From Science to Philosophy
The humanities are the sciences concerned with man and various aspects and approaches related to him – that is why it is not limited to a particular field of science. Every science studies man from a certain point of view. Politics, for instance, involves the study of "man from the point of view of his management of social life in order to achieve the most desired goals," or economics concerns man from the viewpoint of his material life management and adjustment.
The humanities can be categorized into seven groups "according to their various aspects in relation to the central point of the study of man – the human character:"
1-The humanities that concern man's natural life, like biology, physiology, pathology, and man's relationship with his surroundings.
2-The humanities that relate to history, such as the natural history of man, the political history of man, etc.
3-The humanities related to economics, like work and its values, production and distribution, economic development, etc.
4-Those that are related to man's social life, like sociology, anthropology, management, politics, law, etc.
5-The humanities that pertain to man's evolutional "propers," like culture, civilizations, literature, aesthetics, art, etc.
6-The humanities that concern man's mental potentials and activities, like psychology, psychiatry and identifying faculties such as the memory, imagination, will, choice, genius and discovery.
7-The humanities that are related to values or virtues of individual or social evolution, like morals, religion and positive mysticism.
The above seven forms of the humanities should move on the path that can take the human character – the "self" – to perfection. The human character and its needs and potentials should always be the main factor in the humanities. Alas, it is not so nowadays, and the humanities have fallen into merely considering phenomena; they study the effects – human behaviors – instead of the real truth. Today's humanities are obsessed with statistics instead of scientifically accurate discussions. Ignoring the human "self" and its pivotal role in human life has led to these effects:
a)Important phenomena in man – like emotions, thought, intelligence, and will – have been studied without taking into consideration the influence of the "self" in managing them. Due to the neglect toward the human "self," some scholars of the humanities have even come to ignore issues like thought, intelligence, imagination, will and freedom of choice, and only study their resulting behaviors.
b)Some great values that are innately planted inside man have been ignored, like religion, morals and mysticism. Thus, ignorance toward the "self" has caused little attention to be paid for it to flourish, which is brought about by moral values and the sense of duty; the final goal of the "self," being attracted by divinity, has been forgotten.
c)Misinterpretation of free will – flourishing freedom on the path to development and perfection – is a result of studying free will without considering the "self's" dominance over the positive and negative poles. Ignoring the "self" leads to misinterpretations of free will, and also other effects like nihilism and alienation. In other words, man's advances in providing his own luxury, he will feel totally void. Ignoring the "self" arises from two factors: one is hedonism and selfishness, and the other is various thoughts and beliefs, among which the following are the ones that have caused the major deviations in the humanities:
1-Extreme naturalism: Man has never been moderate in his mental endeavors. Intellectuals both past and present have damaged evolutional flow of science. Due to their extreme naturalism, scientists and intellectuals have focused on analyzing physical phenomena and issues that are measurable, and pay little attention to the essence of life and the human "self."
2-The theory of the evolution of kinds, presented by scientists like Darwin, and Lemark which brought great harm to the greatness and sacred value of the human "self."
3-The theory of the originality of power, supported by intellectuals like Nietzsche. Although power is the primary condition for man's intelligible life in both domains of individual and social life, it must be the power with which each person respects the right for others to live too, not enslave them to his own advantage. People like Nietzsche have in fact interpreted themselves, not power and its usage. Do these supporters of the essence of power mean to describe that up to now it has been the powerful who have controlled life, or are they commanding the powerful to do so? They cannot be claiming to be describing the truth, for ignoring all the humanitarian deeds, the sacrifices human beings have made for each other, the resistances they have shown against atrocities and their struggle for freedom throughout history would mean ignoring the whole of history altogether! Thus, we must say that these supporters in fact express their own internal ideals and wishes, not a real historic trend.
4-Freud's extremist theory concerning the sexual instinct also degraded the value of the human "self" and human moral virtues. Some of Freud's theories on various forms of sleep and his classifications of man's conscious (consciousness and unconsciousness) are considerably useful, but his negative approach toward man's qualities and mental greatness and also his misinterpretation of morals and religion deserve criticism; these theories caused a great deal of confusion and misjudgment among the simpleminded.
In brief, the humanities should move on the path of correctly interpreting the "self," and also respond to these six questions:
a) Who am I? b) Where have I come from? c) Where have I come to? d) Who am I with? e) Why have I come here? f) Where do I go from here?