Humanists

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ConsciousPariah
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Re: Humanists

Post by ConsciousPariah » Sun Oct 23, 2016 11:23 am

Like many philosophical arguments this arrives back at Witgenstein with the realisation that it is simply debating the meaning of words. Just as only man can be narcisisstic, only man can "not" be narcisisstic, because only man has the cultural tools to concieve of the term, and narcisissm is a mode of being which must be consciously engaged in...

Belinda
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Re: Humanists

Post by Belinda » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:40 pm

I did that quiz too Greta. I was not 100% Humanist either. The questions are a little too simplistic for my liking and I too would have liked other options. I was only 87%.

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Greta
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Re: Humanists

Post by Greta » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:23 am

Belinda wrote:I did that quiz too Greta. I was not 100% Humanist either. The questions are a little too simplistic for my liking and I too would have liked other options. I was only 87%.
Multiple choice questions are always limiting.

We scored about the same, which probably isn't too surprising given that we both tend more towards modern learning than scriptures. I personally find it strange that modern humans living in this day and age, knowing what we now know, uncritically believe ancient scriptures are more aligned with reality than subsequent learning.

Maybe the issue is a yearning for our information to focus more on subjective experience? This was at least addressed and valued by the scriptures, even if the logic was off beam. This critical "I" is acknowledged as important, not brushed off as an insignificant dynamic amongst much larger and more important dynamics.

People want recognition, to be valued in a world where we are increasingly just a series of ID numbers, eventually to be consolidated into a single identifying numerical identity. The choice is either that constricting order or the savage wild. So there's understandable concern. How can science approach this topic when it must deal with the proven - and meanwhile the forbidding complexity of consciousness isn't waiting for us to catch up. People want answers now, not in some theoretical future, and that's not what science is about; it must operate in its own good time, even if science journalists try to fill the breach with unhelpful speculation.

So what can replace religion in regard to the individual? That appears to be the problem that humanists are trying to solve. To re-position the individual as important without the need for superstition. Perhaps it needs more than philosophy, an activity? Religions have prayer, hymns, chanting, dance, music, meditation, art and sculpture. Religions can be self-contained worlds, ye olde worlde bubbles of tradition within modern secular society.

Humanists will need their own visceral experiences version to "catch on", I expect. People want real experiences that go beyond the practical and the abstract, even if it's just the routine singing and prayer of Christian "weekend warriors".

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Lacewing
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Re: Humanists

Post by Lacewing » Mon Oct 24, 2016 6:14 am

Greta wrote:People want answers now, not in some theoretical future...
What if the answer is that there are NO rigid, unchanging answers? That we and life/existence are constantly and dynamically in motion. I think that the "next stage" of humankind might involve/require a significant shift in how we view everything. Rather than finding a different/new set of structural ideas to build on, maybe we will actually embrace that we are part of a continual state of change... and see the power and beauty in that. Instead of holding firm, we let go and relax into a greater flow, that is more efficiently "wired" than our individual selves. Then our individuality isn't something to covet and protect in a bubble... rather, it's an opportunity to explore and exchange on a larger network.

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Greta
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Re: Humanists

Post by Greta » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:01 am

Lacewing wrote:
Greta wrote:People want answers now, not in some theoretical future...
What if the answer is that there are NO rigid, unchanging answers? That we and life/existence are constantly and dynamically in motion. I think that the "next stage" of humankind might involve/require a significant shift in how we view everything. Rather than finding a different/new set of structural ideas to build on, maybe we will actually embrace that we are part of a continual state of change... and see the power and beauty in that. Instead of holding firm, we let go and relax into a greater flow, that is more efficiently "wired" than our individual selves. Then our individuality isn't something to covet and protect in a bubble... rather, it's an opportunity to explore and exchange on a larger network.
It's well enough known that reality changes constantly but we want to understand how and why it changes, not to just flop back into it like an unknown bubble bath (that could contain piranha for all we know). We want to know why are we alive? What are we supposed to do, if anything. What is the best use of this time we have? What is right, or whose "rights" are the more correct? Valid or not, these are the questions that come up all the time.

