I am sitting at breakfast with an incredible woman, a family friend, Aunt Regina. I am skimming through The New York Times headlines on my laptop while she is reading the paper edition. She looks up from the paper and says, “You know, if I could have another life time and I didn’t spend it in the arts, I think it would be interesting to be an archaeologist.”
“That would be neat. You know when I think of those ‘what if’ questions, all of the other professions that I would want to have are all in the arts or on the fringes of the arts. I never go as far out as say, I want to be an astrophysicist, a neurologist or I don’t know…chemical engineer or something like that.”
Aunt Regina replied, ” Well…the arts and the humanities really are the essence of who we are. It is the underlying foundation of everything.”
Raised by Chinese parents with an emphasis on having a “practical profession,” a degree in Humanities not only seems indulgent but rebellious, not to mention it is far from practical. To make matter worst, the joke amongst all of us who have a degree in the Humanities is, “What can you do with that?”
What if we turn the question on its head and ask it the other way. I have a degree in the essence, the core of that which makes us who we are. What CAN’T I do with? I can do just about everything with it.