Metaphorical Reparations

Evan Williams, Humor Editor

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As far back as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to the humanities. What does this mean? Well, it means that I oft use “one” as a pronoun in my writing.

Beyond that though, it means that I have strong opinions, mostly about STEM. Believe it or not, I haven’t brought my vitriolic invectives with which to lampoon the STEM community for trivialities like obsessing over ultimately unfulfilling matters. No, today I am simply here to share something beautiful. This is a day for rejoicing in the hope of bridging a gap unbridgeable by physical means. Today, the STEM Colony and the Humanities Commune have taken a step towards reunion.

Two days ago, I was sitting for a math test. I say “math” only because that’s as specific as I can be—you see, I haven’t the slightest clue what kind of math it was. After scanning the page a few times, I realized that I didn’t know how to solve any of the problems given. What I did know is that on the page there were a few numbers, a few mathematical symbols, and some letters—and that’s when it hit me—there were letters! Letters! By god, the test was speaking to me! It was a revelatory moment. Before my eyes, math was speaking to me of its sin(s) and the cos(t) of various choices (presumably the cost of tangential thoughts during class). It was as if all of STEM was grabbing me by the collar and saying:

“Listen! We’re sorry for the grief we’ve caused you. Can you forgive us? Forgive us for every migraine we’ve caused, for every problem set that’s kept you up, for every single time we destroyed the notion that the world is unpredictable. We know that we killed magic, that because of us, you can’t ever again look to the stars and truly believe that you’re seeing the souls of every child not yet born; believe us please; we know that we stole your astrological sign, but if you just give us a chance, we can change.”

I was touched. I was reminded that in a world filled with vampires desperate to suck the serendipity out of the lives around them with things like equations for happiness, there may be hope left after all. It is in the spirit of reconciliation that I share what follows.

On behalf of the Humanities Commune, I offer a list of conditions for peaceful coexistence with the STEM Colony:

  1. A formal admission that the humanities are a worthwhile academic pursuit.
  2. Leave the numbers at the door and explain in clear terms the latest scientific findings. We’re interested; we just can’t interpret graphs all that well.
  3. Let us keep, at a minimum, three superstitions of our choosing.
  5. Get Hollywood to cut it out with physical follies in their movies. Even we know space is a vacuum, and therefore explosions are silent out there.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you. Please take these words to heart, STEM folks. I value you (in an emotional and non-quantifiable sense of course, because I can’t measure out my love anyway). Now is the moment I realize this is going to have to be translated into binary to reach the STEM masses. Well, can’t say I didn’t try.

Metaphorical Reparations