Report from Humanities: Good and Evil, the Afterlife, and Jim Henson

Ryan Hiles

by Ryan Hiles

It’s a peculiar thing, watching young people animatedly and earnestly debating issues that have vexed the greatest thinkers in human history. Is there such a thing as true good or true evil? Is there concrete evidence to support the existence of an afterlife? Is the Jim Henson classic Labyrinth actually an epic film?

In just our first two days of class, the students in Humanities have dug into these dense, byzantine topics with a sophistication and appreciation for nuance that has left me unendingly impressed by each and every one of them. I’m genuinely excited to watch them continue interrogating these topics over the next three weeks, precisely because I can sense their own excitement.

In the coming days, we’ll be taking trips both to a monastery in Indiana and a Hindu temple in Nashville. We’ll also be making customized Egyptian canopic jars and working on stained glass art.

Students have also been assigned three individual art history/historical context presentations to prepare for the class in which they do deep dives and careful analysis of historically significant works of art, examining the social, religious, and philosophical context that surrounds each piece. The students will begin presenting these projects tomorrow.

If the first two days of class are any indication, I have no doubt that these projects will be as memorable and thought-provoking as anything Jim Henson could have created.

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