My encounter with humanities

Wallace Bacon, a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Emerson College in 1975, wrote that the liberal arts, or humanities, “are concerned with the question of what makes life worth living. And that question concerns not simply oneself but others. The humanities must help us learn who we are; they must help us learn the otherness of others.” In this light, describe an encounter with someone or something different—an “other” which revealed to you your sense of self and your relationship to humanity. This encounter may involve a person, place, culture, or text (book, speech, film, play, etc.).


When I first got into film, I was bombarded with the classics, the “must-sees”, the cult films. I remember watching a Clockwork Orange for the first time and wondering how was it possible that I had missed this type of film for so long. The same happened with The Godfather, Oldboy, and many more. They were all foreign masterpieces, but I was beginning to notice that I wasn’t watching any Mexican movies.

I went to the theater one day and bought a ticket for the only Mexican film in the listings. I was very disappointed because I felt it was trying to mock an American film: the characters didn’t even seem Mexican except for the fact that they spoke Spanish. Here, a freelance mariachi musician lived in a very fancy apartment and could afford to send his daughter to private school, and I went home wondering why weren’t they any authentic Mexican films. After some googling, I discovered a film by Alejandro González Iñárritu called Amores perros.

The film is set in a real Mexico City, which is seen as no paradise, but neither as hell. It is just real. I saw a man take his dog to a fight out of necessity while at the same time a woman throws a tantrum over not being a model anymore. A man hitting his wife because “he loved her” while...

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