Winter Blog #2: Biology in the Humanities, the Humanities in Biology

one10Over the course of time, people have been fixated on dividing themselves among lines – white or black, rich or poor, Democratic or Republican, introverted or extroverted, etc. Humanity divides itself along every possible border, one of the least considered being the borer between the right and the left brain, the science-based thinker and the humanities-based thinker, and the logical one with reason and the authentic with creativity. However, how much better would the world that we live in be if people weren’t so intent on dividing themselves? Humanity shouldn’t be content with thinking about education and their world in terms of the humanities or in terms of the sciences, but in terms of conjunction with one another – bringing together the beauty of science with the eloquence of humanities to create something greater than before.

Biological Sciences 

Biology is defined as “the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin and distribution”.

However, applying the ideals of biology to the real world, it becomes evident that biology is about aiming to understand the world around us: embracing and capitalizing on what we do know, but questioning and digging deeper on all that we do not know. Biology is about using our capability as the most advanced group of species on the planet to learn about, question, and improve the rest of the world around us. Biology attempts to unite usb5b1b8fcff2fb92f8dd18f22ad2d0356 through our scientific knowledge of the past, our environmental and biological impacts of the present, and our ecological and health-related projections into the future.

It’s true that the field of biological sciences focuses on: deductive reasoning, facts and scientific evidence behind major breakthroughs and future extrapolations, numbers and data supporting conclusions, and a sense of endless definitions and terms necessary to understand the relationship between all living things. But, what is the major goal of biology? To bring people together, under a common understanding of their collection as the race of humanity, embracing and learning from the past as they face the future.

The Humanities 

The humanities are defined as “the study of languages, literature, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, comparative religion, ethics, and the arts – disciplines of memory and imagination, telling us where we have been and where we envision going”.

Once again, applying the plethora of realms within the humanities to reality, it becomes clear that the humanities are also about comprehending the world that we live in: reflecting on the themes of literature that remain pertinent in our everyday lives and stories, and questioning all that we are unsure about in literature and relating back to the lives that we lead. The humanities are about using our power as the most advanced group of species on the planet to not only have words and sentences, but to have meaning and humanities textimpact, and allow that to change how we see and affect the world around us. Finally, the humanities attempt to unite all of humanity, under the knowledge of a common past of oppression and injustices (no matter the group) and an unrelenting will to thrive and succeed for their nations and their families.

It’s true that the field of humanities focuses on: an endless number of interpretations, that provide a different sense for the work each time that it is read; different thematic implications applying to different groups throughout history; a multitude of different lenses in which to view the same work; and many right answers to the same central question being asked of the audience by the author. But, what is the major goal of the humanities? To bring people together, under a common understanding of their collection as the race of humanity, embracing and learning from the past as they face the future.

Pulling it Together 

In relation to our theme of “Empire and its Ruins”,the two are symbiotically related to one another: the strength and successes of empire cannot exist without the ultimate destruction of it through its ruins. Likewise, the rationale and deductive reasoning of the biological sciences cannot exist without the empathetic and social connections provided to human nature by the humanities field.

At the roots of both fields, Biological Sciences and the Humanities, we view an underlying need to help humanity. The biological sciences attempts to aid humanity in a more outright, well-stated way through: the ecological field, with the preservation of wildlife and the maintenance of our ecological systems; and the medicinal field, with new explanations, drugs, and cures. However, the way that the humanities aid the rest of human nature, while less bluntly stated and much more reserved, serves to be equally important: Oroonoko argued for the importance of treating others humanely and being true to ourselves and our Gods in what we say and what we mean, allowing Aphra Benh to teach us that the things that truly matter are being benevolent, kind, and honest to one another and to our own; Caliban rebelled against the verbal and physical subjugation that Prospero assigned to him, permitting William Shakespeare to teach the students of Humanities Core that we are not the caustic words that our captivators assign to us, but the characteristics that internally define us; even the Swadharma and Swaraj used to combat the physical starvation and cultural hegemony against the Indian people allowed Savarkar to teach us that independence and freedom are never guaranteed, must always be cherished, and can always be reacquired through the love of your religion and the love of your nation in conjunction with one another. We would not have the strength, immunity, or capability to study the Humanities without the field of the Biological Sciences and all it does for our physical selves – however, we would not have the drive, motivation, nor inspiration to study the Biological Sciences without the field of the Humanities to teach us what it means to be truly human. 

The more time we spend using both our right and left brains, and embracing all that the science and the humanities realm provide us with individually but the even greater amount that they provide us together, the more we have to offer the society we sequentially become a part of. After all, the different “realms” of society are nothing more than a figment of our imagination – the real world does not stop at boundaries between the different disciplines, that were simply created by the human mind for convenience. ohthehumanitiessourceincontent_98c4c4_4742809Maybe it’s time that we take a couple of skills from the real world, and stop assigning all that we learn to one discipline or another, but to our understanding of the world as a whole.

Taking my Own Advice 

In the spirit of taking your own medicine in the biological sciences and supporting your own claims and theses with quotations and evidence from the text in the humanities, I understand that I cannot preach for 700+ words about merging the realm of biological sciences and the realm of the humanities in everything that we do in the real world, without taking my own advice. So, Humanities Core and my passions in the field of biological sciences have led me to officially declare a major in the Medical Humanities!

I know that, in the end, I want nothing more than to get my M.D., go to Residency under the field of critical care or oncology in pediatrics, and to ultimately become a pediatrician that will be able to help children close to home and all over the world.But my success and enjoyment of advanced English, history, and psychology classes in high school and my sheer enjoyment for Humanities Core at UCI under the Campuswide Honors Program taught me that my calling for medicine shouldn’t sedate the passion that I also had for the field of humanities. Therefore, I believe myself to be living proof that the field of biological sciences and the field of the humanities are beautiful and wonderful in everything that they stand for on their own, but not more intriguing and captivating than they are when put together in unity, to complement one another.

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