Essay Example on Exploring Humanity: Unraveling Past & Present

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1796 Words
Date:  2023-02-09


Humanities are scholarly disciplines that attempt to recognize and interpret the experiences of humans. The discipline scales from individuals into entire cultures, engaging in the discovery, preservation, and communication of the present and past to allow a comprehensive understanding of contemporary society. In other contexts, humanities encompass classics, literature, ancient and modern languages, performing arts, and other related subjects. The humanities and arts are about understanding ourselves as creative, artistic, and imaginative human beings. Today, according to Epstein (2012), humanities have a significant impact on human life as they intensify the ability to understand the cultural realm. Moreover, Fiero (2012), provides that the landmarks in humanities are designed to aid students of cultural history, history of arts, and humanities to understand and appreciate the significance of historical works and ideas in their lives. However, this paper will address and identify a list of twenty significant developments from a variety of historical eras, describe the forms of expressions that instantiate the arts and humanities, and access the influence of past expressions. Also, it will explain how humanities and arts affect daily human life and access the role of religious, philosophical, and aesthetic values in everyday life.

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Past Significant Cultural Developments

Humanities and art have significantly influenced cultural developments. The cultural history comprises of four major development periods, namely; the Classical Era, Medieval Era, Renaissance, and the Modern Era. The list of twenty significant developments from the various historical eras include:

  • The Classical Era - Visual Arts, Sculpture, The Rule of Law, Religion, And Public Spaces.
  • The Medieval Era - Rituals, Revelation, Covenants or Testaments, Christianity, And the Cooperation Between Church and State.
  • The Renaissance - Hamlet, Shakespeare, The Culture of The Mayans, Mozart, And Beethoven.
  • The Modern Era - Capitalism, Isaac Newton, Pop Art, Skyscrapers, And Impressionism.

The Classical Era

The Classical era was a period marked by the classical music between 1730 and 1820 between the Baroque and the Romantic periods. The era ended before the death of Beethoven since he was the one that ended it (Buechler, 2016).

Visual Arts

Visual arts involve different forms of art, such as drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, design, architecture, filmmaking, ceramics, and photography. During the Stone Age Period, the Neolithic and Mesolithic arts were amongst the first forms of visual arts. Visual arts have undergone different developments to achieve the form it has achieved in the modern society. Some of the visual arts visible today include the Pyramids of Egypt. Individually, I feel the desire to use visual arts in expressing my thoughts and emotions.


The classical era saw the spread of the world's major religions. During the period, Buddhism and Christianity spread and Islam emerged as a new religion. In the beginning, few religions underwent significant development with the developing of different sectors. However, with the fall and decline of the classical period and civilization, the most significant world religions became the defining characteristics of civilization and culture. The religion spheres of influence and penetration are the boundaries on the new world map. Today, religion has shaped different aspects of the society within humanity and society, especially with issues such as prejudice.


During the early classical period, sculpture has been found to represent the style of relief and other pedimental occurrences. The sculptures have made it possible to capture human history more realistically today. Correctly, sculptures have been used to show significant historical figures.

The Rule of Law

The rule of law is a classical principle of administrative law in that it was is among the principles acting as impediment development of Administrative Law principles. As the Romans developed the tradition of written laws to administer citizens, it has transpired into the modern era. In modern times, the rule of law is guided by three postulates in that everyone is equal before the law, sanctions have to be backed by law, and courts have the ultimate supremacy. Majorly, the purpose of the rule of law is to maintain that there is fairness in society by promoting orderliness in society.

Public Spaces

During the Classical period, the public spaces were designed to meet the different preferences of the people. However, the spaces are meant and designed to change. In the modern setting, there are outdoor public spaces such as the central park in New York that people occupy every day.

The Medieval Era

Within the European history, the Medieval Period includes the period between the fall of the Roman Empire and the beginning of the Renaissance.


According to Cantor (2015), one of the primary themes of the Medieval period is the interaction between philosophy and theology (revelation and reason). Gauging from the development that humans are religious and are influenced by different aspects of reason, revelation has influenced them. Through different stories and revelations in the religion, they instil the belief that there is higher being controlling human life.


During the Medieval period, a ritual is understood predominantly as one of the primary modes of communication. In different religions, the rituals are meant to ensure constant belief in religion or cultural practice. For example, different religions practice the rituals of baptism in the modern era, which is supposed to bring believers together.

