So I have been asked the question time and again,
(Drum roll Please)
“What is Humanism?”
So…I decided to start at the beginning………
(Check out the video at the bottom also!)
…………. many of us are highly suspicious of anything with an ism attached to a words rear end. However, the reason it is an ism is purely because it was born in the time of the Renaissance where scholars like Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla, Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola began questioning the absoluteness of the Catholic Church and whether problems that plague humanity can be solved by humans rather that divine intervention.
Petrarch was an earlier humanist. But from the time of Valla, writers actively identified themselves as humanist. In spite of the fact that it is a logical and fairly simple argument, it was met, as most great ideas are,with great resistance. This was the model offered by the church,
HUMAN SUFFERING….CAUSED BY HUMANS ? = DIVINE INTERVENTION AND THE GRACE OF GOD
CONCLUSION = WE NEED SAVING
And the far more plausible one offered by Pico della Mirandola , Lorenzo Valla and the rest.
HUMAN SUFFERING….CAUSED BY HUMANS = HUMANS FIND A SOLUTION
CONCLUSION = WE CAN SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
As mentioned earlier, the Renaissance was was merely the beginning of a moment that spans to the present day. Humanism found voice in the science of psychology, with the notable forerunners like Abraham Maslow and Carl rogers.
Abraham Maslow criticized psychology for his dark and pessimistic attitude towards human beings and conceived a more optimistic outlook.He was the eldest of 7 children born in Brooklyn, New York and was born to parents who were Jewish Immigrants. He believed that human had an innate drive towards growth and actualization. We are born to reach a state of higher consciousness. Men like Buddha and Mandela have attained this state. His most famous conception is known as the hierarchy of needs, a diagram many people must be familiar with.
“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.” -Abraham Maslow
Carl rogers on the other hand was born to a strict Protestant family. He believed that societal structures were too rigid to account for something as dynamic as human experience, and humanity much to diverse to be care fully fitted into slots. he is widely recognized as the founder of client centered therapy and propagated the “good life”. He believed that people who were wholly and fully in the present moment would be able to experience life fully, for its every sorrow and joy. Here an individual is “fully into the stream of life” we no pre-conceived notion of who she is or must be.
“What I will be in the next moment, and what I will do grows out of this moment and cannot be predicted.”- Rogers
By always remaining open to everything that occurs, we allow our abilities to function and the greatest satisfaction from our experiences. He treated his clients with UPR or unconditional Positive regard in spite of the wrongs they have done or the faults they had. He was nominated for the Nobel peace Prize in 1987.
So dear reader what humanism is, is this…
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasizes the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, and generally prefers critical thinking and evidence over acceptance of dogma or superstition. It celebrates the birth of a free will as opposed to just blind faith.
There are a host of modern day humanists like,
You too my friend may be cut out of a similar cloth. If you think so…..please comment below!
I personally am a staunch believer in Humanism, thus the site name. I think the problems and challenges we face are ours to fix and that all humans are deserving of love, care and respect. Being a humanist is not very easy. If things go wrong, you take responsibility and not just shirk it off. Because even though you follow a particular religion, we messed up this planet and it is up to us to heal it. Not with screws and hammers and knives, but with love, care and empathy.
Hope you enjoyed the video!
It sums up humanism perfectly.