Sunday, October 9, 2011

"What is Humanism?" Intentions and Precautions


As “secular spirituality” is not a recognized or respected phrase, I would like to do some writing staking my claims in “humanism.” I will use two main sources for my thoughts on humanism: the third Humanist Manifesto and the word “humanism.”
As someone with a previously strong religious identity, I will be examining humanism insofar as it might “do the work” that my religion once did for me, including:
o   Inform an ethical/political/activist philosophy
§  My specific agenda will be to establish humanism as a firm and unambiguous foundation for some or all of the following: anti-oppression work (radical feminism, anti-racism, anti-capitalism, etc.), environmentalism, peaceful dialogue, and great-love compassion.
o   Gather people for sharing life, wisdom, and mutual support

Precautions (responding to my intentions in opposite order)

I get that “Humanism” is not a single thing, nor is its current popular iteration one that is intended for or will easily lend itself to replacing religion. “Humanism” is very likely too broad a term upon which to found a culture or specific political agendas.
(My intention in this regard is to explore its cultural possibilities and to claim it for specific political agendas.)
I know that there is much more writing on Humanism than the manifesto, and I know that many people do not base their concept of Humanism on the manifesto. Oh well—I like it. I am writing all of this as an amateur, and hope to convince you through my thoughts, not my scholarship.
As these posts are all initial investigations, I may or may not ever arrive at a robust concept of “humanism.” Expect anything that I write here to touch upon one or two aspects of humanism, but to be missing many other pieces of the picture—at least at first. For example, my first few posts focus solely on humanism as secularism, and of course there is more to humanism than just secularism.

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