My idea of humanism is that one considers quandaries from a global perspective. If I buy X, what impact does it have on the rest of the world, as opposed to the impact it has on just me.
Crucially important. In the past 30 years 500 million people in China have risen out of poverty, largely because of that purchase. Of course, your purchase was predicated on the fact that westerners were paid twenty times what workers in China earned. So we have a lot of change to adapt to.
For years, mankind has endeavored to better our everyday lives. Now, we’re facing the reprecussions of those generations of “improvements”. Global warming, peak oil, nuclear war, etc, are all issues directly resulting from our desire to make things easier and more comfortable. Our desire to be “better”, if you will.
Uh, the nuke thing. now we have to decide, as Humanists, if we should save money and not build any more mouments to Human failure, such as nuclear submarines and $200M fighter planes. Yet nobody in the press or politics in America is allowed to suggest that Pentagon spending be questioned. And we must never mention that there is no war and never has been for 35 years, in truth 65 years since the Japanese were defeated.
Do you feel that man has the ability to overcome our comfortable lives in favor of our continued existence? If you were faced with giving up electricity for 12 hours a day in order to help preserve fossil fuels, could you do it? Would you be willing to skip a meal a day so that no one had to go hungry? I think, individually, most of us would answer yes to those questions and truly believe it. Now, do you think enough people across the world would do so that it would make a difference? My faith in humanity isn’t strong enough that I can confidently answer that with a yes. Years and years of social conditioning has us believing that personal success is the most important thing one can strive for. Can humanity collectively overcome that conditioning, or are we hard-wired to fail?
We are hard-wired to consider such things only on full bellies. When you have kids who haven’t eaten today, your thought patterns change. As Johnny Cash once sang “Lord I’m no thief, but a man can go wrong when he’s busted.”
Hopefully, one of you can convince me I’m wrong, because it would be really gloomy if I turned out to be right.
Humanists can rescue the species if they can succeed in teaching the rest of us that we are one.