If you try to tell miserable people that they should actually pay attention to the world outside of themselves and to appreciate and embrace it they would tear you another one :lol: For whatever reason, people often seem compelled to suffer through complete reliance on others' current opinions for their happiness. To free themselves from care about the court of public opinion is unthinkable to them, akin to exile. They cannot see value in the simple things that most humans don't think or care much about, and to them most of nonhuman reality is basically a null, unimportant. It's a precarious and irrational way to live, and can easily lead to unthinking damage to other species IMO

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Re: Humanists

Post by Belinda » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:18 am

Greta wrote:
Lacewing wrote:
Greta wrote:People want answers now, not in some theoretical future...
What if the answer is that there are NO rigid, unchanging answers? That we and life/existence are constantly and dynamically in motion. I think that the "next stage" of humankind might involve/require a significant shift in how we view everything. Rather than finding a different/new set of structural ideas to build on, maybe we will actually embrace that we are part of a continual state of change... and see the power and beauty in that. Instead of holding firm, we let go and relax into a greater flow, that is more efficiently "wired" than our individual selves. Then our individuality isn't something to covet and protect in a bubble... rather, it's an opportunity to explore and exchange on a larger network.
It's well enough known that reality changes constantly but we want to understand how and why it changes, not to just flop back into it like an unknown bubble bath (that could contain piranha for all we know). We want to know why are we alive? What are we supposed to do, if anything. What is the best use of this time we have? What is right, or whose "rights" are the more correct? Valid or not, these are the questions that come up all the time.

If you try to tell miserable people that they should actually pay attention to the world outside of themselves and to appreciate and embrace it they would tear you another one :lol: For whatever reason, people often seem compelled to suffer through complete reliance on others' current opinions for their happiness. To free themselves from care about the court of public opinion is unthinkable to them, akin to exile. They cannot see value in the simple things that most humans don't think or care much about, and to them most of nonhuman reality is basically a null, unimportant. It's a precarious and irrational way to live, and can easily lead to unthinking damage to other species IMO
I looked up the meaning of 'tear you another one'. I've been ruminating about what must have been a slower rate of learning before electronic info retrieval.

I wouldn't want to do passivity as per Lacewing's . For one thing passivity goes against my ingrained Protestant conscience and I can be passive when I go to sleep. When awake I want to be aware as I can be about the dangers and the delights.
I'm not gregarious and positively like solitude so other people's opinions don't matter to me unduly, although I often try not to make a public fool of myself. Lacewing recommends accepting a state of change as if it were a passive attitude. I do actively and happily accept change on its all-creation level. On that level change is a slight consolation for personal loss. Therefore a religious quest founded upon cosmic change instead of upon the certainty of some creed would suit me .

For another thing, I have tried Lacewing's sort of passivity and it was no help for me. I 'learned' to do TM and did it for eighteen months: I did another sort of meditation which likewise made no perceptible difference to my feelings or my learning: church services make me sad, although I might possibly like the Latin mass as I would be unable to understand it, likewise the Koran in Arabic. Does Greta think or feel that music is active or passive activity?

I'd like Greta to expand about " the simple things" : some examples to show me what they are, and are the simple things both necessary and sufficient for the good life. I foretell that Greta and I will heartily agree that one of those wise simple things is dogs :)

Greta wrote in a slightly earlier post:
That appears to be the problem that humanists are trying to solve. To re-position the individual as important without the need for superstition. Perhaps it needs more than philosophy, an activity? Religions have prayer, hymns, chanting, dance, music, meditation, art and sculpture. Religions can be self-contained worlds, ye olde worlde bubbles of tradition within modern secular society.
I think that reason requires that individuals think as individuals. To me, this means that individuals as subjects of experience do the better thinking. Anyway, to still more endorse the individual, how could an individual think, feel, and reason if they were not coming from, and spurred on by, some perspective? More, religions, even the more authoritarian ones, have an aspect of serving the individual as an individual. This aspect may be contrary to the accepted creed, which I think may be why the mystical sides of Christianity and Islam are not endorsed by political aspects of Christianity and Islam.
prayer, hymns, chanting, dance, music, meditation, art and sculpture.
are all arts. Arts are for individuals except in those cases when politicians and politically correct people sensor the arts and the artists. Indoctrination is sensorship, and religions often indoctrinate through sensored art forms such as the repetition of certain hymn lyrics and group prayers.

