Humanism

Mark Hubbard's picture
Submitted by Mark Hubbard on Tue, 2008-02-19 20:24

Per the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

devotion to the humanities : literary culture b: the revival of classical letters, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance.

and

a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason.

So, can this be considered an integral part of, or at least a very comfortable fit within, the philosophy of Objectivism? I have always thought so, however, on one or two threads Smiling there seems to be such a preponderance of anti-humanist thought, I'm starting to wonder.

Probably a good one for Leonid.


( categories: )

Michael

James S. Valliant's picture

The concepts of animating spirits, deities, and God are a failure to distinguish human consciousness -- human creativity as such, if you like -- from the rest of the universe. (Just as they are today, btw.) But they were not self-consciously "propagated" -- and, at such an early stage, cannot be seen as a "morphing" of previously intentional symbol or allegory into the literal. Indeed, the intimate metaphysical relationship between words and symbols which was taken for granted by the ancients -- as can be seen in the ubiquitous use of incantations, ritual prayer, the "secret" name of gods (even Jehovah), "And God said, 'Let there be...,'" etc. -- suggests that the distinctions you assume to be in the minds of "artists and writers(!)" were, as yet, unknown to humanity when those concepts emerged.

 Jody: "I definitely have

Newberry's picture

 Jody: "I definitely have no trouble with your take. I just don't like muddying
the waters with the use of the word "god," when that word has
denotations and conotations so radically different in the everyday
world from what you are using it for. I know the god you're talking
about, because I know that moment, that ideal."

 I was very fortunate to be brought up on the beach: no religious bullshit, no mid-west purtianism--all that stuff is so far outside the realm of being human, it is impossible for me to incorporate it into my thinking process. As soon as people begin to talk about God mystically, I feel I am confronted by mental mosquitos. 

 I am convinced that God was propogated by writers/artists to name human creatativity, and somehow it morphed into mysticism--the unattainable. Do not give them the satisfaction that they may use the concept God. People who love existence need to take that concept back into their rightful hands.

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

are Gods.

Newberry's picture

" I certainly am willing to concede that great artists such as yourself are Gods. Smiling"

James,

 
A little over the top in one way, but I do think that anyone who feels, for a second or period of time a love for existence--that is the god-like feeling I am talking about.

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Right, taking the socks off ...

Newberry's picture

 Wise man.

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Mark

Jody Gomez's picture

Just because your stories aren't accepted by the current literary powers that be, doesn't mean they shouldn't see the light of day.

Rand on Humanism

EBrown2's picture

If anyone wants to find out what Miss Rand thought about secular humanism, I recommend reading her July 15, 1960 letter to Dr. Martin Larson, found on pages 575-583 of the American hardback edition of THE LETTERS OF AYN RAND. It would be interesting to contrast that with her letter to an anonymous Roman Catholic priest on pages 632-34 of the same volume.

"Be it a question of science, metaphysics, or religion, the man who says: 'What is truth?' as Pilate did, is not a tolerant man, but a betrayer of the human race."-Jacques Maritain

Jody

Mark Hubbard's picture


I didn't know you were a writer. My wife is as well. She'll finish up her PhD in creative writing this spring. Is there an online outlet where I can read your shorts?

 

I'd rather you didn't read my shorts, boom boom. Sorry, it's very early Saturday morning.

Long story short, I haven't found an outlet good enough yet ... no, try again.

My first degree was an Arts degree, English Literature, and all I wanted to do was write. I started down the same track as your wife, by the look of it, but crashed out of my Master of Arts, only one month into the first year, at the cruel and slippery hands of Lacan, Derrida and Foucault (well, them and their army of feminazis and socialists (same thing really) at Canterbury in those days). Even then, and I'd not heard of Objectivism, or even Linz, yet, I knew those gentlemen were the death of what I loved: language and literature. (Actually, to be honest I'm a bit murky on chronologies - see stoned period, following - I might have been reading Objectivism around this time, or at least, it was Linz's radio show that put me onto it, so if that was 1983 to 1986, or thereabouts, then I may have been. If so, I didn't fully 'get it' until later, when reading all the business literature for the undergraduate accounting degree. In some remembrances I feel Linz was responsible for my dissatisfaction with my Masters program; don't know.)

So, between part time jobs I lived in a bach at Birdlings Flat for about eighteen months, writing, mainly a novel. Although I got poetry published twice in Landfall (not telling you which ones, they're awful - as in clever, but empty tosh), I never got the novel finished, in fact barely started, as I spent most of my time stoned. Nice, but not productive ...

... this is going to take ages, and I have to get to bed. Abridged.

