ERIC Number: ED216389
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Humanities "Behind the Walls."
Schell, John F.
A multimillionaire responsible for several felonies stated recently that humanism is one of the leading causes of crime in the United States. A college English instructor tested the validity of the connection between humanism and deteriorating values, on a limited and informal basis, while conducting in a men's prison a series of weekly programs designed to spark discussion about basic human values. The teacher observed a group of 30 convicts, fairly representative of the prison population. It quickly became apparent that these men were not led by humanism to commit the crimes for which they were being punished, and that they had a total disregard for what would be considered elementary humanistic principles. As shown by their responses to a lecture by a Unitarian minister, the film "Future Shock", and a film on prejudice, the men had not chosen to ignore these principles nor had they rejected them outright. They were, instead, ignorant of humanistic values, having never been introduced to them. They lacked self-awareness as well as an awareness of other people, and failed to consider the consequences of their ideas. A continuing dialogue between humanists and prisoners can only help both groups as the former demonstrate the positive effect of humanistic principles upon the lives of prisoners, and the prisoners teach humanists about the incredible resilience of the human spirit. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Self Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (12th, Cherry Hill, NJ, April 2-4, 1981).