I was wondering if I qualify as being a humanist, but I can’t quite bring myself to accept the term. It occurred to me that I have more intelligent conversations with my dog than with the average human – so it would seem wrong to limit myself to “humanism” and it might insult and exclude my dog.
I strongly suspect that there are many forms of life on Earth that are considerably more intelligent than the average human – it’s just that we are not intelligent enough to recognise it. Leave an unarmed human being against most animals in the wild and the human will lose. Even finding a good definition of “intelligence” is next to impossible. Dogs see the world in terms of sounds and smells. They excel in those departments and can bite, run, endure cold, digest meat rapidly and do all sorts of amazing things that we can’t do. At the same time they can love unconditionally and be affectionate without asking for anything in return – which are qualities seriously lacking in most humans. Sure dogs can’t count very well, but can you find truffles?
Being a “doggonist” would also be too limiting because there is such varied life out there. Whales manage to navigate around the entire planet apparently using sonar – displaying extra-human intelligence also. Their bodies are put together to withstand phenomenal natural conditions in the deep oceans and polar circles.
The separation of body and mind is an artificial construct so as to be able to study the body scientifically without interference from religion centuries ago. Intelligence is build into the bodies of all animals – stunning intelligence like how to navigate to the exact tiny stream where you were born many years ago on the other side of the Atlantic.
I’m just not sure that it is adequate to be a “humanist”. Let’s face it, we started off as bacteria that got together and evolved collectively. At what point did we become “human”? Hopefully we will continue to evolve into something very much better than what we see today. So why on Earth be “humanist”?
Perhaps the answer is to be a “lifeist”. Let’s face it we share 98% of our DNA with pigs so let’s not get too snobby about that 2%.