Humanist Symposium #12

Humanist Symposium #12

DEDICATED TO BLUE LINCHPIN

Greetings one and all. It is my pleasure to present this Humanist Symposium, the last one of the year.

Before we go any further, I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate this Humanist Symposium to Blue Linchpin. Her last post was June 11th and she had been struggling with cancer for some time. This would be a tragedy no matter who it was, but when it happens to someone so young and so intellectually alive, it seems all the more unfair. After silence for so long, I think we all fear the worst.

 

I couldn’t think of a particularly unique or clever way to present this Symposium (!), so I’ve decided to offer each submission with my personal reflections on each article.

Let’s get started:

 

A Load of Bright presents a treatise On Patriotism. This is a brief but excellent summation of the arbitrary nature of nationality, and why the author identifies himself as a citizen of earth first and foremost, instead of referring to the accidental place of birth. This article echoes my personal opinions on the matter too.

Greta Christina’s Blog – A Relationship Between Physical Things: Yet Another Rant on What Consciousness and Selfhood Might Be

This is a succinct, eloquent, and very enjoyable read about the nature of human consciousness; blowing dualism out of the water.

Wild Philosophy – Humanism – Nietzsche and Camus

An interesting insight into one humanist’s political and moral positions, inspired by Camus. I agree with hardly anything said in this controversial article but it’s definitely worth a read.

Spanish Inquisitor – My Reunion

I had the pleasure of reading this article when it was first posted on Span’s blog which I frequent. This is a beautiful and touching story that I strongly recommend everyone read.

An Apostate’s Chapel – Words of Wisdom from Walt Whitman

A nice poem, and a few words from the blogger about how he feels being an humanist means a connection and a responsibility with and to all people, and the planet itself.

Sharp Brains – Robert Emmons on The Positive Psychology of Gratitude

This article is a question and answer session with Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis, on the positive mental and physical effects of holding a better psychological approach in life.

Next up, we have Greta Christina again, with If You Weren’t an Atheist, What Would You Be?

Here, Greta asks if we can we find the good things in religion but without all the rubbish that goes with it. In doing so, she looks at all the major religions and some minor ones, and gives her personal opinions on them. This is well researched and nicely put together. A definite must-read.

Richard, at Philosophy, et cetera talks about Critical Values …and defends the value of rational disagreement, something I strongly agree with!

Ranaban in the article Brian May Not Like This…briefly talks about the slaughter of whales and why he thinks the suffering of animals should give them the right to not be harmed.

Next, is Reason and Capitalism with an excellent article entitled Cold Reason. I gave a big thumbs up to the monitor after reading this very brief but eloquent passage!

Skeptic’s Play presents a short essay explaining why life has Meaning Without God. From the article itself: “just because the universe is uncaring doesn’t mean we have to be. We may be invisible from just a few light-years away, but we’re not a few light-years away—we’re right here.”

Next, we have Shaun Connell again over at Reason and Capitalism with The Pursuit of Happiness.  I really like this short article, explaining what true happiness is from a Randian point of view; realising our values, with morality (based on reason) and reality (objective non-contradiction) as our permanent guides and checkpoints in achieving those goals, and therefore achieving happiness.

The Urban Monk treats us to a really interesting and quite contemplative article Love and Loneliness – Unravelling the Ego and Pride. This is an unusual submission for the Humanist Symposium but the sentiment is quite catching; self-love, pride, self-esteem, ego, from a non-theistic spiritual point of view.

Innovation Politics presents Democratizing Politics, which contrasts “typical” democracy that we’re used to today with a novel concept called “Open Politics”, which sounds quite revolutionary.

Get into the seasonal spirit with Letters From A Broad and Festive Carols for a Merry (Secular) Christmas and other Happy Holidays!

Atheist Revolution presents Responding to Anti-Atheist Bigotry. This top class article is best summed up by its own closing words: Perhaps we should strive for a more balanced approach by increasing the proportion of offensive to defensive responses. The last thing we want to do is foster the already prevalent view that religious belief is somehow exempt from criticism. Atheism, when one understands what it is and what it is not, needs no defense. On the other hand, faith-based belief is simply indefensible.”

Atheist Ethicist presents a case for objective non-religious morality based on values and human desires. Read it here.

Finally, I present my own article Standing On The Shoulders of Giants. From the dawn of man through the ages and all the greats that have come and gone, I consider being alive in this modern era as a privilege akin to sitting at the feet of the masters of history, with no boundary on what we can learn, or what the human race can achieve.

 

Thanks to all for ‘attending’. This will probably be my last submission to the Humanist Symposium for the foreseeable future, but it was a privilege to host it, and thanks to Ebonmuse for some hand-holding through the process!

The next Humanist Symposium will be over at Faith In Honest Doubt on January 6th, 2008. You can submit articles here.

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