Thursday, August 4, 2016

More on Humanism

 A bit more reading about humanism and I have concluded that we have specific characteristics:

Individuals: We are a group of individuals who do not follow others, but think independently, and all have coalesced around some central themes. We are not blind followers.  

Independent: (free?) We are all equal, no one has the right to dictate to others. Yes, no, well what about social contract and criminal activity. The rights of the many should be considered as law; that is society protection from the criminals, we gave up the right of self defense to live together in groups, and have protection. Well we have really no protection - only a mild deterrent to criminals - and occasionally prosecution.  If you do not want us to take back our self protection and ignore the law, then the government had better start providing better protection. But we are free living people, dependent on civilization, but independent thinking.

Reason: We use reason and logic, not superstition or supernatural causes. There are no authorities except in science, and they have the collections of facts. We require questioning, unlike religions. We have no holy books to give direction.
  • Buddhism uses mediation and self searching as founding criteria, it encourages questioning.
  • Christianity, Islam use authority and holy books as founding criteria, and oppose questioning.
  • Science and Humanism use evidence, logic, truth as founding criteria. and require questioning. 
Truth: We try to get to the truth, often placing statements on the nine point truth scale: Absolutely true, probably true, likely true, unable to demonstrate false, neutral or unknown, unable to demonstrate true, likely false, probably false, absolutely false. This combines our confidence and the truth of a statement.

Evidence: If it is not suitable for court, then it is not evidence. Holy books are stories, not evidence. These are tests of how to explain something to a child, not true but not false either, although the underlying thoughts may be false or just wrong. Physical evidence often has more than one explanation; but somehow it must be explained.

Virtue: It seems that Humanism drags in beliefs from all over: the Stoic believed that living a virtues life was the only good, virtue is always right so a virtues life was always right. There cardinal virtues were wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. Compassion and duty were just expected as part of life. Some add mental pleasure or joy. This also mates with positive psychology behavior; positive emotions, meaning, engagement, effort, accomplishment, satisfaction, joy, and that feeds back into positive emotions.

Knowledge: Wisdom is knowledge applied rightly. Humanism requires questioning of many things. Self seeking through meditation is just a place to start when there is no science, but also much mesh with science. We need to adjust ourselves to what is, not what we would like to happen. It is our expectations, delusions, aversions, desires, that cause us grief. Letting go of the unreasonable and unattainable is the first step to freedom. Also sorting knowledge by truth in detail verses general truths or simplifications.

And yet life and humanism is so much more.   

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