Humanities versus SOM

During my Postmodernity class, my teacher was talking about Habermas and his paper on the system and the lifeworld. At the risk of boring you a little with a short discussion, lifeworld, according the the overcomplicated world of Habermas, is the way we live our everyday lives. For the modern man, System is specialization and structurization. 

The System could affect the lifeworld drastically since it mechanize our entire lives. Yes, I know. This is complicated. Our teacher nearly ripped her hair out trying to teach us something she herself could barely grasp. Kudos to Ms. De Pano, we finally got it today, or at least the gist. 

For example, writing. Writing used to be free flowing but the emergence of the rules and style guides limits it in a way, making it mechanical, technical. In the same way, Lifeworld could affect the System if the former would allow the latter to totalize it. It’s still complicated. I think I understand Ms. De Pano when she said she had the ideas stuck on her head but it was hard to get out without being complicated herself. 

Maybe Habermas wasn’t meant to be fully comprehended. 😐

Anyway, as I was doodling/half-listening, the discussion suddenly veered towards humanities and management. Apparently, some affected Lit major said that the concepts of System and Lifeworld were applicable to the two disciplines. He said something about how the structurization has led to humanities being belittled by the business courses. I really don’t get how it applied (I think I was on the doodling side) but it became an interesting topic for debate. Our class was composed on Lit Majors and Management Majors who were planning to take law. My friend and I, the two lonely people from the Social Sciences just cowered in the back, imagining arguments in our heads. I think it had something to do with de-humanization, because in management, everything was just oriented towards business, math, and money.

It’s only third world, okay, developing, countries where this happens. In the U.S., if you’re taking a business major, you’re not very impressive at all. It’s only here where you see people salaaming over the floors that management people walk on, where humanities (or poor courses) are snickered at.  I’m not going to pretend I’m knowledgeable about economics. I did get an A but everything flew out of my head after that semester.

The Philippines, as a “developing” country, has a backwards economy. Instead of starting out as agricultural, it focuses more on the services sector because it has more instant gratifications. Instant cash. This is my own little understanding of why people in the third world opt to take fast-earning occupations. 

But what about the two of us from the Social Sciences? We’ve had our own share of taunts. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “Comm lang yan” even from my family. They still believe that I will be shot one day while reporting in Mindanao.

There was a time, someone was commenting that he had a hard semester. I was like, yeah me too, it was hell. An outsider exclaimed that I was comm, the other guy was management. Sasha makes a face. So? What is that supposed to mean? Comm is less than management? I don’t think so.

While we may not have maths and numbers and spreadsheets, our grades rely on our teachers tastes. If our style doesn’t cut it, there’s no saying what our grade is. Okay, maybe our projects are more “fun” whatever that means, it doesn’t make them easier. 

It’s not the maths that make things difficult, it’s the person because in college (unless you’re in a real sad universe where your parents decided your course for you), you play to your strengths. While I admit to getting irritated with condescending comments, I’m happy being “merely” in the Social Sciences.


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