Can you see where you are now versus where you started?

Pure Existence Pierces an Opening to Express Itself in the Phenomenal World by James Welling 

Metropolitan Museum of Art Open Access “The Met Collection” 

Eight weeks ago, we started on a journey into the depth and breadth of the humanities.

As you now know, the disciplines of the humanities—literature, performance arts, visual arts, philosophy, and religion—contain multiple expressions of what it means to be human. Such expressions allow us to see, hear and experience how human beings anywhere in the world use their creativity to share with us what they see, hear and experience.

Let us celebrate how in the past few weeks you’ve obtained a deeper and broader understanding of the importance of the humanities. Your responses and written documents attest to the fact that you have taken the time to explore and critically analyze what you’ve been presented with. This celebration is important because when we are able to appreciate an artistic expression, we are indeed forging a bond, a community of sorts, with the artist or artists that created it. The more we appreciate the arts, the stronger—and more enchanting—our global community will be. That’s how a theatrical production, a song, a dance, a painting, a poem, or a book in our midst allows us to connect—in richer and fuller ways—to similar yet distinct artistic expressions anywhere in the world.

Take a moment now to think about how your knowledge and skills have grown over the last eight weeks. Hopefully, you’ve done more than just “staring at yourself.”

· Can you see where you are now versus where you started?

· Delving into the rich expressions of writers, poets, sculptors, actors, musicians, and philosophers from all over the world, have you gained new insights into our shared humanity (or shared human condition)?

· Have you learned to appreciate arts in all forms, regardless of whether you like the form or not?

· Can you describe to others the value of understanding more of the world because of the humanities?

· Given the choice, would you stick with the familiar and usual, or would you be willing to continue taking risks to explore the diverse, the remote, even the unknown?

Needless to say, the course was simply a starting point, the opening of a door leading to increased explorations of your own creativity and the creativity of anyone, anywhere, anytime. Yet, what you’ve seen, heard, felt and experienced are major accomplishments that need to be celebrated, even shared.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

—Lao Tzu

Learning Outcomes

Following is a list of the Week 8 outcomes, mapped to the corresponding course outcome. The course outcomes give “the big picture,” and the weekly outcomes provide more detailed information that will help you achieve the course outcomes.

Week 8 Outcomes

· Reflect upon what you have learned over the past seven weeks (1, 4).

· Reflect upon what new insights you have gained about the human condition through the study of various writers, poets, sculptors, actors, musicians, and philosophers (3, 4).

· Reflect upon the variety of ways humans express themselves culturally (1, 3, 4).

· Reflect upon the value of the humanities to the world and to contemporary American society (1, 3).

· Reflect upon the ways this course has possibly changed your perspective upon the world and upon your place within the world (1, 4).

Course Outcomes Met in Week 8

· Describe and analyze the way human culture is expressed through works of literature, performing and visual arts, philosophy, and religion in order to appreciate the depth and breadth of the humanities disciplines.

· Use basic vocabulary, concepts, methods, and theories of the humanities disciplines in order to describe and analyze cultural and artistic expressions.

· Identify and apply criteria in order to evaluate individual and collective cultural accomplishments.

· Examine individual and cultural perspectives in the field of humanities in order to recognize and assess cultural diversity and the individual’s place in the world

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