Humanities concerns are everywhere, permeating and punctuating the shapes of a life. They are asked on a regular basis by individuals who might not even think of what they are doing as humanistic and are often separated as existential, moral, or individual insights. The concerns, themselves, are about the significance of our world and our life on the world. These are the problems that often keep us up in the evening and are at the middle many coming-of-age experiences. Is there any meaning to my existence? How did we get here? Would my life be worth living if I end up like my parents?
Such concerns lead to the second area in the humanities landscape: humanistic efforts. Questions give rise to and appear as efforts when the problems that preoccupy us get taken up into distributed situations and events. Some illustrations of humanistic efforts consist of talking with buddies at a bar about Cartesian and Lockean concerns of individual identification and determination over time after viewing the movie The Source Code; calling an AM radio station to discuss whether a display of Kara Walker’s work should be prohibited as unpleasant on the reasons that it supports rather than subverts national stereotypes; composing a love poem, participating in a coffeehouse poems slam; referring to the appearance of an artwork or the disfavor of the football commissioner’s rejection to award an ideal activity after a missed call by an umpire; participating in a hip-hop performance or participating in an on-line community in which members are trying to recognize the next victim and killer from Harper’s Island.
Humanities efforts reverberate jointly even as they discover and show the humanities concerns we usually ask alone. Yet, in each example, in both concerns and efforts, there need not be any identification that the expression or conversation is applicable to the humanities. The individuals engaged are not performing as capital-H humanists. Actually, unless the members are academicians or social experts, they are unlikely to be aware of the humanistic custom when participating in humanities concerns and efforts. Nevertheless, these concerns and efforts are unique areas of the humanities scenery.