A bunch of idiot city bikers used to vandalise the public toilet at Birdlings Flat once a week, leaving me to only a bucket which did not fit in with my prudery, fell in love with a good woman (they'd not always been), washed out or cut off the dreadlocks, they always itched like hell anyway, took out all of the ear rings to get in that money making frame of mine, did two accountancy degrees, career, with aim: retire, or semi retire by 45'ish, then write and do the things I want, in comfort, and on my own terms. See world. At 42, looks like I'm going to make the semi-retire part on time. Have always kept diaries, etc, but the career took 80 hour weeks (because you have to keep up), and single minded focus, so only started writing shorts seriously again over last year and a bit, which I'm starting to send out now. Trying not to torture the language too much, but only middling success, and now at the behest of Big Daddy I've got to write some press releases and stop annoying Sandi, well, possibly stop annoying Sandi (if Sandi stops annoying me) ...

If a short gets taken, or a middling or a long, I'll let you know, otherwise they won't see the light of day.


Sorry, I suspect that was boring
, but I've written it now, so may as well post. I didn't realise that if you watch Sky channel 5 at 2.25 in the morning they play all this really awful soft porn stuff. Strange. Wouldn't people who might want to watch this be doing it at this hour?

(Never got a tattoo, thank God. For a period around 1985 I had the best three tiered, bright blue, white tipped 15cm spiked mohawk in NZ. As I said in another post, went through a confused period. [Been thinking overnight] Lancelot, I should probably at least get an award for this bit, afterall, me and Michael Newberry, we are freaking Gods in here, that should be rewarded surely? Surely! .. Just joking Michael Eye But not to you Lance, the unforgiven. )

I reckon I might put this up to my bio - I wish people would write up decent bio's in here, as I find those interesting.

Sometimes I get fixated on things. I call it stubborn, but really, it's just fixated.

I don't feel sleepy at all. More a sort of manic energy if truth be told.

 


What about your wife Jody? Name? Published? Links?
I'd love to have a read of some of her material.

Mark

Jody Gomez's picture

I didn't know you were a writer. My wife is as well. She'll finish up her PhD in creative writing this spring. Is there an online outlet where I can read your shorts?

Michael

Jody Gomez's picture

I definitely have no trouble with your take. I just don't like muddying the waters with the use of the word "god," when that word has denotations and conotations so radically different in the everyday world from what you are using it for. I know the god you're talking about, because I know that moment, that ideal.

Michael

James S. Valliant's picture

I certainly am willing to concede that great artists such as yourself are Gods. Smiling

Right, taking the socks off

Mark Hubbard's picture

Right, taking the socks off ...

You are not taking that

Newberry's picture

You are not taking that heroism thread seriously are you?

 Yep, your problem with the socks is blocking kinetic energy you need to feel God-like. And your resistence is indicative of other issues. 

And I don't trust your smilie face after your whine about how hard writing is. But then, being a writer requires that you get naked, lie on the floor, listen to... Smiling

 

 

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

You need to get naked, lie

Mark Hubbard's picture

You need to get naked, lie in the middle of quite room, close your eyes, blast Ormandy's conducting Tchaikovsky's sym #6, and let your imagination move over the seas and earth, day and night, feeling empathy for geniune human beings--and create from there. Then you will know what I am talking about.

 

 

But how would I ever see my keyboard from that position, plus I couldn't think with all that racket going on? And that's before we even cover the naked bit, given my prudery. I'd need to at least keep my socks on, which I can't help but feel would ruin the overall effect.

 

And I still don't see how any of that relates to 'God in me': it's just me and everything I've read in this shell of mine, individual man (you'll have noticed me banging away at this across every other thread just lately.)

 

Perhaps painters are different animals from writers. You guys have it easy, you don't have to intellectualise what is in your heads to be conveyed to the page, making sure all parts are working toward the whole, character, plot, intent, and then that it has meaning when read: you just have to have the very odd epiphany, then paint pictures and lovely bits o'scenery Eye

 

Writing, it's bloody hard work, not just lying around on the floor.

Mark,  hahahah, yes. We

Newberry's picture

Mark,

 hahahah, yes. We are on different wavelengths. I am not talking about any God out there. Smiling You need to get naked, lie in the middle of quite room, close your eyes, blast Ormandy's conducting Tchaikovsky's sym #6, and let your imagination move over the seas and earth, day and night,  feeling empathy for geniune human beings--and create from there. Then you will know what I am talking about.

Michael 

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Michael, please don't take

Mark Hubbard's picture

Michael, please don't take this personally, but I consider myself an artist, writer, and I couldn't give a snot about God.