The Cooperation between Church and State

The state and church in the medieval period in Europe are defined by the relationship amid the Catholic Church and the different monarchies and other European states. It occurred between the end of the Roman ruling in the West in the 15th century and the beginning of the reformation within the early 16th century. This pattern involving the relationship between the church and the state continues to date where there is a significant focus on how the relationship impacts governance.


Within the Medieval period, Christianity dominated the lives of people as the church became dominant in Europe following the fall and decline of the Roman Empire. Today, Christianity has been amongst the largest religions in the world. Christianity is founded on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and other early apostles. Christianity has had significant influences on the lives of many people since one has to learn the different teachings of Jesus Christ and other foundation of the religion. The different foundations have played a significant role in understanding and living the modern life.

Covenants or Testaments

Covenants include a relationship based upon mutual commitments. In every covenant, it typically involves obligations, promises and rituals. In the past, the word covenant has included the relationship between the Jews and God. However, in the modern setting, the same definition has been adopted but has included other practices, particularly with new dimensions of religion. For example, through prayer, I have made many covenants as an act of embracing revelation. Another example of a covenant is baptism which includes making a testament with God to abandon the wicked ways of life.

The Renaissance

Following the Middle Ages, the Renaissance covering the period between the 14th and 17th century marked a period that promoted the rediscovery of the classical philosophy, art, and literature.


Shakespeare invented a unique version of the English version of the Renaissance as he was a playwright and a notable poet. Through his works, he engaged both emotions and thoughts of the reader by triggering deep thinking. Shakespeare's works have shown real-life interactions in society with plays such as Macbeth. These past expressions influence the modern-day life whereby the readers have been mostly in the classroom setting. For example, I remember reading various stories by Shakespeare in my college education. The stories played a vital role in triggering deep thinking and teaching tough life lessons.


Hamlet is identified as a renaissance due to his distinct fundamental approach to the world compared to other medieval characters of the Laertes and Fortinbras. Based on Hamlet's renaissance perception of his world, it develops him both as an Elizabethan-era nihilist and humanist. As Shakespeare wrote Hamlet towards the end of the Renaissance, it reflects the ideals of the period in the titular characters. Through the different details of the play with themes and characters such as Gertrude, the experiences have transpired into the modern-day life. For example, in my life, I have encountered dilemma and difficult decisions, just like Hamlet in this play.


Beethoven, born in Bonn, Germany, is considered amongst the greatest composers of all time. Through his compositions, they broke barriers that brought about the romantic era in classical music. His symphonies are considered to be an essential pillar in Western civilization. Today, classical songs have influenced the romantic elements evidenced by the large followership of people fancying classical romantic music.

The Culture of the Mayans

From the renaissance period, the culture of the Mayans is characterized by the most sophisticated and highly developed writing system and the involvement of its architecture, art, and calendar. The Mayans are still living decades behind the modern era despite having a progressive past. With the involvement of past practices, the culture of the Mayans is evident as people interact with architecture and other arts.


Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria, was a musician capable of playing instruments at the age of 6. Mozart aligned himself with various European patrons and venues and composed a collection of works including symphonies, concertos and operas, and chamber music. Through such works, they were marked by sophisticated textures and vivid emotions which have influenced the modern-day life. For example, as a child, I used to listen to my grandfather talk about operas which are still listened to date.

The Modern Era

The emergence and evolution of modern era science since the 17th century has resulted in different breakthroughs in the human condition. The modern era, also defined as the enlightenment period, spans through the time of modern history.


The universalization of money-based social relations marks capitalism during the modern era. Through different actions, capitalism led to the creation of free markets which has equally influenced today's commercial setup. For instance, the new era of the stock market and financial capitalism is one of the milestones that capitalism has influenced in modern-day life.


In the 19th century, impressionism was characterized by relatively thin brush strokes and open composition that emphasized on the accurate depiction of light in changing qualities. Within this movement, it focused on the immediacy of an individual's experience. Significant examples of impressionism include Dance Class by Edgar Degas and other works. In the modern setting, I have encountered different impressionist paintings that depict the different ways one could perceive things.


The use of steel in construction has made it possible to construct buildings marked from the history of architecture. In the modern setting, construction technology has evolved with time, leading to the creation of skyscrapers such as the Twin Towers. Skyscrapers have marked a significant development to the community both economically and soci...

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