The sad truth concerning most graduate study was the sheer limitedness, narrowness that comprises most disciplines, this is especially damaging for the humanities where a synoptic approach is most adequately required. The arts have been displaced from their primacy since Sputnik! Their retrieval was to abandon their classical holistic approach in favor of an alienated positivism from the sciences. Just witness the ridiculous parody of literary theory! A pure theoretical approach has no place in the hierarchies of the humanities. Confusion dominated curriculum and general university life throughout the 1990’s that most graduate studies reflected an arcane hermeticism or such pedantic specialism that disciplines within the humanities lost any resemblance of coherence. The vast majority of graduate students within the humanities, especially literature, felt betrayed upon entering a vocation after graduation. Just witness the abject decline in university giving campaigns, only the hard sciences pull in the needed academic gifts. Sputnik alone cannot be responsible? What gives?
The sad truth is that most academics are peddlers who illustrate rather than correct the ideas of the communities within which they work and live. The late great Peter Drucker has elaborated on the belated demise of such institutional idiocy. Stalin called his earnest supporters ‘useless idiots’, Dr. Drucker continues to admonish institutions that fail to inculcate an intellectually coherent rigor necessary to sustain innovation in our present economy.
With the arrival of September 11, entire departments and institutions were upended in their pathos to discover the field of intelligibility that provoked the sons of Ishmael. Only the most ardent professors within Islam itself provided traction to gauge this field. Dr. Foaud Ajami of The John’s Hopkins University, Dr. Bernard Lewis of Princeton, Dr. Hernando de Soto from the Institute of Liberty and Democracy in Washington, D.C., and Saad Eddin Ibrahim (pronounced Say-Id, Edin, E-brah-heem) from the Ibn Kaldun (pronounced Ib-Cal-dun) institute for Democracy in Egypt gave startling insight that permanently eradicated the paradigm that displaced the humanities since the origins of the Cold War.
Only great independent thinkers recognized the brilliance that was the synoptic, holistic approach that began under Thucydides (pronounced Thu-cid-did-ease) culminating with British Universities (Gilbert Murray, Raymond Aron, Winston Churchill, Alfred John Mackinder) that put emphasis on teaching and the explication of rigor interdisciplinary.
What did the ancient Greeks study that was so duly cultivated in Great Britain that we displaced?
The firm belief that environment influences the human person! We ignored the nuptial (reciprocal) dimensions that are casual correlates that inform, shape the human person. We embraced the view of the human person (an anthropology) primarily from the French and German Enlightenment that espoused thinking in isolation. This bred entire disciplines and birth of insurmountable formal institutions dedicated to studying objects in isolation.
The West was saved by its ability to maintain both superior strategic reserve in culture, for we accepted the demands that autonomy gave efficiency and tactical superiority in mechanized techniques. All this was insufficient with the intellectual demise of Marxism, the attendant embrace of capitalism culminating in Islam’s contorted paralysis in dealing with modernity.
This interdisciplinary synoptic approach had its origin with the ancient Greek Hippocrates. He espoused the insight that differences in geographic habitat, soil and climate had distinct correlates in both politics and personality development.
His ‘Influences Of Atmosphere, Water & Situation’ (chapters 13 and 24) is the original tome for discovering the range of such correlates. For those who wish to study this holistic approach further try Lucian Pye ‘Politics, Personality, Child Rearing & Nation Building’, Jared Diamond’s introduction to ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’, Winston Churchill ‘River War’, Alfred John Mackinder’s article titled ‘Pivot Of History’, and Noga Arika ‘Passions & Tempers: A History of Humours’. All take their approach from Hippocrates insight that geography influences not only the development of the human physique, but character, politics, institutions, and personality development.