The big G has never made it any gritty, realism short story I've ever written, nor his ideals (other than now and again symbolically representing a ditched past.)

Hey, I'm in a new wave, Atheist art, I've left all that shit behind, so to speak Smiling

Mind you, no one responds to my art, because I've left all my audience behind as well, so I can't speak to that side of the ledger.

 

... actually, what do you mean? How can God be an integral component of being an artist? And I've never responded to any art because I saw God in it, only because, rather, most often, it has helped to explain, or extend, me. Are we on different wavelengths here?

Unless I am God? Ah, is that it. Artist as creator?

Nah? Still doesn't fit, somehow.

   "God, and the need

Newberry's picture

 

 "God, and the need for God, are not part of human nature itself..."

 hahahah, of course it is. God is the man-made projection of human ideals. Lots of cultures warp that into mysticism--but it is a key component of being an artist, and why people respond to art. 

My guess is that you and Jody will have no trouble my take--but then you still would have to re-evaluate your statements, perferable change them accordingly. Smiling

Your humble servant in the ways of God.

 

Michael 

 

www.michaelnewberry.com

Jody

James S. Valliant's picture

Me, too. Eye

James

Jody Gomez's picture

I'm beginning to like being on the same side as you. Eye

Richard

Jody Gomez's picture

My first question to you would be, "what is a god?" Please explain this concept that people "need."

Blatant Idiocy

James S. Valliant's picture

People really do need ethics.

Try this one:

Why we need to eat is a precondition for properly defining, judging or accepting any speciifc diet.

God, and the need for God, are not part of human nature itself -- at least, not part of mine -- while the need for ethics very much is a basic requirement for each and every one of us (even Richard can't avoid it in some form).

Richard

Leonid's picture

"Objectivism is misguided, not because it's too elevated or complex - for it is neither - but because it accepts the fundamental ethical premise of the mystics - that there are moral truths - without question, despite being critical of their metaphysics. "

Did you noticed,Richard, that you just pronounced moral judgment? Are you still trying to escape moral truths? Now, what exactly is your challenge?

Richard

Leonid's picture

Why does man need God?"

What's your response?

My response is : Man doesn't need God and that why theologians never ask such a question.

Blatant falsehoods

Richard Goode's picture

According to Rand, "The first question that has to be answered, as a precondition of any attempt to define, to judge or to accept any specific system of ethics, is: Why does man need a code of values?"

Now, suppose I were to tell you, "The first question that has to be answered, as a precondition of any attempt to define, to judge or to accept any specific religion, is: Why does man need God?"

What's your response?

Reason

personallydisinterested's picture

Reason is not hard to follow, when you are taught that the world is reasonable.  People that have a hard time with reason, have a dysfunctional philosophy. 

"Objectivism is misguided,

Hayden Wood's picture

"Objectivism is misguided, not because it's too elevated or complex - for it is neither - but because it accepts the fundamental ethical premise of the mystics - that there are moral truths - without question,"

Oh come on Richard, there's nothing wrong with critiquing Objectivism if you don't believe in it but there's nothing to be gained by blatant falsehoods like this. Mr Valliant amongst others, have given you plenty of step-by-step guides through Objectivist ethics.

Rex

Hayden Wood's picture

You're talking rubbish. People are not stupid, pretty much everyone can understand any philosophy. All that is needed is for it to be explained to them properly.

And "atheism" isn't the starting point of any philosophy. All it says is "I don't believe in God", nothing else follows - or rather anything you like can follow - from that.

Quite

James S. Valliant's picture

It is obviously not me who's been evading, sir, and I do invite readers to check out all of our interractions for themselves.

So, pretend what you like about my motives, you won't get me to give you still more stuff to evade.

Quite simple

Richard Goode's picture

You know, Richard, I'd give you credit for sheer gall, if your dishonesty and projection didn't stink quite so much. [Etc., etc.]

This is precisely the lame evasiveness I keep observing in you, James.

Anyone can simply track your blog posts and the discussions that follow to see what I mean.

I still await a defence of the following claim from the The Affirmations of Humanism.

Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

That sounds pretty scientific to me, and Rand claimed to have a monopoly on a "rational, scientific, objective code of ethics".

Is Rand's ethics falsifiable? What predictions does it make that we can test experimentally? What phenomena is Rand's ethics supposed to explain? Etc., etc.

 

Richard

James S. Valliant's picture

You know, Richard, I'd give you credit for sheer gall, if your dishonesty and projection didn't stink quite so much.

