Wu Ting-Fang once said, “Education is like a double-edge sword. It may be turned to dangerous uses if it is not properly handled.” Recently, American society has put a lot of emphasis on practical and specialized graduate degrees, but one must wonder – what good is one of these degrees without a strong background in Humanities? Though practical degrees are greatly coveted for their ability to provide skills and knowledge that will translate into a job with a good paycheck, it has been shown time and time again that these degrees lack the vital education in ethics to help society as a whole prosper. The individuals themselves can also fall prey to their useful yet incomplete education, and their inability to understand the importance of Humanities in their decision-making can cause them to be viewed as social pariahs or even cause themselves legal trouble. A graduate degree in Humanities can be equated to the backbone of one’s education because it would help these individuals with a wealth of specific knowledge make better decisions for their communities, employers, and in the long run, themselves.
It is unfortunate that so many young scholars steer clear of the field of Humanities when making the decision to pursue a graduate degree. Many of these intellects fail to observe how Humanities can help them advance in their career ambition, and instead are lured toward fields they feel can make them instantly wealthy. While it’s true these practical degrees can directly pave the way to a high paying job, once the individual has the job, he or she will be put in a position to make decisions for the company that have ramifications which may trickle down to everyone in society. For people to make a socially responsible decision of this nature, they will benefit from some education in the field of Humanities to realize the great impact their decision will have. An education in Humanities opens up people’s minds and makes them realize their decisions should not be based on what’s best for the company, but also their employees, investors, and community at large. A well-documented failure in a scenario such as this is the Enron Corporation scandal of 2001. In this scandal educated CPAs used their specialized skills to devise an intricate scheme to commit accounting fraud in an attempt to make the company look financially secure and make themselves rich. In the end these CPAs and other Enron executives in the know were sentenced to jail, while thousands of lower level employees lost their jobs as well as their retirement savings, and investors lost a combined $7 billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal). What these Enron executives and several others like them with specialized educations lack is a solid foundation in ethics and social responsibility, both which can be obtained through an education in Humanities.
An advance degree in Humanities can also serve to pave the way to a career in the most honorable field of all – education. Though it is not the most lucrative, a career as a teacher or professor is most rewarding. Furthermore, without a continuing flow of young educators ready to reach out to the next generation to educate them on the fundamentals of the Humanities, our society will lose the lessons that can be learned from the essential fields of art, music, philosophy, history, and literature. If these lessons are lost, we will surely experience a decline in our society.
Though a degree in Humanities may not be the most popular route to take for a young aspiring scholar, it is without a doubt the most useful for both the individual and the community. The goal of an advanced degree in Humanities is not as intriguing as more practical degrees that offer seemingly endless promise to make the almighty buck, but with it scholars can put themselves in a position to save themselves from the lack of education their specialized degree overlooked and benefit their community through the multiple perspectives and open-mindedness they obtained through their degree in Humanities. As founding father and self-educated humanitarian Benjamin Franklin once said, “Educate your children to self-control, to the habit of holding passion and prejudice and evil tendencies subject to an upright and reasoning will, and you have done much to abolish misery from their future and crimes from society.” That is the value of Humanities.
Works Cited http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron_scandal>.