Is There a New Humanism?

Part of a message from R. Trelles to a member of the New Humanism Movement (Apr/97).

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indent For the last months, I have been checking what I could about the New Humanism trend, and I have exchanged messages with several members of its movement.
indent I don't think there are "kinds" of humanism. Neither new, nor secular, universalist, christian, etc. There are only degrees of understanding of humanism and, unfortunate but very common also, people who partially use humanism to support certain agendas, good, bad, or so-so ones. These people do it either because they still lack a full understanding of humanism or because they want to avoid too complex an involvement (again, for lack of understanding, that would show them humanism is worth its full knowledge and application!).
indent Humanism is so solid, complete and grounded on our surrounding reality, that results very attractive and can't be refuted (except through lies, distortions, etc). What makes it excellent as a foundation for many agendas.
indent I have noticed four basic obstacles to the spreading and full application of the humanist view of life:

1. As it seems so far we have lacked a clear and complete presentation of humanism, we have the technical problem of making this information known, and have to wait for this, as with any new information, to be absorbed.

2. Many people have been irrationally indoctrinated that "humanism is bad", and conditioned to block themseves from accessing it. The demonstration of working humanism in practice breaks soon or latter those blockings.

3. Unbelivably, it takes time for people to grasp humanism because they see it "to good and clear to be true". This is an extension of case 1.

4. For a person to take full advantage of humanism he/she has to get rid of his/her primary animal emotions of hatred and resentment. Again, an evolutionary process is required. Which is made harder because many manipulators, some of whom even call themselves humanists, use and promote hatred and resentment as an easy means of driving people along!

indent So if we, truly, understand humanism and, truly, want to spread and apply it, we have to work against those obstacles.
indent Following I'll make some reflections about the writing "What Is the Humanist Movement?" you sent me. I would appreciate if you do the same with the ones in MHEC's site. (Full original text at the bottom)

> ... in order to galvanize and orient the great changes that are coming...
> A great change is approaching.
indent Coming from where, and how? Are we expecting another "big bang" or something? Or are we, childishly, hoping for things to get so bad that big social convultions and revolutions will occur, that would cleanse and make things right, and are we working to bring them faster and bigger! Or that by complaining and exposing "bad people" these will change?
> Our old ways of thinking are in crisis; they can no longer provide answers 
> to today's problems.
indent All the basic facts of humanism are actually ancient. What is new is putting them really and completely together and putting them in an honest and intelligent way to work.
> We believe in human beings, in their possibilities to change themselves and 
> in their capacity to transform the world they live in.
indent Core humanist concepts, no doubts about it!
> We believe that history consists of the accumulating contributions to 
> overcoming pain and suffering that pass from generation to generation.
indent That's too tragic a view.
> All of us have the right to adequate food, health care, education, and 
> housing, and the right to build our future. Today it is entirely possible 
> to fulfill these basic rights for all, although for this to become a 
> reality we will need to change the existing primitive social system. 
indent In basic terms, we don't have rights to anything (such that if "the rest" don't grant those rights to me, I am a "victim" of injustice, entitled to fight back, and conquer what I am "entitled" to).
indent Nobody has to give me anything. I am not entitled to nothing that I am not capable to generate its equivalent for exchange. Again, in basic terms, society is nothing but a mutual convenience association.
indent Now, as evolved humans, we can do far better than that. We can educate people into the convenience and pleasure of, first, help each other to develop and be highly productive, and then to give back to each one what the wealth he/she produces is worth. If necessary (as it often is!), we can group and effectively and soundly make democracy work to ensure this last.
indent Then we can even educate people into the convenience and pleasure of helping people in distress, and even to warrant a decent minimal survival to absolutely everyone. But this is only a result of the normal functioning of the normal, fully productive majority of society, and their education. To start by pointing to "rights" to these things are clear symptoms of demagogism!
> Every person, every country, all races and cultures have something to 
> contribute to the world of the future - Humanists believe that every 
> person counts.
indent Again, core humanist concepts. Everybody has more than something to contribute.
> "Treat others as you would like to be treated"
indent I'm afraid most people don't fully know how they could or should be treated, and can get more confused when asked to treat others with the treatment they would dream to receive from them. It is better to show everybody the ample possibilities of mutually beneficial, and enjoyable, human relations. And to show those relations in practice and to help people to progressively carry them on.
> the H.M. supports a new model in which the human being is 
> the central value - neither the State, Capital, God, nor any other entity 
> or institution is placed above the human being
indent Both the State, Capital, "God" (churches), etc are made of humans. The State should even be a mere instrument of the society. So they shouldn't be seen separated from the human beings. It's the humans in them that should change, with the institutions changing accordingly.
> Instead of helping us develop and evolve, today's established value 
> system continues to impose a way of life that is based on egoism and 
> "every person for him or herself," which only intensifies the erosion of 
> human values and meaning in life.
indent A bit too tragic, but mainly true. It's the value systems and the systems.Now, any alternative system must be rooted in the complexities of the human behavior. Dreaming of angelical societies leads to nowhere except deception.
> we organize meetings to carry out works of personal
> development that enable us to connect with our inner force, ...
indent I think we are born all connected. We certainly do need to know and develop our capabilities.
indent I don't know the details of those meetings, but I have H.M. published speeches that include repetitive invocations and pleas to "Guides", for strength, wisdom, etc.
indent There is no wisdom like (nor a surer one than) the one that comes from real human experience, own or learned from other, real, humans. There is no intellectual strength like the one that comes from the realization of our real capabilities and from a clear, sound, view of life.
indent Also, while I was writing these comments, I received the H.M.'s Electronic Magazine No. 9. It is an extreme signal to see in it contributions like those from Jorge D'Alesio and Jerome Smith, which extensibly present future "humanist" societies, all perfect, with no money and complete abundance for all. Which would be attained by thousands and millions joining the H.M., and by people, little by little, starting to give "articles" for free made in their free time.
indent Nobody with a minimum sense of reality can believe such childish assertions as attainable nor desirable. Apparently, enough people are doubtful or even get enthusiastic about them. But something nobody can be doubtful about is that the H.M. gets 260 dollars each year from each person it manages to drag with such illusions.
indent This message resulted stronger than I thought when I started writing it. But humanity's problems are certainly serious and, as I am convinced these problems are solvable for sure and that complete humanism is essential to it, I don't hesitate to speak clearly about all this. Because I believe in the Human Being, thus in you friend ... , who sooner or latter will understand all this.
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(Full original document follows)