I present detailed arguments which you totally ignore, logic for which you have zero response and facts to which you have given no answer. You willfully refuse to engage anything. You drop a silly and insulting bomb, invariably, one which is obviously ignorant of what Rand actually said, and then disappear when it is thoroughly answered -- and then behave as though nothing was ever said.

Anyone can simply track your blog posts and the discussions that follow to see what I mean.

You accuse Objectivists of acting like religious zealots, taking things "without question," when you know you have given no answer to detailed argument after detailed argument. This has proven to be a thankless and unproductive effort on my part. Such epistemological bankruptcy as you complain of is being displayed here only by you with your pseudo-logic, the rank equivalent of asking how many angels can dance on the head of a pin -- all constructed while you simultaneously evade logical integration of fact after logical integration of fact.

You admit you have an ethics, but insist that it is (and must be) a stranger to logic and reason -- and you have the nerve to call us "religious"!

Go put a bone through your nose and go away.

I have spent more time than you happen to deserve on your "challenges."

This has nothing to do with the need to make our case, just the need to make it to you.

I'm tired of correcting your "logic." There's no challenge to it, and, most especially, no reward in it.

Intellectual honesty is an act of will.

The unwilling should be ignored.

Faithful expressions

Richard Goode's picture

Contemporary secular humanism is not misguided because it's too elevated or complex, or secular, but because it accepts the ethical premises of the mystics without question, despite being critical of their metaphysics.

That's right. And especially true of that variety of contemporary secular humanism known as Objectivism.

Objectivism is misguided, not because it's too elevated or complex - for it is neither - but because it accepts the fundamental ethical premise of the mystics - that there are moral truths - without question, despite being critical of their metaphysics.

But - worse than this - Objectivism's founder had the gall to insist that her philosophy had a monopoly on a "rational, scientific, objective code of ethics". Yet, when a critic suggests that the principles of Rand's science of ethics be put to the test, Rand's foremost contemporary defender professes to be pleased and proud, not to meet, but to ignore, the challenge. How's that supposed to work?

(You deserve a

Mark Hubbard's picture

(You deserve a response.)

Ahem, and for the record was given one straight thereafter on this thread. Smiling

Rex

James S. Valliant's picture

That will advance the ball no farther than the idea of "no reincarnation" or "no unicorns" could -- and no farther than the abandonment of polytheism did.

Even the simple masses are consumers of philosophy -- and our society and politics are the faithful expressions of that philosophy.

Contemporary secular humanism is not misguided because it's too elevated or complex, or secular, but because it accepts the ethical premises of the mystics without question, despite being critical of their metaphysics.

It's not that Isaac Asimov and Rod Serling lack any value -- I'm a big fan of both -- it's that this "Humanism" thing today is a sticky pile of feel-good collectivism and altruism, no more rationally established than Christ had done. (Deferring to Einstein on ethics and politics makes no more sense than going to Fred Astaire for one's physics.)

"Trouble with definitions" did not prevent the advance of Augustinian Christianity or Thomistic Christianity or Renaissance Humanism or contemporary Nihilism.

humanism

Rex Wilkinson's picture

People are stupid,when you have to explain the joke/philosophy that really suggests that your words went over their heads.If you want to reach the masses your not going to do it with Objectivism or even Humanism because even here"the land of the clever people"you are having trouble defining what it all means.Keep it simple,stupid,Atheism,the fact that their is no god should be the launching point of our knew philosophy

Not You, Sir

James S. Valliant's picture

I meant the other "Richard," namely, Goode, sir, my mistake.

(You deserve a response.)

Not that I'm counting or

Richard Wiig's picture

Not that I'm counting or anything.

It wasn't ignored, James.

Richard Wiig's picture

The person it was addressed to responded, along with one other.

Heads Up, Richard!

James S. Valliant's picture

I have to say that I am darn pleased and proud about the way Richard's "challenge" is being totally ignored.

Just the right reaction. Smiling

(And super stuff, Jody!)

Thanks for the link Hayden:

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks for the link Hayden: excellent.

Mark

Hayden Wood's picture

You're not missing much.

http://www.newstatesman.com/20...

Jody

Hayden Wood's picture

I would say most emphatically not.

But, as Linz has pointed out a great many people who call themselves Humanists would say yes. Why? Because since Humanism has no inbuilt metaphysical, or ethical, or epistemological framework itself its adherents define themselves by what they are against, which is religion. Since Marx offered the only popular non-theistic ethic, he "won" by default.

Bending over :)

Mark Hubbard's picture

I hate to admit it, but in all the minutes of my life so far, I've read no Bertrand Russell: he's one of the big gaps I have.

