The worth of the humanities

This is a splendid passage:

The scientific ideals of objectivity and specialization have now crept into the humanities and made themselves at home. This has happened, I think, because the humanities have come to be infected with a suspicion of their uselessness or worthlessness in the face of the provability or workability or profitability of the applied science. The conviction is now widespread, for instance, that “a work of art” has no purpose but to be itself. Or if it allowed that a poem, for instance, has a meaning, then it is a meaning peculiar to its author, its time, or it’s convention. A poem, in short, is a relic as soon as it is composed; it can be taught, but it cannot teach. The issue of its truth and pertinence is not raised because literary study is conducted with about the same anxiety for “control” as is scientific study.

-Wendell Berry, What are people for?, p.117

Yes, yes, yes. I can’t agree more. Especially with the sentence I highlighted.