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No Thing and Some Things

The Humanities is a non-existent field of study. Using the word ‘Humanities’ as an attempt to categorize knowledge grants the word a meaningless and virtual existence in the sphere of epistemology. For the word refers to the memory, reason, and imagination of all human populations, of all documentations and experiences of human behavior and paradigm. This all-embracing nature of the ‘Humanities’ allows the field to encapsulate every physical and theoretical object around us – since everything from a table, to a book, to the person next to us, is a translation of some human experience/paradigm. Here, I argue that when a word refers to everything then it certainly refers to nothing in particular – like a black hole of (not)knowing. At the end of the day, the whole purpose of a word is for it to refer to some thing. But when I hear the word humanities, no thing , or group of things, comes to mind. Simply void.

humanities‘ refers to a collection of groups of humans that differ from each other in their collective experiences of living. Factors which cause groups to experience life differently include differences in space, time, and paradigm.

It is salient to note the definition of the singular noun from which the word ‘humanities‘ stems. For a group of humans to be considered a ‘humanity‘, similar experience of life, due to (for instance) shared gendered, class-based, tribal/familial, or racial circumstances, are needed. In other words, for a ‘humanity‘ to be conceptualized, similarities among individuals are usually present. Using this reasoning, for ‘humanities‘ to exist, differences between at least one ‘humanity‘ and another are typically identified. This is because if all groups of ‘humanity‘ were considered one and the same, then there would be no reason for the word ‘humanities‘ to exist – for we would be all be one humanity. Therefore, the word ‘humanities‘ ultimately reflects a paradigm that groups different ‘humanity’s as separate and distinct rather than one union. This necessary conceptual, and perhaps latent, differentiation between different groups of humans in our usage of the word ‘humanities’ allows space for hierarchical and oriental modes of belief.

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