So, hopefully someone better equipped than I can answer.

(His is a name that has been on my radar more and more lately, so I'm spending three weeks over April river boating up the Murray River, and I plan to take a lot of beer, whisky, sorry, reading, including Russell. Anyone want to give me some reading pointers?)

Mark...

Jody Gomez's picture

...okay, then how do you account for Bertrand Russell? Don't tell me he's not considered a "humanist", or the entire movement will thrash you.

Jody

Mark Hubbard's picture

Per my opening definition, classical Humanism has an individualistic and critical spirit.

 

Could Marx be further removed from this sentiment? Marxism was about the complete economic, symbolic, and finally literal, eradication of the individual. And the best passport to a Gulag was to be critical of the communist system, or certainly of its leadership,(or Marx, who by all accounts was a vain sod with an anger problem.

Communism is one of the deadliest enemies of Humanism.

Hayden...

Jody Gomez's picture

...could Karl Marx be called a humanist? If yes, then why? If no, then why?

Jody

Hayden Wood's picture

It's not too "broad and vague" for definition, it's too "broad and vague for the sort of definition you are after. You want me to give you something that is a complete all-encompassing philosophy like "Objectivism". You won't get it because that is not the sort of system that Humanism is.

What's My Line?

Newberry's picture

 

Stay out of this Newberry...

Hmmm...

Okay. But I don't think the semantics matter--just tack on what you mean things to mean and move on with it. But...but Jody, can you imagine making a list of Objectivists-Yikes, what odd bedfellows. Let's get Lindsay, Barabara, David K., and Peikoff on that old televison show--Whats My Line? At the end we can ask: Will the real Objectivist stand. Smiling))))) 

If you recall in the program some people would fake getting up to stand--I can see a bit of tug-of-war going on, each one pulling the others down. Interesting symbolism there. Eye

Thanks for the great compliment. Sure. Let's meet in April. Too bad you cannot make my show March 8th!? Funny, Francisco Villalobos had that image in his bedroom and it was replaced by Icarus Landing. Smiling

Cheers,

Michael

www.michaelnewberry.com

We won't get too far in the definition if we try to work from

personallydisinterested's picture

all the members.  Since we are considering More, a man so catholic that he actually wore a hair-shirt, we can't even define Humanism as an atheist philosophy.  Humanism was part of the Enlightenment that changed the focus from debates over how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, to what is best for man.  When putting the focus on man, Humanists have the option of valuing man as a collective (More), or as an individual (Locke).  Objectivism is a Humanist philosophy, so is Marxism.  Can we use Humanism and Humanists?  Absolutely.  Once they are educated as to reality (economics), and given a true philosophical framework, they can achieve the logical conclusion of Humanism, Objectivism. 

Do we want to advertise Objectivism as Humanism?  Absolutely not.  Talk about confusion.  Objectivism, unlike modern day Humanism is already well defined.   

... while retaining the

Mark Hubbard's picture

... while retaining the ethic of altruism.

Linz, but would a Humanism that eschewed this ethic, (replacing it with Objectivist ethics, if you like), be consistent with Objectivism? Or would this simply no longer be Humanism?

That is, does Humanism have no use to us at all, this thread simply being a senseless task of wanking around with pointless semantics and definitions?

 

... and I extract from literature [art] what? (This is a rhetorical question for myself, although I might put it up on another thread at some stage.)

Jody

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Most "humanists" will tell you that it's a tradition rather than a specific philosophy. They'll tell you it's more about how you go about answering your question than the answer itself. Even some prominent religionists over the centuries have claimed to be, or are regarded as, "humanists." As I said earlier, it's nothing if not eclectic, but as a rule it eschews or questions traditional religious metaphysics and epistemology while retaining the ethic of altruism. Thus its pin-up boys are usually well to the Left politically. Thomas More was a communist centuries before Karl Marx, well before we had the term "Left." The meeting I addressed was a veritable hotbed of Marxism. Hayden is going to have his work cut out.

... you wouldn't understand

Richard Goode's picture

It's a family resemblance thing.

Let's start with ethics. Would any Humanist or Objectivist care to defend the following claim from the The Affirmations of Humanism?

Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

Hayden

Jody Gomez's picture

...well if it's too "broad and vague a philosophy" for definition, then how can you even use the term? WTF?
Are you fucking serious? You call yourself a member of something that is "too broad and vague" to be defined? What is Humanism then? You can't even give a god-damned definition? What the hell kind of philosophy is it if it's too broad and vague to be defined?

Let's start with fundamentals. What is metaphysics according to humanism?

