Why Anthropology?

The field of Anthropology is a discipline that I have immense passionate for and consider to be an extremely influential and valuable area. It is a field that will forever interest and educate humans about their origins and importance. I feel Anthropology is so significant and detrimental because of all it encompasses: linguistics, archaeology, biology, history, geology, and tracing human culture through the past events of our ancestors. What does this mean to me? Although broad, I feel Anthropology aims to answer one of life’s big questions: where did we come from? On top of this, there are just as intriguing questions we all want the answers to. By studying Anthropology, it may bring me, and all other humans, closer to the answers.

Understanding what it means to be human is important to me. If we did not attempt to understand our beginnings as a species, then I would have never experienced the moments of pure beauty, clarity and astonishment that I had began thinking how each living organism is related to another in some way. I would be a different person today without those moments of extreme realization; I’d be a different person without Anthropology. Understanding our species, as well as its connection to others, is important if we want to survive and effectively plan and aid future generations. By looking at patterns of human behavior it is possible to we can prepare for the times ahead.

The importance of Anthropology in my own life as being a guide to help answer some of the big questions life throws at each of us helps me form my beliefs of what this discipline can be and what it should be. Most importantly, I feel Anthropology should be a discipline that is more highly recognized for the abstract and brilliant thinking that is put into the theories. Instead Anthropological studies print their findings and this is taken as being entirely factual, when it is only drawing conclusions from the data provided. It is more connecting the obvious dots. However, I do like that it does this instead of just making up an answer that is entirely unrelated to the data. I feel that this is a big misconception from others who are not seasoned in the Anthropological community.

Next, I feel Anthropology should be an area of that is more talked about. I went into college wanting to major in something completely different, yet I took one Anthropology class as a freshman in college and was so intrigued because I had not learned anything similar before. The amount of information provided amazed me, because my teacher had touched on all the sub-disciplines within Anthropology. This is something I had always been interested in, but never really knew until I took this class. Therefore, I feel that Anthropology should be considered as a very important subject throughout school so kids can learn about it earlier on than I did. I have always been very eager to find out where humans came from because if we could piece the puzzle together enough, I feel it has world-changing potential.

I think Anthropology can, right now, just continue to work its way up within the scientific community as it has been doing since it was created. What I mean by this is to gain even more credibility, not that it hasn’t been credible in the past, but not nearly as much when compared to another discipline like Biology. However, with the use of using other disciplines within Anthropology, it has gained more recognition and is being taken more seriously because hypotheses and theories are now being supported ever more than in past years. Now, many more people are beginning to take the findings and theories presented within this discipline to heart and are beginning to understand why they should accept them as leading explanations for the phenomena they seek to answer.

I also think Anthropology is very capable of becoming a sense of comfort, especially for people like me who just want to understand the world around them. And this world is not only the we find ourselves in today, but it is an accumulation of past events. This I feel resembles how humans have become what they are today through the cultures (behaviors, beliefs, morals, etc.) of our past ancestors. Also, I believe Anthropology can be comforting to showing people the connections to all humans and all living things (at least for me, this part is the most comforting).

I believe Anthropology can best proceed to construct knowledge honestly by continue to do what it has been doing in the past in order to reach the level it has gotten to now. What I mean by this is that Anthropologists need to continue to use all the same methods for gathering and presenting data like living with other cultures and writing ethnographic reports. Keep up with old methods, because they seem to work. Why change something that is working? One very important is that Anthropology is a discipline that incorporates other tools and methods found in other disciplines to help construct knowledge. Examples of this would be using the scientific method as well as using new technological inventions to help support hypotheses and present data. This to me is key and therefore feel that Anthropology should continue to do this is future years.

Anthropology is very important because it fits in within the wider world, but I wish more people new just how it does. In my everyday life, I now think about the connections I have with other humans in terms of culture. It is good to ask questions regarding our species. How did things get to be how they are today? How is a culture of people related to the language they speak? When did people first migrate into the Americas and how?  By having more people ask questions like this everyday, we will undoubtedly advance as a species in our way of thinking, but in other ways too. If we realize how closely related we are as well, I think this could definitely tune down the violence in the world by making people more open-minded and caring.

The kind of Anthropology I envision is one that shares many different viewpoints, even if they are conflicting. This can show people that we really don’t know the answers to some things, but collectively as a species we can attempt to figure it out. I imagine this as a discipline that can help us understand people of today and imagine those in the future by studying our cultures of today and in past times. It is one that draws on many other disciplines to help support data as well as obtain data. Anthropology has a lot of room for growth because it is a newly popular discipline (at least more than it was in the past) I see it as a discipline that seeks to answer big questions, but is okay with the fact that we may not find the answers to.

 

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