Where is the discussion on Humanism?
Posted: 11 February 2011 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,

I’ve been listening to PoI for a while, and it’s one of the most stimulating activities I know of.

What strikes me, though, is the lack of discussion on Humanism (or Secular Humanism, if you will). I would really like to hear discussion of the alternative philosophies that can take us forward: it is one thing to appreciate where we have come from and where we are and why we are where we are, but I want some affirmation of my beliefs on what we can do better and how.

As just one minor example, there has been mention, in passing, of the community aspects of the traditional religions. Any ideas on how we can fill that gap?

There are a myriad of other topics to discuss in this area such as how ethics should be agreed in society and how we can lead fulfilling lives without religions dogma. These topics and many more are suggested by luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, but I’m not suggesting they are interviewed. What I am suggesting is a topic list lead by the sorts of issues they tend to raise but rarely answer in a pragmatic way.

Personally, I would like to advance the thinking on the futility of our current consumerist and material culture, look to the lessons we can learn to those with much less who are more fulfilled, and see where we could get to in a modern and first world context. I think answers to many of the vexing questions of our time could be provided by technology combined with a fundamental resetting of our modus operandi.

Cheers,
The Captn.

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Posted: 11 February 2011 06:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Daniel Dennett addresses this very question here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5tGpMcFF7U

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Posted: 11 February 2011 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That’s a great video, and it’s a good start (although I didn’t like the lyrics to the alternate gospel song).

So, let’s get Daniel Dennet, or someone like him, onto PoI!

But it is just the start of the conversation. Let’s take it to the next level. Let’s go out and buy old churches, and start something that means something.

And the video did not address some of the other topics I raised.

Cheers,
The Captn.

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Posted: 11 February 2011 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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captnbli - 11 February 2011 08:25 AM

Let’s take it to the next level.

No, let’s not. I won’t let you.  grin I have no desire to learn anything from “those with much less who are more fulfilled.” I already had to leave a country once before because of similar philosophy (communism) and I have no interest to repeat it.

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Posted: 13 February 2011 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I don’t think those in (ex-)communist countries meet the criterion of “more fulfilled”. Try the Asian developing countries instead. Not that things are perfect there, just that there may be lessons for us in the west to learn.

Just because a corrupt central model with power-hungry leaders and maybe some good ideas didn’t work, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try alternatives to what we have now.

So, are you in nirvana now? Everything has turned from dust to gold? Don’t you think there may be better ways?

Cheers,
The Captn.

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Posted: 13 February 2011 08:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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captnbli - 13 February 2011 04:51 AM

Try the Asian developing countries instead. Not that things are perfect there, just that there may be lessons for us in the west to learn.

What lessons are those?

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Posted: 13 February 2011 03:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Mindfullness Meditation

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness.html

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Posted: 15 February 2011 02:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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George - 13 February 2011 08:13 AM
captnbli - 13 February 2011 04:51 AM

Try the Asian developing countries instead. Not that things are perfect there, just that there may be lessons for us in the west to learn.

What lessons are those?

Well for one thing that our potential for happiness and fulfillment is not dependent on or proportional to material wealth; that it’s more an approach or state of mind. I know we can “know” that in an intellectual sense but it’s another thing to see it. The kindnesses that the very poor showed others, and the benefits to them of those actions impressed me greatly.

One other thing that struck me is to do with the nature of human dignity: both with the fact that most of even the very poor process it and the benefits it brings them. I have tried to image myself in some of their positions and see the powerful temptation to descend into depravity (of spirit) and despair, something those people almost universally resist.

The Captn

[ Edited: 15 February 2011 02:11 PM by captnbli ]
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Posted: 15 February 2011 02:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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captnbli - 15 February 2011 02:08 PM
George - 13 February 2011 08:13 AM
captnbli - 13 February 2011 04:51 AM

Try the Asian developing countries instead. Not that things are perfect there, just that there may be lessons for us in the west to learn.

What lessons are those?

Well for one thing that our potential for happiness and fulfillment is not dependent on or proportional to material wealth; that it’s more an approach or state of mind. I know we can “know” that in an intellectual sense but it’s another thing to see it. The kindnesses that the very poor showed others, and the benefits to them of those actions impressed me greatly.

One other thing that struck me is to do with the nature of human dignity: both with the fact that most of even the very poor process it and the benefits it brings them. I have tried to image myself in some of their positions and see the powerful temptation to descend into depravity (of spirit) and despair, something those people almost universally resist.

The Captn

I think you better stop being emotional if you want to continue this discussion. Your post reads rather like Che Guevara’s diary and I still don’t know what the lessons are that we may want to learn from the poor in Asia.

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Posted: 16 February 2011 02:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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George - 15 February 2011 02:30 PM
captnbli - 15 February 2011 02:08 PM
George - 13 February 2011 08:13 AM
captnbli - 13 February 2011 04:51 AM

Try the Asian developing countries instead. Not that things are perfect there, just that there may be lessons for us in the west to learn.

What lessons are those?

Well for one thing that our potential for happiness and fulfillment is not dependent on or proportional to material wealth; that it’s more an approach or state of mind. I know we can “know” that in an intellectual sense but it’s another thing to see it. The kindnesses that the very poor showed others, and the benefits to them of those actions impressed me greatly.

One other thing that struck me is to do with the nature of human dignity: both with the fact that most of even the very poor process it and the benefits it brings them. I have tried to image myself in some of their positions and see the powerful temptation to descend into depravity (of spirit) and despair, something those people almost universally resist.

The Captn

I think you better stop being emotional if you want to continue this discussion. Your post reads rather like Che Guevara’s diary and I still don’t know what the lessons are that we may want to learn from the poor in Asia.

What’s the problem with emotions? Besides it’s an ad hominem way to respond to my post. I think the lessons I learnt are clear in my post, at a general level. And I am not advocating violent revolution!  Surely emotions are part of the Humanist equation anyway. But let’s move on.

I think that naked capitalism and consumerism has run its course: it’s been useful in its way (while having significant issues), but it’s now heading the world in the wrong direction. Communism was a failed experiment in practice, but still with some lessons for us too. And maybe the main place to learn some lessons along the lines I am thinking of is Scandinavian Socialism. But only to learn lessons, not to reproduce it.

So, I think Humanistic ideals are a key foundation on which to base a new approach. The point is I have not heard a lot of detail about what Humanism actually is on this podcast. What does it stand for, what does it hope to achieve and what are some of the issues facing the principles?

One final point I would like to make is that attitudes in human societies are constantly evolving, and the mores at play now are very different to even 20 years ago. So it’s always worth revising the past to see what base conditions have changed.

Cheers,
The Captn

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