Jody,

Hayden Wood's picture

This website is probably the best there is...

http://humaniststudies.org/hum...

What you seem to be after is a definition that has the same concrete, strict, characteristics as "Objectivism" or "Catholicism". You won't get that from Humanism, it is too broad and vague a philosophy for thatsorry.

Stay out of this Newberry...

Jody Gomez's picture

...Smiling Not to hijack this thread, but Lydia and I will be New York the first weekend in April. What are the odds that I can meet my favorite artist? And that says a lot, considering my favorite used to come from the Pre-Raphaelites and this-
http://us.st11.yimg.com/us.st....

Humanism defined

personallydisinterested's picture

I shall grant your wish:

Humanism: valuing human beings and their accomplishments. 

ie: human-ism as opposed to de-ism

 

..if she's a Hitler loving

Mark Hubbard's picture

..if she's a Hitler loving anti-freedom statist intent on genocide? Do you mean what you say or what? If you mean what you say, then you should be telling her she's a fucking evil bitch.

Outside of that thread, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt for now. As Fraser said, I think there is a 50/50 chance she just doesn't know, for whatever reason, how to articulate herself well, and she is too immature to accept when she is wrong, or be able to back down. I'm hoping beyond hope that she will start to use her brain, therefore, and think issues through, plus grow up enough to admit error. Power of the individual mind, Richard.

But I wish she would have the guts to clarify exactly her position, on that thread. Because if she does believe, as I have accused her of, then yes, she is an evil bitch and I will give her no quarter anywhere.

I again challenge Sandi: put your thoughts up on that thread.

 ...and Lindsay Lohan,

Newberry's picture


 ...and Lindsay Lohan, could someone please define "humanism" and set it apart from other philosophies.

 Pro-human? Smiling Jody, you are one of the best exponents of humanism I know.

 

 

 

Why would you apologise to Sandi....

Richard Wiig's picture

SORRY. That wasn't nice, apologies Sandy

...if she's a Hitler loving anti-freedom statist intent on genocide? Do you mean what you say or what? If you mean what you say, then you should be telling her she's a fucking evil bitch.

I mean....

Jody Gomez's picture

...for Christ's sake, surely an editor of a Humanist journal can define the damn term. Jesus fucked-Muhammad-up-the-ass-with-a-strap-on-dildo christ, surely someone can define this god-damned anti-concept.

For the love of god....

Jody Gomez's picture

...and Lindsay Lohan, could someone please define "humanism" and set it apart from other philosophies.

Oh Ye Of Little Faith Perigo

Hayden Wood's picture

Humanism is usually the Chrisian ethic, because it is the only option that has been presented to them, through the socialistic non-religious version of being your brother's keeper. It can be infuriating and depressing reading the works of many modern Humanists, they hate religion, and can quote the finer details of the Spanish Inquisition by heart and yet seem completely blind to the more horrendous by far secular mass-murderers of the twentieth century. Usually because modern Humanism is very much powered from America, and since American Christians are "free-market right-wing Republicans" then it makes sense to some that the only position for a humanist to take is the opposite - "closed-market left-wing Democrat"

The possibility of a secular freedom-loving ethic just doesn't seem to be known of - I intend to change that Smiling

Hayden...

Jody Gomez's picture

...you're an editor of a humanist journal?! Thank god! Someone who can finally define humanism. What is your definition?

We need to find a way to

Mark Hubbard's picture

We need to find a way to kill the ethics.

We could stick turbans on them and then send Sandi in.

SORRY. That wasn't nice, apologies Sandy, I just can't resist the one liner.

Scott, that statement just clicked Jody's comments below into context for me, and I can see what he is on about better now. But, I can't give away the notion that there is a lot to be gained from Humanism. Do you think this aspect is part of what might be called a modern Humanist movement, or does it have some sort of origin in the ethos of the movement, if it can be called that (refer Hayden below), from it's inception? The concept of Humanism I have 'accreted' through reading literature has never brought this aspect to my radar ...

Humanism, while eclectic,

personallydisinterested's picture

Humanism, while eclectic, is usually the Christian ethic (Linz)

Exactly.  Reason is killing god by itself, but not his ethics.  We need to find a way to kill the ethics. 

I'll be fascinated ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... to see how long before they crucify you, Hayden.

I went along to speak to them one night—revolting bunch of statists.

Humanism, while eclectic, is usually the Christian ethic and all too often, a la Goode, the Christian epistemology, without the Christian metaphysics. Some folk just have to be dragged every last inch. Smiling

Cheers Mark

Hayden Wood's picture

I should point out that I have just taken over the editorship, so you won't find any of my work on the website. The first Journal of my editorship, with a Cresswell piece, is posted in April, the next in June with Perigo's (though if I can fit Linz in earlier I will - depends on the printers).

