The doubling of the earth’s human population in the four decades between 1960 and 2000, from three to six billion, a population now on its inexorable way to an expected ten billion by 2050, is the proximate cause of the cataclysmic environmental changes that are upon us and which have marginalized geopolitical maneuverings, nationalistic grandstanding, the violence of ethnic and religious division and even personal tragedy. Our futures have been mortgaged to the unprecedented scalar transformation of our inhabitation. Our humanity – the very nature of our humanness is in question: Can we reasonably continue to celebrate it?
A significant nexus of an unquestioning celebration of our humanity is occurring throughout the land in the nation’s liberal arts colleges. I recently attended the ceremony for Tulane’s graduating class at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The student our family was honoring had majored in Music with a minor in Philosophy from Tulane’s School of Liberal Arts. The castle like stage-set (a recreation of the University’s signature Gibson Hall, that dates from 1894, built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and named for a Confederate General) formed the backdrop for the ceremony located somewhere in center field. We sat in the stands close to the twenty-yard line. On the dais were arrayed banners representing the schools within the University. A local jazz band kicked off proceedings….