For college students, the stigma of the jobless philosophy major is all too prevalent in American society. People view the study of literature as under-achieving and academically unchallenging. Too many people are told to pursue a medical degree or scientific bachelor’s because “that’s where the money is.” But what if we looked past the money that one degree or another entails?
Most of my life growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. Besides a few months in middle school when I thought acting was my calling (trust me, it isn’t), I wanted to go into the hard sciences. I thought that nothing else was worthy of my time. It wasn’t until high school that I began to critically evaluate whether or not I was actually cut out for medical school. In that evaluation, I found that instead of finding happiness in science, I loved to read and discuss books.
At first, it was hard for me to let go of the whole doctor thing. It had always been a possibility, and I had also been told that doctors are the one thing that society will always need: “No robot can replace a doctor.”
But on closer inspection, it seems like the truly irreplaceable jobs are those that are driven by human reason. The jobs that can’t be replaced by automation are those of writers, journalists and other artists. A computer can’t explain a complicated treatise of philosophy. It is singularly mankind and our reason that allows us to comprehend ideas and translate them into art.
Art and literature are gifts from God and cannot be replaced by a man-made machine. Before any written languages existed, there was art. The beauty of words supersedes every disaster and outlasts crisis after crisis. It is for this reason that literature is a part of my life. Literature teaches us the truths about ourselves that we can’t find any other way. We read and learn the intimate truths of life. We carry ourselves with the lessons that have been newly discovered in the pages of a book.
The ability to read and read well gives us insight into the very root of humanity. This is why I study literature. It isn’t because the sciences are out of my reach. It’s not because I am lazy or don’t want a “real” job. We should seek out books and their power over humanity despite our field of study.
Those of us who are not studying STEM subjects are no less productive members of society. In fact, it is often easier for us to understand society. The art of a culture reflects its values. We are able to delve into the center of what it means to be a part of society with all its intricacies. Then we can live out a better way to exist in such a society. Science is important, but art and literature are full of instructive beauty that influence us for the better. We should all study literature in one way or another.