The Return of Humanism
The Aspirational Credo of Our Species gets Validated by Science
The History of Humanism
Looking back over its origins, Renaissance Humanism takes center stage, recounting the discovery of ancient Greece and Roman documents from the 13th century onward. As a humanist writer I do append the inclusion of Confucius (learning, family, empire), Christ (compassion, morality) and Muhammad (science, decorum) as the three founding humanists. This is my own characterization, given the antiquity and advanced state of Chinese culture 3000 years ago, and the influence of Islam in the centuries preceding Renaissance Humanism.
I recommend the overview of Robert Grudin to provide colorful reading at https://www.britannica.com/topic/humanism. Its early history is fascinating.
HU members can use the Britannica login Humanism password 1Humanism! if advertising intrudes. As HU Moderator I am presenting these two sources for representative, discussion purposes.
The Humanist Credo
Here is a PDF of a definitive Atlantic Monthly article on Humanism from 1930, and a Web link if that works for you. Please support the Atlantic if you can - it has been a repository of peerless, objective writing since 1857.
I say definitive article because 1930 was the year that Humanism began fading from human discourse. Being a progressive journal, the Atlantic Monthly then published writers visiting Russia, who didn’t always like what they were seeing. This during the Depression, when many westerners were considering alternatives to their own, collapsing capitalism.
The credo article is inspiring for its style and equanimity and provides a summarized discussion of just what Humanism was, before Fascism abruptly intruded after 1930. Sort of an inter-war snapshot of what Woodrow Wilson envisioned out of the ashes of WW1, doomed in part by the failure of his own country to ratify US membership in the League of Nations.
Wilson’s era also took World Federalism seriously, with some federalist parties winning elections (Ireland) for a postwar period. Humanity was advancing its own governance toward a maturity we can only resuscitate today, because we have fallen short of the standards and concepts that the above author Frank Mather Jr. cogently reviews for us.
In America the notion of “One World Order” has been so ridiculed by three generations of Pentagon propaganda, that libertarians often cite it as their ultimate possible enslavement. British writers drag out the theme of Orwell’s 1984, just as any discussion of cloning leads to movie depictions of baby Hitlers attacking en masse.
I intend to examine both topics from a positive perspective, because humanity must fix its governance immediately by empowering the UN (or moving away from a unipolar world) and if human reproduction now offers individuals a portal to successive lifetimes, call that cloning if you must - but be careful with your next life.
As I mention at some length in my first book “1000 Summers” both American and British humanists have degraded Humanism’s message by allowing it to be a philosophical façade for atheists embroiled in religious acrimony with fundamentalists, Muslims or House of Lords Bishops. As Robert Grudin asserts, most humanists were religious figures, expanding their intellectual horizons. Anglophone Humanism sounds more like schoolyard taunting than discourse, and it is to the rest of the world that I direct my own efforts. Again, my frustration with unipolar, nationalist entities - we are a species that does not require supernatural reasons to murder each other. That comes naturally - and we cannot revisit the 20th century.
How and Why Humanism Must Return
Being Canadian, and living ten minutes from the border, I am privy to a box seat viewing the American train wreck, so please forgive if I am somewhat too candid at times. What can be said about a country that is bankrupt, leaderless, and given to continuous proxy wars with other sovereign nations, some with nuclear arms. The Atomic Scientists say it’s 2 minutes to midnight on the Doomsday Clock. We must each assemble the character to agree with them.
The USA suffers from the complete corruption of Congress, wherein a single individual with some crypto credits (FTX) was able to majorly ‘contribute’ to at least 1/3 of Democratic Congress members just by himself. When Ukraine was credited with $100B in military hardware, public funds went to the weapons contractors, who return a share to the corrupted legislators. Meanwhile, if the debt ceiling is again breached, legislators cut back on funds to the elderly and poor, to remain ‘solvent’.
This represents a total loss of democracy in favor of complete corruption. Most perilous, nothing is to prevent this continuing, the corruption loop just repeats itself, stoking a fire that truly could destroy the planet. At what point must humanity per se intercede?
My hope is that said humanity can revisit what we attempted to do after the disasters of WW1 and WW2, which is collectivize our species governance, before it is too late. We are a young species of killer apes, with shallow reserves of character, and a parlous history of war - so this IS an emergency - unlike Covid, a similar massive corruption by ruthless pharmaceutical interests. You can’t make this stuff up - it’s too shameful.
My ambition is to illustrate what opportunities we are foregoing by playing these childish war games. I see a warship or tank as a monument to human failure, its funding stolen from the poor. If that makes sense, let’s legislate that ‘defense’ budgets be redirected to the UN. Its former Sec’y-general Kofi Annan lamented that the UN’s budget was less than that of the New York Fire Dept. and he wasn’t attempting humor. That must change - war manufacturing must end entirely - let’s do that now. This was a theme in “1000 Summers”.
As you may observe via my adjacent articles, I do mention that, as a former network designer, I see a path open to any individual living today to enjoy successive life cycles. This is my immortality platform which partners the biobanking of one’s DNA with the emerging science of ectogenesis (BB-H-EG) model.
The H stands for Humanism, and it is not a trivial relationship. If humans truly understand that their DNA has all the information for successive life cycles, then we all become different animals. Harmony with the planet and our sister species (diversity) entails urgent housekeeping. Money cannot be wasted on wars.
Elon Musk has made us one species under Starlink, so that at this moment any human’s birthplace can become her workspace. And if she chooses to skip those difficult pregnancies - we have the EG tech for that ready today. And anyone can commission their own rebirth via smart contracts that are blockchain certain. According to AI, ectogenesis (70%) will replace natural childbirth this century.
It’s all there on the table, and I would be privileged to work with you. Let’s get to it!
Dwight at humanistunion.com