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Lacewing
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Re: Humanists

Post by Lacewing » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:49 pm

Belinda and Greta... it's interesting that both of you gals perceive what I was talking about as "passivity". I can see that view, but that's not at all the description I would choose to give it. More like "surrendering to a broader spectrum"... and using the insight and efficiency of that WHILE still being actively involved. :)

I'm just imagining that humankind's evolution could very likely involve a MAJOR shift in HOW we think. Perhaps it's difficult for our egos to imagine functioning beyond our focus on these "selves". But there might be even more fulfillment BEYOND the concept of "selves". Maintaining a "self" is actually a whole lot of work... with lots of fear and struggle. If humankind tapped into flowing with a broader current rather than fighting against it (for control) -- it might be an extraordinarily fulfilling existence beyond this world!

I'm just tossing out the idea of such a "next step"... that's all! I actually hope to experience such a thing in my lifetime. I've had brief glimpses that have left me with an impression that's impossible to forget. Like being in room that I thought was well lit, but then an unknown door briefly opened, spilling such incredibly brilliant light into the room, that I realized how "contained" this world is (at least for me). Hasn't man always thought he was seeing mostly all there was to see?

Our modern-age development/advancement seems to have tangled us in our own advanced wiring, tying us to the physical and our "satellite selves" in such a way that we are extremely susceptible to debilitating thought viruses and hacking. :shock: Ironically, being wired into such a system may be a truer example of passivity! Are we truly free and in control... or are we part of a machine? Have we become oblivious to natural frequencies we are a part of, and the vast capability they offer us? Have we become too convinced and addicted with our mechanized "selves"?

This line of questioning/exploration -- although offering no solid answers based on our current models -- may at least spark acknowledgement and contemplation that our current boundaries are something we humans can/will surely EXTEND WELL BEYOND with our evolution. And that may provide some believability for being released from intoxications that we are currently defined and limited by. I'm just guessing! :)

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Greta
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Re: Humanists

Post by Greta » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:20 am

Belinda wrote:I do actively and happily accept change on its all-creation level. On that level change is a slight consolation for personal loss. Therefore a religious quest founded upon cosmic change instead of upon the certainty of some creed would suit me .

For another thing, I have tried Lacewing's sort of passivity and it was no help for me. I 'learned' to do TM and did it for eighteen months: I did another sort of meditation which likewise made no perceptible difference to my feelings or my learning: church services make me sad, although I might possibly like the Latin mass as I would be unable to understand it, likewise the Koran in Arabic. Does Greta think or feel that music is active or passive activity?

I'd like Greta to expand about " the simple things" : some examples to show me what they are, and are the simple things both necessary and sufficient for the good life. I foretell that Greta and I will heartily agree that one of those wise simple things is dogs :)
Meditation didn't do it for me, either. Horses for courses, as they say. Many, like LW, swear by it.

For me, it's being content "living in a small world", not doing very much but allowing myself to be aware of the little things rather than reflexively brush them off as "insignificant". There comes a time when realises that absolutely everything and everyone is amazing when you consider it in detail. This is the message from those who have had a brush with death and returned from NDEs - we tend to take an awful lot for granted. Everything gets reduced to abstractions that are considered to be functional within social parameters, often more with the aim to impress than express.

Some simple things: looking at the sky, observing, tending (and killing, alas) various animals (including dogs :) and plants, online conversations, listening to music, practising, jamming and home recording, reading fiction and non fiction (and trying to find a way to get ideas down without having someone else stimulate the ideas), sketching and doodling, movies, documentaries, vegetarian cooking using fresh and dried ingredients ...

