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The Meaning of Humanics - Dr. Edward J. Sims (c. 1982)

By Edward J. Sims


This document titled “The Meaning of Humanics” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Edward J. Sims on May 13, 1982. Sims begins his lecture by reading excerpts from different essays that were entered into an old-fashioned essay contest to encourage individuals to share their thoughts on the meaning of Humanics. He begins with two paragraphs from an essay by a Professor of Religion and Philosophy entitled: “Humanics: Reflections on a Concept.” This professor states, “Humanics is not a philosophy that can be handed down from one college generation to another. Each generation must rethink for itself what the meaning of the term will be. It is this active task of re-thinking which allows the philosophy of the College to become alive, rather than being a hand-me-down creedal burden from the past. Humanics also must be re-thought because society does not stand still. (Humanics)…is a philosophy for living in the world. In its simplest form it is people helping people in an intelligent, caring and effective way.” Some definitions of Humanics from the essays are written as poems: Humor Understanding Morality Altruism Neighborliness Integrity Compassion Service Sum Add up all the angles the sum is always 360 Unless you start with a triangle then two are needed. Spirit, Mind, Body, the sides of humanics. Why should you double the effort when a single shape contains everything. Begin with yourself, then find the end in yourself. It is the eternity of the circle. The focus of all points equidistant from the center, you. Others are just written as statements: “I see Humanics as a way of life. It is not just a four year fling, it is a program to follow always. I think that people with a grasp of Humanics; an appreciation of its aims, are in touch with themselves. That is what Humanics is all about. It is a matter of tuning yourself, of harmonizing your parts into a whole.” – Kate Killian ‘83 Sims then goes on to list the contest winners and the winning entries, and finally a conclusion of what Humanics means to him. He says, “Humanics is sitting down to write an essay about what I think the word humanics means to me.” He concludes with an interesting statement, “I believe Humanics is designed to help each person on this earth to feel at least like a "special speck" and then to assist others in achieving this feeling. If outer space aliens were to view our spinning planet and read the spirit of people served by a humanics philosophy, I would hope these asteroids would be prompted to say, "Stop the earth I want to get on.”Humanics is a word that has a special meaning in the history and philosophy of Springfield College, as well as in the college’s motto of “Spirit, Mind, and Body.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines Humanics as, “the subject or study of human affairs or relations, especially of the human element of a problem or situation as opposed to the mechanical.” In 1962, Dr. Glenn Olds, President of Springfield College at the time, began to wonder why this name was given to the intended philosophy of the college by Dr. Laurence Locke Doggett, Springfield College’s first full-time president. Olds acknowledged that the practices of the faculty were in large part consistent with the Humanics philosophy, but he believed that a more self-conscious application would improve chances of its continuity and survival. To ensure this, a Distinguished Professor of Humanics position was created at the college, first filled by Dr. Seth Arsenian from 1966-1969. The purpose of this position was to catalyze a renewal of consciousness in the philosophy. This was done by annually mandating the Distinguished Professor of Humanics to give a Humanics lecture on the definition of Humanics and what the concept means to them. Arsenian started this tradition in 1967 with his speech titled, “The Meaning of Humanics,” in which he described the concept as a set of ideas, values, and goals that make our college distinct from other colleges and make commitment and unity toward commonly sought goals possible

Topics: Humanics; Springfield College; Springfield College--Faculty; Springfield College--Alumni and alumnae;, Sims, Edward J.;
Publisher: Springfield College;
Year: 1982
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