Meeting Was Held On -
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 8:49 PM
Once again our discussion group spent a stimulating and enjoyable few hours in the Library board room, discussing the ‘other’, speculating on the origins of our tendency to be wary of a non-member of our ‘group’.
Tons of great questions:
Was it agriculture that introduced the need to protect our ‘property’? Were the early (and modern) Olympic games a way for human beings to meet and compete non-lethally? Why did we take slaves to improve our gene pool (ugh) rather than simply embrace the other?
Did adherence to a designated ‘faith’ add to the evolving problem? How did we get to the point when we felt justified in converting, abusing, or even killing someone who was not part of our group? When did we begin be in deathly fear of the ‘other’, training warriors, soldiers, armies, etc.?
There is no ‘right way’. It’s not that simple.
Humanists are good at trusting science. When something is not known, we are comfortable saying “I don’t know”.
If someone can convince you to believe what cannot be demonstrated or proven, you can be convinced of anything.
What helps? Oppose ‘behaviour’ if you must, not the group.
No one wants to talk/negotiate/listen when they are humiliated or made to feel foolish.
Happy Winter Solstice!
The winter solstice connects us to Galileo, who revealed humanity’s true relationship to the Sun, usurped our place at the center of the universe, and was among the myriad revolutionary intellects that ushered in the Enlightenment. Those rational minds set humanity on the path of scientific and cultural progress to which we owe all our technological conveniences, modern egalitarianism, and a quality of life that would appear magical to all the generations before us. Every day our news is filled with the scientific discoveries of their philosophical descendants, always further resolving our understanding of our place in the cosmos.
And so the most significant yearly event in human history, the one upon which all other major winter holidays are founded, is quintessentially humanist. Before our ancestors began seeing “fairies in the garden” and added religious layers over the solstice, they simply looked out over the dawn horizon and saw the Sun rise over a particular mountaintop or tree and knew it was going to start climbing north again. And that gave them hope.
Winter solstice connects us to our future decedents; who we will never see. Carl Sagan described these future relatives as a species “with more of our strengths and fewer of our weaknesses, more confident, far seeing, capable, and prudent.” In other words, a more humanistic species. What better time to celebrate reason, compassion, hope, and humanity than on the longest night of the year?
excerpt from Ryan Somma – The Darkest Day: A Quintessentially Humanist Celebration