Greta wrote in a slightly earlier post:
prayer, hymns, chanting, dance, music, meditation, art and sculpture.
Belinda wrote:are all arts. Arts are for individuals except in those cases when politicians and politically correct people sensor the arts and the artists. Indoctrination is sensorship, and religions often indoctrinate through censored art forms such as the repetition of certain hymn lyrics and group prayers.
Consider the boisterous singing and dancing that goes on in southern black congregation, the services are well documented on film. It looks a lot more appealing for certain personalities than sitting around with humanists discussing cerebral topics. Consider the beautiful environs of churches. No matter what the politics behind them, it physically feels good to be in such a beautiful space.

The building of communities, as religions have done, seems to require a multi-faceted approach that can appeals across many demographics.

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Lacewing
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Re: Humanists

Post by Lacewing » Tue Oct 25, 2016 3:29 am

Greta to Belinda wrote:Meditation didn't do it for me, either. /... Many, like LW, swear by it.
No I don't! Meditation has never worked for me either! The closest I come to meditation is when I SOMETIMES walk around outside in the woods, eyes open, while keeping my mind quiet and observing for a little while. But I don't think we have to go through any particular motions/routines to naturally connect and flow with life -- so I'm not a good student of disciplines that tell me what to do.

What you've said below, Greta, applies for me too...
Greta wrote:...allowing myself to be aware of the little things rather than reflexively brush them off as "insignificant". There comes a time when realises that absolutely everything and everyone is amazing when you consider it in detail. This is the message from those who have had a brush with death and returned from NDEs - we tend to take an awful lot for granted.
It is true that a brush with death can really help put things into perspective. Life is very vibrant compared to nothingness. :)

The experiences I've spoken of... where I seem to glimpse a broader scope (for myself) and receive answers/insight I seek... are not a result of meditation. I would describe it as happening when I'm desperate enough or open enough that my frequency changes and I "tune-into" it. In those moments it is instantaneous. I do not have to close my eyes, nor chant, nor weave shamanic bones into my hair (although that sounds like fun). I ask with absolute sincerity: "What do I need to see here?"... and instantly I see it! I think anyone can do this if it's really where their heart is at. (And after it happens a few times, it becomes less surprising that it really happens like that!) It feels like a glimpse behind the curtains of our present world... not something you'd want to overdo (I think)... because it kind of "blows the fragile structures/models of this world away". Until more of us want to live like that (and are willing to accept being on such a frequency together) on this planet, I will limit my sips from that fountain. :) It's life-changing to simply experience such a thing though.

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Greta
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Re: Humanists

Post by Greta » Tue Oct 25, 2016 7:41 am

Lacewing wrote:No I don't! Meditation has never worked for me either! The closest I come to meditation is when I SOMETIMES walk around outside in the woods, eyes open, while keeping my mind quiet and observing for a little while. But I don't think we have to go through any particular motions/routines to naturally connect and flow with life -- so I'm not a good student of disciplines that tell me what to do.
Sorry LW, I have misrepresented you. I mistakenly thought that that was what you were referring to.
Lacewing wrote:The experiences I've spoken of... where I seem to glimpse a broader scope (for myself) and receive answers/insight I seek... are not a result of meditation. I would describe it as happening when I'm desperate enough or open enough that my frequency changes and I "tune-into" it. In those moments it is instantaneous.
Ah yes, that point in time when, after much effort put into a personal project, you can reach The Fuckit Moment. We are trained by society to care too much. After an extended period of caring desperately about every damn detail you can get burned out, at which point you go back to basics - and things start flowing again.
Lacewing wrote: I ask with absolute sincerity: "What do I need to see here?"... and instantly I see it!
Ahh Grasshopper, they say that the correct answer will naturally come to those who ask the correct question :)

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Lacewing
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Re: Humanists

Post by Lacewing » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:16 pm

Greta wrote:Ah yes, that point in time when, after much effort put into a personal project, you can reach The Fuckit Moment. /... After an extended period of caring desperately about every damn detail you can get burned out, at which point you go back to basics - and things start flowing again
Yep, some real clarity can happen then!

I think it's good to try to stay sober of how often we are blocking the flow and "getting in our own way". Being compassionate and maintaining humor for ourselves and others is helpful. It's stunning to experience when a shift in perspective/flow can make the heavy/immovable become light/effortless. I'm fascinated by the implications of that!

