What are Arts and Humanities?

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Arts and humanities are considered as two of the oldest fields of knowledge available to man. The difference between the two is often seen with ambiguity. While art is seen as a more all-inclusive field, humanities, on the other hand, takes into consideration a diverse and oftentimes unrelated set of disciplines from literature to political history.

Though the definition of the term "art" is still being debated by scholars and art enthusiasts, a widely accepted meaning can be extracted when taking into consideration the similarities behind countless art forms available nowadays. Various schools teach it as the result of a process in which an individual assembles and organizes items in such a way that it provokes the emotions and wisdom of those who view it. It can also mean a number of things. While it can be considered as the finished product of the artist, art can still be referred to as the skill of crafting the artwork itself. Some school of thoughts even defines art as the feeling of arousal whenever a specific art is being viewed. It is already acknowledge that art can be one of the most controversial aspects of life due to its vague exactness. While the term is highly debated as of now, art is ironically found everywhere.

As long as humans can think freely and become affected by various objects surrounding them, there is no denying that art will never cease to exist. It is, in fact, present even during the prehistoric era, as evident by the cavemen drawings seen on the walls of the caves dating back to forty thousand years ago. In a more recent discovery, a set of small drilled snail shells have been discovered in a South African cave about seventy-five thousand years old-proof that art had existed longer than expected.

Art as a term dates back to the thirteenth century. From the Indo-European root "ar," which means to "assemble or join," it has since encompassed a number of forms such as literature, film, music, sculpture, painting, and, more recently, photography.

Humanities focus on the more man-centered disciplines compared to art. These are academic fields in which the human condition is prioritized rather than their works. Comprising the experiences of man seen in a more personal, cultural and social context, humanities emphasize a more analytical and critical method of study as opposed to art's emotionally-biased perspective. As mentioned, the disciplines can be as broad as possible. These include language, history, literature, religion, philosophy, theater, music, and even the various social sciences which include sociology, politics, technological studies, and much more.

The study of humanities dates back to Ancient Greece when its rulers made it basic education for all the citizens. Even the Romans have participated at one point or another when they included in their curriculum arithmetic, music, astronomy and logic, topics which, at the present, are considered disciplines of humanities. However, the views on these disciplines back then were more personal and routine. During the advent of the Renaissance period, these fields have been taken more seriously, turning them into subjects of study rather than practice. It is in this era where literature, painting and history were given the utmost importance.

Regardless of their rich history and achievements, the query still remains. What is arts and humanities? Despite that question which ominously hovers within the various academes around the world, there is no denying that such definitive mystery entails man's never-ending quests for intellectual improvement. Although two separate fields of study, art and humanities have long been a part of man's life whether one likes it or not.