on humanism and environmental crisis

Archive for the ‘What will happen to the mankind’ Category

Humanists and Extrahumanists

 

         Let’s stop dividing people into theists and atheists. By referencing something, we automatically validate it, it is why the term “atheism” is self-destructing, as one describes oneself by the term denoting the absence of god while one does not believe god exists! For me the term “atheist” is meaningless.

        The term humanist is the best- better than naturalist, atheist, freethinker, etc.- it is species-specific, solid and logical. It should be an “umbrella” term, similarly like theists (or extrahumanists)  have their religions, cults, and sects.  Let’s talk about  humanists and extrahumanists.

          Humanists are the people who see the source of the goodness and morality inside the nature of human being. This nature was build for eons by evolution, later modified by culture and endless tapestry of the earth’s civilizations. It includes all the instincts and wisdom of our ancestors, the heroes, the kings and the prophets, down to everybody’s  dad and mom. Everybody contributed and now it is our time to carry on.

 

           Extrahumanists are the people who see the source of the morality and ethics in a message from an intelligence higher than humans, actually infinitely higher.  This source, they believe,  is beyond evolution created human mind, it is all powerful God or gods, or aliens, or Heavens, or just unknown Order or Force permeating all the Universe. By definition and by design, this intelligence, which is the source of scriptures and their moral messages, is beyond the capacity of the human brain to comprehend, so its nature and its reasoning are unknown; they are the subject of faith and speculations. Scriptures tell the faithful what to do, but they give very few details about the origins of the message, say why we should not work on Sunday, or Friday or Saturday (depending on the God). And, again according to the extrahumanists, humans should not even attempt to completely figure all this out, they would not be able to understand it. So the extrahumanists are assured (or assure themselves) that that higher intelligence will take care of them, and maybe even of us poor humanists. They will listen to the message of the Lord, act accordingly, and go to heaven. Naturally, historically and ethnically, different sources or deities suggest different things to do. No surprise. On the mythical and ethnic level, these suggestions may be locally and temporally quite beneficial for the faithful, but may be very unpopular for the rest of humanity. These mythologies and rituals, while often beautiful and sentimental, also tend to become, by and by, pretty ridiculous and embarrassing as the times change.

         It might appear that there is the attitude which do not fit either of the two groups. Some scientists and other materialists just refuse to engage into philosophy. They are out to discover the laws or the things in the world leaving the philosophical quibble to the lowly humanities. If pressed, they usually agree that they assume some order in nature. Obviously, we do not know, will never know everything, but what we know is built by the animal, and then human intelligence, therefore they are humanists by default.

 

          Defining somebody’s worldview by pointing to what he or she does not believe, does not make any sense.  As a humanist, I have plenty of ideas to explore, beliefs and doubts, but it is useless to discuss things which do not exist. So do not call me a-theist, as I am not calling you a-humanist. Like in the restaurant, it would be odd to concentrate discussion on the dishes we will not order, or are not even on the menu. Anyway, the content of the message is the most important, the ethics and the values, while the quibble about the source may be irrelevant. It seems that across all religions and spiritual systems, the more contemplative the training, the deeper the level, the more barriers fall away and all the messages become the same. Perhaps it is  because their origin is the core of the human nature.

           Exploring these messages, including mythology and wisdom of all religions and philosophies, examining the human nature with the human mind not only discovers the unifying goodness and beauty but creates it (ie, goodness & beauty) in the process. Like, searching for the meaning of life makes it meaningful, or, according to modern phenomenologists – “living is making sense”.

What we need to unlearn

What do we need to unlearn

By 2050 and maybe sooner the humans need to unlearn a few things:

  1. some people are yours and others are different kind
  2. if things are unfair you can try use force
  3. money makes you safer
  4. poor people are dangerous
  5. people of your kind make you safer, the more of them the better
  6. dying is always sad and bad
  7. conversation about quality of life is a taboo
  8. we are free to have any weapon we want
  9. we are free to teach children anything we want
  10. we are free to buy whatever we want
  11. the more you play the happier you are
  12. in danger you can always call your God and you feel better
  13. if an experience is deeply personal and moving you call it religious

and learn few things:

  1. how to share our worlds, what we know and what we have and what we do.
  2. how to teach children about families and learning
  3. how to create strong families
  4. that the friendship produces cooperation , but not other way around
  5. how to create strong friendships
  6. how to create democracies, local and global

If we are ok by 2050- think of this as a Houdini escape.

Early Hominids, Hunter-gatherers, I think they are the inventors of the friendship. This new type of the relationship was beyond the power structure of the wolves’ pack. It was a skill highly beneficial for the group’s well being, learned during the childhood and the adolescence, sinking in the genetic code during the last million years. The friendship is the kind of love which is non kinship related, non- sexual, and non- spiritual, but it rewards the participants with most of pleasures, the gratification and fulfilments of love . It is centered on the cooperation.

The cooperation make friendship fun and the friendship makes cooperation fun. We need a renaissance of the friendship- the only way out.

My friend and teacher, Dr. Guo thinks there is no crisis- the same circular history in 5000 year history of China.

It seems that 3 billions of people in Far East believe in the circular history, so there is no worry, 1 billion Muslim believe that they will conquer the rest, so there is no worry, 1 billion Westerners believe that, if the Disaster comes, they will survive because of money and technology, so there is no worry, others are weak and poor and few so their opinion does not count.

I think there is crisis. I think it was always there together with the solution.

Early hominids started proto-civilisation with the development of the complexity of the nervous system reflecting the complexity of the society, with the metaphors, language and technology.

It took many civilizations to grow and fold, many cultures to flourish, and die, involving more and more of the population and resources.

Kurt Johnson believes that in the core of the deepest mystical exploration all religions are the same. With his idea of the Interspirituality all boundaries will fall away : religions, nationalism, racism, maybe others? It is good that these guys, the enlightened mystics, the monks, the meditators are there, better few dozen than nobody, but what about the rest of us?

Also it is amazing and wonderful if to these guys , each appropriate god is saying the same thing. It is interesting from the neuroscience point of view. But for this revelation they still rely on the message from god. We are relieved that the message for them is “love, love, blah blah, no violence, compassion, etc”, but why, and for how long? We do not understand god, can not guess him, so anytime and anyplace,  maybe tomorrow , or to other guys he or she will say “what would Jesus bomb?”.

Turn on your TV and see if my idea is purely theoretical….

So the religions, by following and relying on the god’s message, are intrinsically toxic and evil.

All these wonderful, best people, my brother Piotrus, my late Mom, Andrew Harvey and Dalai Lama, they all build walls. They allow the bombing (God bless USA) and beheading (Allah Akbar), because- “we just do what our god tells us to do” and “ it is clearly written”, and “ we swear on the scriptures, we are right”. And we can not tell them, “you are wrong, you uncouth primitives”, because these wonderful people, together with Kurt Johnson, are saying exactly the same thing!

Our only chance is that the last million years have build-in the critical thinking, the reflective thinking and the ability to be friend, in our core nature ( the kinship and cooperation are in our genes, that’s for sure, the ants and E.O. Wilson confirm it ). Or, I am wrong, an optimist and utopian, one million years is pretty short time for the evolution and other “survival” traits of fear and greed and seeking power and mate are stronger….

And, frightening as it is, all these latter traits are the base for the development of spirituality and religions!