Yet, this IS such an intoxicating environment to try to stay clear in. We are amazing sweet warriors to thrash around blind and handicapped as we do.

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Greta
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Re: Humanists

Post by Greta » Wed Oct 26, 2016 5:36 am

Lacewing wrote:
Greta wrote:Ah yes, that point in time when, after much effort put into a personal project, you can reach The Fuckit Moment. /... After an extended period of caring desperately about every damn detail you can get burned out, at which point you go back to basics - and things start flowing again
Yep, some real clarity can happen then!

I think it's good to try to stay sober of how often we are blocking the flow and "getting in our own way". Being compassionate and maintaining humor for ourselves and others is helpful. It's stunning to experience when a shift in perspective/flow can make the heavy/immovable become light/effortless. I'm fascinated by the implications of that!

Yet, this IS such an intoxicating environment to try to stay clear in. We are amazing sweet warriors to thrash around blind and handicapped as we do.
I wonder if there's a technical term in psychology for the phenomenon, where one can become quite calm and centred after being humbled and down in the dumps for a while. When all hope of reinflating one's flagging ego has passed suddenly everything flows again. Like our own little internal Murphy!

Belinda
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Re: Humanists

Post by Belinda » Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:04 am

https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... the-brain/

Is among what I found when I googled 'intuition'.

My googling 'intuition' was in response to Greta's what happens after "the Fuckit Moment" , and Lacewing's piece on asking the right question.

patmacx
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Re: Humanists

Post by patmacx » Sat Nov 19, 2016 11:46 pm

Having retired some two years ago I've picked up on some old interests I rarely had time for while at work. This includes the old habit of reading, including some philosophy, I use the term in its broadest sense to include atheism, secularism, humanism, and recently, Existentialism. I call myself a Humanist, and a humanist, having been in childhood and youth a Catholic of the Irish variety, ie the worst/best ( you choose! ) and through the years of my maturity an agnostic. Now, in early old age I call myself a ' Humanist'. And so it was that I came to this topic on the forum, hoping to learn something, but, alas, I see nothing has changed since my brief contact with Humanist groups in London in the seventies! Then it was three, possibly if you were lucky, four chaps in knitwear, usually grey, beards and sandals, and a young lady, also in grey, but not bearded! Not much was said, certainly Humanism was never mentioned, no one was introduced, but there might have been one or two words on the weather. After a while shuffling around a room over a pub a young lady, in grey, naturally, would turn up and present a talk on contraception or abortion, usually in a grey monotone. Desultory applause followed for, maybe, thirty seconds, then everyone went home. Naturally, I never bothered beyond a couple of meetings. Humanism didn't seem to have the appeal of the Latin mass somehow! And now this site and this topic! Hoping for enlightenment, what do I find? The electronic version of the old meeting of the seventies! Bye bye!

Belinda
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Re: Humanists

Post by Belinda » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:33 am

Patmacx , the Humanist get-togethers which I attended were not grey or sparsely attended but were actually quite popular with about thirty people attending. All were middle class intellectuals and none was under the age of thirty.

I recognise that the gist of your complaint about Humanist meetings is true. That is to say Humanist meetings lack colourful ritual. Close associates of Humanists such as Quakers, and Unitarians , also lack colourful rituals.

Protestantism generally is grey with Calvinist intellectual zeal compared with RC emotionality. Humanism, like Protestantism, is an upshot from the death of the Age of Faith and the advent of Reformation and Enlightenment.

I suggest that the arts have taken over the role which was formerly that of the old RC Church . Pope Francis and others are manfully keeping alive the ethical spirit of Jesus Christ in the RC Church and in the world.

There is a state of affairs such that faith has died and Humanism has not engaged the interest or sympathies of the people. This is not a sufficient reason for Humanists to give up but it is a powerful reason for all of us of whatever faith background or none to define and glorify those ethics which support truth and goodness. There is no centre any more, no absolute criteria. The intelligent and sympathetic Pope Francis is as much a humanist as any Humanist.

Colour and ritual are the sugar in the bread .

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