When James talks of the "Humanist Tradition" he (I am fairly sure) is not including the American tradition with the Humanist Manifestos and the like.

Jody

Richard Goode's picture

I look forward to the publication of the results of your experiments. Smiling

In the meantime, speaking of experiments, would any Humanist or Objectivist care to defend the following claim from the The Affirmations of Humanism?

Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

That sounds pretty scientific to me, and Rand claimed to have a monopoly on a "rational, scientific, objective code of ethics".

Who are the foremost researchers in the world today, and in which scientific journals do they publish their results?

Hayden

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks for that, it was very useful. I see the link to your local Humanist journal in that other thread of Linz's, and plan to spend some of Sunday having a good look through that.

The interesting aspect about Cultural Amnesia is that I have found the cumulative effect of reading it to have modified my thinking on many matters: not a life changing book like Atlas, but certainly mind changing nevertheless. Part of its effect has been that it llinks my life so firmly to one of my biggest passions, being the arts, and more precisely, literature, and I understand what he indirectly, and constantly, infers to regarding the Western humanist tradition that exists through writings/words over time, especially centred around the Jewish emigre community in Europe through the early 1930's, and how that tradition must be a linchpin to how the freedom of the individual can be, must be, scoped.

Or perhaps its a vain hope that my Arts Degree wasn't a complete waste of time. (Shut up Linz Eye )

Richard...

Jody Gomez's picture

...First you start with alcohol, then...Well, I'm working on it okay. But, I'll share my secret with the world when the formula has been tested in double-blind experiments, and by myself numerous times! Smiling

Hi Mark

Hayden Wood's picture

One thing to be careful of with Humanism is that it means everything and nothing. This, according to the IHEU, is the minimum requirement:

"Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality."

You can see a problem in the fourth word, sticking out like a dog's nuts, for those of us who think that Human rights are not given by vote, but the rest of it I pretty much agree with.

Another problem is, as I sit here trying to defend Humanism, that I simply don't know for certain *what* I am defending. I mean, I can call myself a Humanist, and defend my libertarian conception of Humanism, but my views are not those of, say, Paul Kurtz or Bertrand Russell who want a World Government . For my ethics I turn more to Objectivism since it can actually give an answer to the question of "Is "X" wrong"

Clive James' book is and isn't relevant. There are, broadly speaking, two strands of Humanism. The modern "Liberal" American kind and the traditional/conservative European kind of which I would say Clive is more a part of.

Jody

Richard Goode's picture

a way to close your eyes, say the word "God" and have an out of body experience where you fuck Alessandra Ambrosio

Never mind humanism, tell us more about this.

Richard

Jody Gomez's picture

Show where I,
1. made a god of Ayn Rand.
2. worshipped or revered Ayn as a god.
3. idealized Ayn.

Please consult heavily your American Heritage Dictionary as I'm sure it will also help you to rationally define "humanism."

deify

Richard Goode's picture

1. To make a god of; raise to the condition of a god.
2. To worship or revere as a god: deify a leader.
3. To idealize; exalt: deifying success.


American Heritage Dictionary

"Deify" is exactly what I meant.

'Galt' even rhymes with 'exalt'. I'm sure that's no coincidence. Smiling

Scott...

Jody Gomez's picture

My point is that "humanism" as a whole is, as practiced by its most prominent members, an altruistic hodgepodge of philosophy. It's a repository for atheists who don't have a clue.

Okay, let's stop arguing here for a moment, and have someone who defends "humanism" define "humanism." I know that it's been attempted according to this dictionary or that, but let's have a rational definition. Then we can move forward.

Mmmm. I reckon I'm well

Mark Hubbard's picture

Mmmm. I reckon I'm well advised to go and read a lot more 'stuff' before making any more posts to this thread Smiling

Carry on though, please.

Great thread Mark

personallydisinterested's picture

I too, am a little put off with the lumping of people into a generic evil group. 

Humanism is more attractive to many people that abandon religion because they like people and retain the idea of a greater (common) good.  Benevolence takes the place of humanism in my philosophy.  I can love people, without wanting to sacrifice myself. 

Richard,

Jody Gomez's picture

Your homework for the day is to learn the defintion of "deify."

Yes, as for their "humanist" beliefs, these people are(were) assholes. I don't care if your scientific accomplishments include a way to close your eyes, say the word "God" and have an out of body experience where you fuck Alessandro Ambrosio, if you're wrong metaphysically and epistemologically, you are simply wrong. Especially Peter fucking Singer. Are you serious?

