Humanism was a kind of movement (if we can say so, because the word “humanism” was created in 19th century) in the 14th century started by the Italian Scholar and poet Petrarch (1304-1374). He was inspired by letters of the Roman orator Cicero. Cicero proposed the term studium humanitas for his contemporary version of the Aristotelian Liberal Arts, the studies recommended from Aristotle to the parents for a better education to their children to grow a truly person. The Liberal Arts were composed of Trivium (Grammar, Rhetoric, and Dialectic) and Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music). It was not a great novelty the use of those studies; the novelty was the new use mainly of language and a new time for poetry. More than just get back the ancient texts, the humanists applied the critical analysis of those texts to build a new vision of old and new times. The called the middle Ages (the term middle Ages was coined later) “obscure” not by the ignorance, but mainly by the absence of poetry (new studies showed that mainly Enlightenment thinkers elaborated the bad stigma of middle ages). Looking to the way the language was used the humanists started a new way to see the world, the society and to see themselves.
By the pendulum of history, some kind of humanism comes back under certain conditions and circumstances. In current after-postmodern times we are living a “macro shift” and we do not know for sure where it all is leading to. This is a time for some “new humanism” related to these days. What could be the tools for a kind of humanism in times of cybernetics and space technology?
Again, by the pendulum of history, we could see the seventies of the 20th century as a forgotten decade, similar to the “clever side” of Middle Ages. Pop poetry and music of seventies could be better remembered and studied by “an after-postmodern reading”.
In that decade Jimmy Webb composed “Highwayman” after a dream he had about being someone else. An interpretation of the lyrics is about a bandit that is reborn in three other people: the last of all “a starship captain”. Maybe another way of understand is considering that kind of reborn as a “survival of humanity” through historical crisis. The starship captain could fit to the main character of the movie “Interstellar” and those emotional links leaded him to a specific space-time where he met humanity again…