This document titled “What it Really Is” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Paul U. Congdon in 1987. Congdon’s speech was introduced by Herb Zettl, History Professor, as well as first soccer coach at Springfield College, who served under Congdon for 18 years at the time this lecture was given. Congdon begins his speech by stating that he plans to discuss the past development...
This document titled “What it Really Is” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics Dr. Paul U. Congdon in 1987. Congdon’s speech was introduced by Herb Zettl, History Professor, as well as first soccer coach at Springfield College, who served under Congdon for 18 years at the time this lecture was given. Congdon begins his speech by stating that he plans to discuss the past development of Humanics at Springfield College, identify the current sources of various elements of Humanics in practice, and a prospect of what Humanics will be through the year 2000. Congdon uses Dr. Theodore Brameld’s four categories or schools of educational thought from his book, Patterns of Educational Philosophy (Brameld, 1971) to help further define Humanics. Congdon defines the word “Perennialism” as the view that things seem to change on a superficial level but that the rhythm of the universive, human nature, and the rise and fall of institutions are about the same, basically, throughout the centuries. He states that when Springfield College was the School for Christian Workers there was a Perrenialist emphasis in the philosophy of the school. He goes on to say that Humanics at the current time in 1987 does not contain elements consciously chosen from a Perennialist orientation. Next Congdon discusses “Essentialism,” which is based on the concept that life is fundamentally the same from generation to generation that education, if it really is education, is characterized by certain essentials. Congdon says Humanics borrows from Essentialism in that we have All College Requirements in which we consider it essential to educate students as whole persons, spirit, mind, and body. The third category is “Progressivism,” which is based off of the ideology that the practical intelligence of man is based off of what is real, what is valuable, and what is knowledge. Therefore, education should provide the development of the fullest potential of each individual. Congdon believes that Humanics draws the most from this category. The last category is “Reconstructionism,” or a better society created by humans based on social self-realization vs. individual self-realization. Congdon summarizes that an oversimplified version of Humanics is that it is largely Progressivist in its methodology and Reconstructionist in its goals. He says that in order to narrow the gap between methodology and goals, we need to augment our attempts to provide for the self-realization of individual students by more heavily stressing social self-realization. Congdon ends his lecture by projecting Humanics at Springfield to the year 2000. He borrows a ven-diagram logo from a well-known brewery and turns it into what he calls the Ballantine Paradigm. In this diagram, Humanics is in the center of the ven-diagram (Common Humanics Core) and spirit, mind, and body make up the three circles. Congdon has a few other ven-diagrams that serve a similar purpose. Congdon states that by 2000 we will have worked out a way to be the best of all possible neighbors in our immediate community, giving and getting the optimum in mutual learning and commonweal as the best possible base for national, regional, and international outreach. 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.