This document titled “Human Nature and Human Affairs,” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics, H. H. Giles in 1971. In Giles’ lecture he begins by stating that he is new to Springfield College, and that he is going to speak of the Humanics ideal in general terms of study, theoretical concepts, and practice from his own experience and not from what the audience might prefer, a ‘thoro...
This document titled “Human Nature and Human Affairs,” is the Humanics Lecture that was given at Springfield College by Distinguished Professor of Humanics, H. H. Giles in 1971. In Giles’ lecture he begins by stating that he is new to Springfield College, and that he is going to speak of the Humanics ideal in general terms of study, theoretical concepts, and practice from his own experience and not from what the audience might prefer, a ‘thorough and systematic examination of Springfield itself.’ Giles gives his own preliminary statement about Human Nature, through formulation of certain premises about man. He states, “it has become more and more apparent to me, from experience as well as from the findings of the social sciences, that the nature of man is that of a creature whose potential is enormous, and very heavily determined by learnings and opportunities in the environment.” Giles believed that education fostered human development and geared students who were vitally aware and active for good human affairs. In the final of his discourse, Giles discusses ‘The Means Determine the Ends.’ He explains that to truly accept the goal of humanics as the fullest possible development of man in all his being and potential, then our task becomes that of finding the best ways to serve this purpose. 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. Giles began his career in education and community work in 1922 as an assistant football coach at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. He taught at several institutions including Eastern Illinois State College, University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, as well as more than 20 others. He was director of Community Education at West Georgia College from 1942-1944, and Director of the Education Division of the American Council on Race Relations for a brief time in 1944. In that same year he was made Director of the Bureau for Intercultural Education. In 1947 he founded and became first director of the Center for Human Relations Studies at New York University's School of Education where he later served as full professor and chief advisor of the graduate program in Human Development from 1957 to his retirement in 1971. Giles is the author of 5 books and more than 100 articles and book chapters. He was named Distinguished Consultant in Humanics at Springfield College in 1970-1971 and 1971-1972.