one could possibly understand and learn the humanities if one is not and will not willingly involve himself/herself and take the necessary risks to face and confront the various issues, problems, and uncertainties that make the humanities and its study more interesting and kaleidoscopic (colorful). And without the "I," HUMANTES would be what's left of the word, which could aptly stand for, "Hollow Understanding of MAN, Trying to Escape the Self."

If you remove "ties" in "humanities, " then what is "human" and "I" without his/her "ties" or connections and what connects him/her to the world that provides him deeper, realistic, and truthful understanding of himself/herself and his/her world? It would just simply be a "Hollow Understanding of MAN and I (himself/herself)," which would probably be an empty and futile attempt.

But if you take all the words together and start to make sense out each of them, then it is not far from happening that the study of humanities would form a greater meaning and purpose of coming into terms towards an "Honest Understanding of MAN and I and his/her significant TIES (his/her connections and what connects him/her to the world he/she lives in)."

This, I think, would the noblest sense that one could derive in his/her study of the humanities or maybe something greater or nobler than this but definitely not lesser than this stipulated essence.

And this is how I and my students would like to understand and study the humanities. Or never at all.

[About the author. Abel D. Soto took up his certificatory double major course in Creative Writing and Performing Arts at Centre for Arts Foundation, Inc. in Quezon City. He also finished the Managing the Arts Program at the Asian Institute of Management in Makati City. He is a resident of Bacolor, Pampanga.]

-Posted: 10:11 AM 8/28/10 | More of this author on eK!

Papa Osmubal (Macau/Philippines) writes...

I want to be honest here concerning Abel Soto's essay. I would suggest sticking to the simple definition of 'humanities'. I commend Mr. Soto's creativity (and audacity, if you will) in explaining 'humanities', but I would say it is rather a waste of time, because in his attempt to simplify the common knowledge of humanities, he dissected it to point of confusion. We, teachers, have quite a number of pedagogical approaches, but honestly (and without offense whatsoever) I would not watse time teaching my students the humanities the way Mr. Soto suggests. There is more to the humanities than what Mr. Soto wants to imply. I want to avoid saying and flaunting it, but in all honesty this is essay is an infantile attempt at explaining humanities. Sometimes, in an attempt to be creative, academic, scholarly and philosophic, we distort 'simplicity' and make it appear awkward and funny.

-Posted/Via Email: 2010-07-04 22:34:05 PDT

Joey Anne Marcelo Mercado (New York) writes...

First, thanks to eK! And second, thank God that I found eK through my uncle. Now I have something where I could make myself more abreast of the happenings in my home province, Pampanga.

Whoever this Papa Osmubal is, I hope he's not a teacher. For if he is, I would have to pity his students.

He entirely missed the point of the whole essay, "Understanding Humanities" (Humanely) by Mr. Soto. And for him to judge the pedagogical approach of the Mr. Soto as a teacher, who also happens to be the writer of this essay without knowing the person is completely rude and prejudicial to Mr. Soto as a teacher. (Obviously, this Papa Osmubal has probably forgotten his GMRC. I wonder what schools he went to here in the Philippines...)

In studying and in teaching Humanities (art appreciation), it is always a necessity to expose the students to the pedagogical and creative truism that there is more than one way of looking at things, and that the more different ways one finds in doing things, the better. That's creativity at its finest. For the easy way is not always enough to challenge the young minds of a teacher's students. And this article did just that. (Unlike this Papa Osmubal's manner and style of writing — oh I'm sorry, I forgot that he doesn't even have style after all — which always has the same tone and mood and is very tiring to read, for he would write a very lengthy article, beating around the bush for the same and redundant point of what he wants to say, which is always very negative!)

I showed this article of Mr. Soto to one of our professors in Creative Writing here at Julliard's School, and she even commended the writer to have creatively thought of coming up with a fresh insight and a unique way of defining Humanities the way it was not yet defined before by any teacher of this subject. The definition of Mr. Soto here was quite personal, which makes it even more "human" enough to be shared to his students.

For someone like Mr. Soto who teaches Art Appreciation, I think what he wanted to show in this essay is the principle of creativity and was not solely concerned with the pedagogical teaching approaches that this Papa Osmubal is trying to invoke in his comment just to show to everybody that he's a smarter ass than everybody else! I should know, because I've read some of his stuff, and after doing so, my uncle who introduced this site to me was right about this Papa Osmubal, an undisciplined writer who has no GMRC in writing!

Even if you invoke teaching strategies in criticizing this essay of Mr. Soto, Papa Osmubal's reasoning will still be in the quagmire of ignorance, because you don't have to approach the teaching of humanities in a very academic and scholarly way. You have to be more creative in doing things as a teacher of an Art Appreciation subject. Even in the revised Bloom's taxonomy, creativity is the highest order among the other thinking skills in the revised Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. And this manner of defining and understanding the Humanities is a challenge to the creative intelligence of the students to think differently, because a good teacher should never undermine the creative intellectual capabilities of his/her students to understand and explore something more about a certain subject matter that s/he teaches. And for the information of Mr. Papa(tayin) Osmubal, this is the art and science of teaching in the 21st century!

Definitely, and most certainly, this Papa Osmubal is just a one bragging a#sho%e who does not completely know and understand what he is saying. And the more he tries to appear smarter than everybody else, the more he pathetically appears dumb and ignorant about life and learning...about himself. I've read some of his stuff here at eK since I discovered this very generous website from my uncle, and I must say with audacity that what this Papa Osmubal writes is very pessimistic. He is full of hatred, and he is rude in his manner of writing! Maybe he was not disciplined properly as a child and as a student that's why he behaves the way he does in his writings. As my uncle would put it on his assessment of this Papa Osmubal, "Nagwawala siya sa mga sulatin niya! At siya lang ang gano'n sa eK!"

I pity him... He could have been so much more than who and what he is now... if he only knew how to conduct himself properly in his writing. What a waste of him!

-Posted/Via Email: 2010-09-02 00:56:03 PDT

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