Human Commonalities

Read a few of Ernest Boyer’s speeches and you will begin to notice certain themes.  It doesn’t seem to matter what specific topic Boyer was asked to speak on or write about – a few “Boyerisms” always seemed to slip through.  One thing I’ve learned since I began working in The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives two years ago, is that Boyer liked making lists.  Like, a lot.  Many of his speeches are riddled with sequences and lists.  Perhaps he did this for his own organizational purposes?  Perhaps he learned it made for clean media sound-bites?  Or, perhaps he just had a thing for lists?  If so, I can relate, I have a thing for them too.

One of Boyer’s favorite list to incorporate in his speaking engagements was the eight things all humans on this earth have in common.  No matter what nationality, tribe, or culture we associate with, we can all relate to these eight universal experiences.

1.) The Life Cycle (all humans experience birth, growth, and death)

2.) Language (all humans use symbols to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions)

3.) The Arts (various art forms serve as a universal language)

4.) History (all humans, at some point, recall the past and look to the future)

5.) Groups/Institutions (all humans belong in some way)

6.) Work (all humans make a living in some way)

7.) Search for Meaning (all humans, in their own personal way, ponder the larger purpose of life)

8.) The Natural World (all humans are connected to the ecology of the earth)

Read more in “The Human Commanilities: Multiculturalism and Community in Higher Education.”

The photo above is a word cloud created from Boyer’s speech “The Human Commonalities.”