05 July 2006

Humanism and Naturalism

This is inspired by the linked page describing Humainism (with a bar over the a). That got me thinking about Humanism in relation to Naturalism, which had me all over the web looking for connections and disconnections. The bottom line is that I'd really like to see a fusion of the two, into something called Humanaturalism, which is going to be the topic of this blog.

There are the several secular humanist groups, which don't have the naturalist emphasis I like, and sound too human-oriented, whereas I prefer to see myself as part of the larger web of life. I hadn't really appreciated this dichotomy between humanism and naturalism, but it has been noted in a most unflattering way by the Moonies

A slogan that comes naturally once you get past the bastardization of language:
"Humanaturalism: makes you feel like a natural (human)..."
(apologies to Carole King)

From there, we could have a look at the lyrics of Carole's song, adapted to the present purpose:
Like a Natural Human
Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel uninspired
And when I knew I'’d have to face another day
Well, it made me feel so tired
Before the day I met you, life was so unkind
But your love was the key to my peace of mind

Cause you make me feel, you make me feel,
You make me feel like a natural human

Now when my soul was in the lost-and-found
You came along to claim it
I didn't know just what was wrong with me
Till your voice helped me name it
Now I'm no longer doubtful of what I'm living for
Cause if I make you happy I don't need to do more

Oh, baby, what you've done to me
You make me feel so good inside
And I just want to be
Close to you, you make me feel so alive!

And from there, it's a small leap to a description of what Humanaturalism might entail:
1. Belief in the inherent grace of the universe
2. Belief in human imagination, myth, dreams, hope, humor, love
3. Immortality of the genetic and human literature of life
4. Service to the web of life with reverence and wonder
5. Wisdom through reason and open scientific inquiry
6. Legacy of healthy children in a healthy environment
7. Peace through compassion, tolerance and respect
8. Democracy and rule of law in human relations
9. Courage and serenity through wisdom
10. Balance of passion and conservation

So what do you think?


Rainhorse said...

Sounds excellent but it already exists under the title of World Pantheism http://www.pantheism.net.

Also, don't most moden forms of atheism and humanism already imply naturalism? Ie, they reject not only God but also all supernatural entities.
Paul H.

Tom Moore said...

How exciting to actually get a comment! Of course I agree and am pleased to have a link appear here to the World Pantheism site. I think my motivation was to find a title for this blog that does not include the root "the" in it at all. Talk about being a-the-ist!

Thanks much for the comment,

Rainhorse said...

I understand - just reflect how much pain t** word "the" has generated throughout human history and how many unneccessary controversies t** T-word has stirred up!

Humāinism said...

Hi Tom,

I came across your blog from a comment you left on DT Strains blog. Imagine my surprise to see your first entry of 6/5/06 say it was inspired by my (now defunct) geocities Humāinism site. I have since moved it to Blogger at http://humainism.blogspot.com/ , in case you want to update your link. Funny we should meet each other like this outside the Pantiest list, huh?

-Rick B.

DT Strain said...

These are excellent thoughts. I have had similar thoughts which lead me to form a local "Humanist Contemplatives" club (www.dtstrain.com/contemplatives). We discuss similar thoughts there, and meet in a natural beautiful location, and also have periods of silent reflection (meditation, reading, etc, dependent on the individual). It's a nice change of pace from the meeting-style format of most humanist meetings.

I have some questions on some of your numbered items though (not sure I fully understand)...

2) I'm assuming by "believe in dreams" you don't mean you believe people see objective realities through their dreams, like the future, etc.

3) Not sure what this one means

10) As a Stoicism enthusiast, I'd like to learn more about what this one means to you.

Thanks! :)

Tom Moore said...

Thanks Rick for the updated link. I'll come visit there soon...

To DTStrain (thanks the comments and for your blog site!):
The bit about imagination, myth, dreams, hopes, humor, love comes from Robert Fulghum, a UU pastor, who I think correctly sees that there is more to humanism than pure reason. I'm not sure exactly how to integrate these things but I recognize their importance. I wrote an earlier essay on them as "trasnscendent values", whatever that means, which is still posted on my new site (still trying to escape from Verizon's port 80 blockage):

Tom Moore said...

To DT Strain on item 3:
Ever since reading Sagan's "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" I've had a thing about the genetic code being the essence of what is meant by "immortal soul". The inventors of that concept did not know about genetics but in my view, they anticipated it: an ethereal essence of each individual organism that lives essentially forever. One has to excuse the sexual mixing of genes to strengthen them, and the mutation errors that also strengthen the species with time. It isn't the immortal soul we wanted, perhaps, but it's the immortal soul we've got. My hope was that this concept would help promote mutual understanding beteen the faithful and agnostics, but I find this idea of soul is unsatisfactory to folks on either side of that divide. Here's an earlier attempt:

On Item 10:
Perhaps I'll try to think this one through better sometime. Clearly (to me) both passion and conservation have value, but they can produce divergent actions. That's the reason for needing "balance". I'd be interested in the Stoic take on this dichotomy...