UPDATE : 2023.9.17 Sun 23:40
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Please don’t take humanities lightly

Imagine that you are asked “What is ‘Humanities’?” Can you answer? Maybe a majority of students don’t know much about humanities. It’s an academic disciplines that studies human culture. “Humanities use methods that are primarily critical, or speculative, and have a significant historical element as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences.” -(Oxford English Dictionary) Recently, humanities have tended to be put in the background. Instead, people only think about entering university or finding jobs. They seem to place a value on making a good score and having various qualifications, so many people say the humanities are reaching a crisis. In this situation, I met Sim Hyeong-seob who loves humanities and wants to popularize the field.

Q. I heard that you are a reporter of National Research Foundation of Korea. What does the Research Foundation of Korea do?

Sim: The National Research Foundation of Korea effectively and fairly supports research and development activities and training experts. Probably, many people know this foundation as CK (Creative Korea) or BK (Brain Korea). There are various business units in it and I am a reporter of the ‘Popularize humanity’ unit. The purposes of this unit are attracting people’s attention to humanities by strengthening communication with the public and promoting advancement of humanities. A few weeks ago, I covered a ‘Youth Humanities course’ of which the theme is ‘meeting of the movies and humanities’ with the support of BIFF (Busan International Film Festival).

Q. How do you want to lead and promote Research Foundation of Korea?

Sim: Humanities are the root of all studies. It is the study of humans’ lives, emotions, thoughts, philosophies and so on. It means extensive studies are included in humanities. Be that as it may, not all things are humanities. Therefore, I don’t want to take humanities lightly. I try to popularize it, not cloud its essence.

Q. Would you recommend any books about humanities?

Sim: I want to recommend ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ written by Nietzsche. Nietzsche was a minister’s son and he studied theology. He said, “God is dead.” This caused great sensation at that time. Many people raised questions about this. However, Nietzsche didn’t deny the existence of God. He just said, “God is dead.” He wanted to emphasize that the system of Christianity was collapsing. People didn’t keep God’s commandments but they only found God when they felt some guilt and they needed Him. They depended on God too much when they committed sin. Nietzsche tried to criticize this situation. Don’t depend on only God. Instead, try and work hard yourself.

Honestly, I didn’t understand all his thoughts and this book but it gave me a lot to think about. That’s why I recommend this book.

Q. Do you have something to say to CWNU students?

It is good to popularize humanities but don’t take it lightly. Humanities are a difficult study and humans instinctively avoid difficult things, so it seems to be ironic that people try to popularize humanities. However, we have to study and learn it. I think ‘enlightenment’ is needed to popularize humanities. By enlightenment, I mean education. It is different from the idea of normal education. Do you know the opposite word of ‘human’ is ‘slave’ in ancient Greek? They write it as ‘experts’. It is the root for ‘experts’. That is, experts (slaves) do one things but humans have to do and know various fields like sociology, economy, politics and philosophy. The field is never easy but how about interesting yourself in the humanities?

By Jo Yu-na, reporter

Jo Yu-Na  -

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