On the Value of the Humanities

I decided to write this in response to a recent article I read on linkedin, suggesting companies ought to hire humanities majors to handle writing emails, reading piles of emails and general bullshitting because, in a nutshell, they’re better at it.

Here’s a quote: “Haters insist that Humanities majors graduate with no marketable skills. But what about the ability to bullshit? Every History/English/Philosophy/Religion major has mastered the art of bullshitting. And when your boss asks why SUV sales are 50% lower than projected, and you have no clue, who do you want fielding the question: someone who can solve for X, or someone who’s used to writing 80 page papers on post-modern symbolism in See Spot Run?”

You know, in general I agree with this, but I wanted to expand. I think there’s a lot more to be said about this topic.

As far as the article’s premise goes, it’s funny but it contains some serious aspects of truth. Still, there are some traits of these majors that aren’t represented either there or in the classics-professor ‘think critically’ boilerplate, which is also true enough by the by. This is that the humanities teach relatability — the ability to hear about the problems that aren’t yours, learn the context and circumstances of those problems, and obtain an understanding of motivations you may not necessarily have or agree with and decisions you may not have made. Or if not the ability, at least lots of practice.