                   What Is the Humanist Movement?

Definition

We are people from many different countries and cultures who are coming 
together to organize, grow, and gain strength in order to galvanize and 
orient the great changes that are coming so that they go in the direction 
of a truly human society.

Origins

The Humanist Movement was founded in the late '60s by Mario Rodiguez 
Cobos, better known as Silo, a thinker and author from Latin America 
whose works have given rise to New Humanism. Since its founding the H.M. 
has expanded to more than 75 countries on five continents.

Our Situation Today 

A great change is approaching. Our old ways of thinking are in crisis; 
they can no longer provide answers to today's problems. Human beings 
have grown, and now feel stifled by today's social system that severely 
deprives them of freedom. Increasingly, human beings are mistreated in 
their work, cheated by the economic system, and lied to by politicians. 
They feel a painful lack of communication with themselves and their 
families. 

The Core Ideas of New Humanism

We believe in human beings, in their possibilities to change themselves 
and in their capacity to transform the world they live in.

We believe that history consists of the accumulating contributions to 
overcoming pain and suffering that pass from generation to generation. 

All of us have the right to adequate food, health care, education, and 
housing, and the right to build our future. Today it is entirely possible 
to fulfill these basic rights for all, although for this to become a 
reality we will need to change the existing primitive social system. 

Every person, every country, all races and cultures have something to 
contribute to the world of the future - Humanists believe that every 
person counts.

All discrimination and violence are repugnant to us. Our methodology for 
transforming the world and ourselves is active non-violence.

We invite others to participate with us in the moral principle that says: 
Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Overall Objectives

The Humanist Movement works for an overall change in society, which is 
possible only by transforming the power structures of the present system 
(the legal system and values that rule our social organization). To make 
this a reality, the H.M. supports a new model in which the human being 
is the central value - neither the State, Capital, God, nor any other 
entity or institution is placed above the human being. 

In addition, the H.M. aspires for human beings to surpass their personal 
suffering, and to discover or strengthen the meaning of their lives. In 
other words, we aim to transform today's established system of values. 

Instead of helping us develop and evolve, today's established value 
system continues to impose a way of life that is based on egoism and 
"every person for him or herself," which only intensifies the erosion of 
human values and meaning in life. 

We aspire, then, to carry out social change and personal development 
simultaneously. 

How We Are Organized 

As Humanists we organize meetings to carry out works of personal
development that enable us to connect with our inner force, to
communicate with each other, and to strengthen our faith and meaning
in life. These meetings take place each week in people's homes, our
humanist centers, or where we study or work.

We also develop tools for social action: neighborhood centers and
newspapers, local radio and TV stations, as well as publishing houses,
Centers of Communication, Humanist Clubs of all kinds, Multi-Cultural
Centers, and the Humanist Party, our instrument of political
expression.

The structure of the H.M. today consists of some 20,000 members. It is
organized simply, with orientors, who start new groups and launch
tools for action; administratives, who ensure that information
circulates effectively and reaches everyone who participates in the
H.M.; and support members, who assist other members in gaining
personal strength and development. The structure of the H.M. is
organized so that each person orients that part of the whole which he
or she has built.

Members of the structure make three commitments: to participate in the 
weekly meetings of personal work; to make a twice-yearly contribution 
of  $130 to finance the worldwide activities of the structure; and to 
take on the task of giving orientation in life to all those who need it.

Proposal

Our central activity now is to make our organization grow both in
numbers and capacity for action. We are carrying out an important
campaign to structure several hundred thousand people worldwide who
will give life to neighborhood, political, and institutional
activities to change society, and help to spread the word about this
movement. These are people who feel ready to make personal and social
changes that will initiate a new stage in human history.

(Anyone interested can visit www.humanism.org)


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