I describe myself as a ‘writer, thinker, humanist.’ The first two of these characteristics are inherent: I have a passion for words, their meanings, and the limitless ways to combine them and my mind is ever questioning and curious. Being a humanist, however, took some thought. It was a journey (a common one at that) from the myths and stories of religion to a broader understanding of my smallness in the universe, and the magic of human existence. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with us, that is, I became a humanist.
There is a lot to love about us I found. Our actual existence is a feat worth mentioning for instance. Here we are, tucked away in some remote system, in one galaxy amongst a universe of zillions – and we manage to navigate our way to the top of the food chain where we’ve learned to manipulate Nature and escape our gravitational boundaries. Our ability to walk upright, the refined development of our ‘pincer’ action (bringing together the thumb and the forefinger), and the emergence of a conscious have allowed us to plan, invent, and create like no other creature on this planet. We’ve even managed to tame some parts of Nature order to improve our existence; horses, dogs, and agriculture for example. We struggled through millions of years of ecological challenges in order to end up here – an immensely advanced animal. Yeah, it’s easy to fall in love with a creature that displays such tenacity and willingness to push the boundaries.
Besides ‘just’ our existence, there are other reasons for my infatuation with humanity. The resilience of the human spirit is an amazing trait. Many of us have faced abuse, torture, illness, and injustice – yet we fight to live another day. Our ability to extend compassion is a rare attribute in the animal kingdom, and no animal manifests this more than us humans. Every. Day. tales can be told of small kindnesses we share with each other: one might help a complete stranger retrieve a dropped something while another volunteers to babysit her best friend’s sick kid so she can go to work. Our willingness to help one another is one of my favorite observations about us. It gives me immense faith in our species.
Having faith in our fellow man is an integral part of being a humanist. It is my opinion that we could use more faith in ourselves. For some reason we seem reluctant to claim confidence in our ability to reason and do what is right. Maybe some of us haven’t fully realized our greatness within creation. Many are still muddling around with the myths and tales of old, many of which convince us that we are inherently evil and have no redeeming value within ourselves – hard to be confident with that mindset. The other issue is that such beliefs also insist that we deny ourselves any sense of confidence since to do so would be blasphemous against some higher being. Yet, if we leave the old, stale narratives behind for just a minute we can observe in ourselves perhaps the finest innate characteristic of all: we cannot help but ever come out on the side of right and good. In all our stories, in all our movies, in the narrative of every single hero we’ve ever invented – good always overcomes evil. Always. We don’t know any other way to write the gig. Sure evil has its moment, and sometimes we are led to a suspenseful scene when maybe all is lost. But we never give up. We never allow evil to win. That’s why we can have faith in humanity, because we have a proven history of enabling right and good to prevail. This is me, all doe eyed and love stupid, swept off my feet by our insistence that good always triumphs over evil.
Becoming a humanist was really quite an easy conclusion to reach. We’ve come so far. We’ve achieved so much. We struggle through overwhelming circumstances and still come out victorious. We support and help one another. We cannot even imagine a day when evil prevails. I’d root for us any time, any where ….and that’s why I am a humanist.