Bloody typical Objectivist

Richard Goode's picture

You deify Ayn Rand, and then have the temerity to call luminaries such as Dawkins, Einstein and Singer "worthless assholes".

That's not merely not smart - that's deluded.

Mark,

Jody Gomez's picture

What I mean by that comment after the comma, is that I've seen and read a lot of people who had metaphysics swept out from under them via their own questions, yet could not fill the void via a rational metaphysics. The history of philosophy is littered with such individuals. I've been an admitted atheist since my early childhood, and I also admit that when I first swept that metaphysical ground from underneath myself, it took me a while to re-establish it rationally. Unfortunately, the typical heroes of Humanism(i.e., Bertrand Russell) were never able to rebuild a solid metaphysical ground beneath them.

Look, my point is that "humanism" is such a mixed bag of philosophy, that one is better abandoning it for a philosophy that is precise.

Mark,

Jody Gomez's picture

Did Ayn not figure out how to live without him? I think she did. I think the majority of these worthless assholes did not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L...

Thanks for putting that up

Mark Hubbard's picture

Thanks for putting that up Jody, reading through I disagree with much of it, which would not be a good fit with Objectivism: indeed, I would distance myself completely from some of the provisions you mention, - and would then wholeheartedly agree with many other provisions, all the same. So let me rule the line in the sand clearly, I will call that a modern humanism as opposed to the ethos of a classical humanism per my quotation that began this thread.

...are that group of people who asked enough questions to convince themselves that there is no god, but who aren't smart enough to figure out how to live without him.

I understand how you got the first bit to the comma, but how do you reason the last bit?

From 'that' other thread, I have to say I'm wondering whether a classical humanism, which I would see as coming more from the arts, the humanities, than from the sciences, but without denying the sciences (and that's an impression from recent reading, nothing I could back up with facts) ... sorry, wandering ... I'm wondering whether a classical humanism could make a good corollary with Objectivism to give depth to its conscience - to give it, wait for the appalled intakes of breath, a soul.

If nothing else, a reaching out to a classical humanism would be an admonition to read, read, read, and then think about what was read, the process of 'thinking' issues through being the point of the exercise.

 

I see Hayden Wood in the 'Who's Online' section often just lately, Hayden, what would you comments be on Jody's post, given you're currently reading Clive Jame's Cultural Amnesia?

 

["... to give depth to its conscience." Bit wanky really that bit. I'll think on it and try and explain, soon, what I mean in a much clearer fashion.]

How's that supposed to work?

Richard Goode's picture

Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

How's that supposed to work?

Objectivists...

Richard Goode's picture

...are that group of people who asked enough questions to convince
themselves that there is no god, but who aren't smart enough to figure
out that Ayn Rand didn't figure out how to live without him.

and...

Jody Gomez's picture

...if you want an even more in-depth look...

http://www.secularhumanism.org...

Humanists...

Jody Gomez's picture

...are that group of people who asked enough questions to convince themselves that there is no god, but who aren't smart enough to figure out how to live without him.

This next credo is from the largest organization of Humanists out there(The Council for Secular Humanism.) I'll let objectivists weigh in on the individual points, and what humanists have tried to accomplish with those points.

The Affirmations of Humanism:
A Statement of Principles

* We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.
* We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.
* We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.
* We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.
* We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.
* We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.
* We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.
* We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.
* We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.
* We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.
* We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.
* We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.
* We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.
* We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.
* We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.
* We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.
* We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.
* We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.
* We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.
* We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.
* We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.

Cheers Leonid, that is

Mark Hubbard's picture

Cheers Leonid, that is comforting.

And I do mean humanism in the classical sense, not the debased modern sense, just as classical liberalism is the fitting forerunner of Libertarianism (yes?), albeit bears no relation to the 'modern' liberal who stands for nothing, indeed, who goes through life believing in everything, thus nothing. Such were the sins of post-modernism that lay at the root of the debasement.

I reckon a course in classical humanism wouldn't go a miss on the odd 'Jihad against the individual, and just let's lump bunches of people into groups and treat them all the same' threads Smiling

And would add in my mind that the 'self realisation' aspect connotes the ability to both learn and change as an individual thinks through the course of a life.

Yes, Mark

Leonid's picture

"So, can this be considered an integral part of, or at least a very comfortable fit within, the philosophy of Objectivism?"

Yes,if one follows the above qouted definition . The only problem is that main concern of contemporary humanists is humankind as such and not the life,happiness, freedom and rights of actual humans.

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