Commonplace Book #58

The profit motive suggests to many concerned leaders that science and technology are of crucial importance for the future health of their nations.  We should have no objection to good scientific and technical education, and I shall not suggest that nations should stop trying to improve in this regard.  My concern is that other abilities, equally crucial, are at risk of getting lost in the competitive flurry, abilities crucial to the health of any democracy internally, and to the creation of a decent world culture capable of constructively addressing the world’s most pressing problems.

These abilities are associated with the humanities and the arts: the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as a “citizen of the world “; and, finally, the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicament of another person.

Martha Nussbaum, Not for Profit, Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, 7.