Photo by Art Hauntington on Unsplash
Everyone has an interest and stake in it. Triumph of irrationality
Some people stubbornly assert that they are rationalists and humanists. In fact, they are not.
In ancient times, religious superstitions gripped and overpowered the minds of our ancestors. Their reasoning power was extremely inadequate and underdeveloped. And that was natural at that time.
Our ancestors were under the massive mental control of their rulers and their religious agents, the professional priests in all religions with various titles. The heads of the religions laid down scriptural human conduct rules for observance by the people. Most of their selfishly misguided followers persecuted, tortured, and even killed the violators of the scriptural moral conduct rules.
They drilled into the two main superstitious ideas of heaven and hell into the minds of the masses in such a way that the masses became- and are-slaves to these irrational beliefs for centuries. They lived and are living in awe of heaven and fear of hell.
The writers of the scriptures inserted these superstitions in the scriptures of their religions and proclaimed them to be the inviolable voice of God.
Failure to be a harbinger of the new outlook
The spurious rationalists and humanists are double-faced.
The religiously superstitious people attend prayers at temples, churches, mosques, and so on.
They believe in the soul, heaven, hell, astrology, paranormal claims, witchcraft, ghosts, reincarnation, animal sacrifice for deity, rebirth, and so on.
Some people believe in race superiority by human’s birth, his skin color, or his domicile.
Some of the Indians immerse themselves in ‘holy’ rivers believing that this river water bath will free them from all their sins at once!
They believe in Vastu shastra and banamati.
They worship cows, rocks, trees, snakes, and so on either out of respect for them or out of a desire for favors from them or out of fear of the snake.
They fast and self-mortify for God’s favors of health, wealth, and happiness.
They persist in these superstitions because of their ignorance of the real world or the weight of irrational tradition or fear of social ostracism. You know that the hold of the superstitions on their minds has a history of centuries and continues even today to a considerably reduced extent.
If you aspire to be a true rationalist and humanist, you have to break the hold of these religious superstitions on your mind and uproot them one by one. You must emerge out of the world of the dark superstitious illusions into the world of rational light.
It is not easy and can’t be achieved overnight, but not impossible. It needs persistent commitment and practice with the utmost courage of conviction. Sometimes, the practice makes you socially lonely and debilitating. But persist you must to rise to be a truly mentally free human being.
In his classic book Why Men Fight, Bertrand Russell says that all human activities derive from three sources of the life of instinct, the life of the mind, and the life of the spirit- all the three overlap to some extent.
The life of instinct is the biological activity of self-preservation and procreation. The life of the mind is the thought process and its result, knowledge. It starts with curiosity about things, animate or inanimate. The life of the spirit is the feeling of emotions expressed in religion and in various art forms like literature, painting, music, drama, dance, and so on.
The human body is a complex biological machine with the three active forces, instinct, mind, and spirit which should be in harmony with one another for a happy, fulfilled, and complete life.
Remedy for balance in life
These three streams of human activities should be guided by the ten human values or commitments (listed in the poster with an explanation of each value created by the American Humanist Association and reproduced here below) to reach a balance among themselves.
Ten Human Values
I will help others in need without hoping for rewards.
I will practice good judgment by asking questions and thinking for myself.
I will consider other people’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
I will take care of the Earth and the life on it.
I will always focus on becoming a better person.
I will be a good neighbor to the people who share the Earth with me and help make the world a better place for everyone.
I will be aware of my strengths and weaknesses and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of others.
8.Peace and Social Justice
I will help people solve problems and handle disagreements in ways that are fair for everyone.
I will be a good person-even when no one is looking- and own the consequences of my actions.
10.Service and Participation
I will help my community in ways that let me get to know the people I’m helping.”
Bertrand Russell emphasizes:
“If men are to remain whole, it is very necessary that they should achieve a reconciliation of instinct, mind and spirit.” “All three must go together.” All three “are essential to a full life.”
With this balance among our three activities as the roadmap, we can change the world into a better place.
Again, in the world of Bertrand Russell, ‘The world is our world; it rests with us to make a heaven or a hell. The power is ours, and the kingdom and the glory would be ours also if we had courage and insight to create them.”
Only rational and humanist people can transform this world into heaven inhabited by happy people living a life of fulfillment.
Hope for a rational and humanist world
A rationalist must be a rationalist and humanist both in thinking and action based on his thinking. He should apply rationality and humanism to every aspect of his life and the world. There should not be a gap between his precept and his practice.
To think rationally in his consciousness and to live irrationally in his active outside life is his narrow and incomplete approach to rationalism and humanism. This intellectual wavering reflects his failure to meet the rather hard challenge of the new outlook.
I urge people to change themselves into truly rational and humanist human beings, with grit, courage, and foresight, in their own and the universal interest. My urge represents a universal, fervent appeal to the conscience of mankind.
Fake rationalists and humanists have a place reserved for them: the dilapidated house of the nameless in the rational and humanist world. May their tribe decrease!
May the tribe of the true rationalists and humanists increase!!
May all people adopt and implement the ten human values through a virtual revolution in their thinking and feeling of a far-reaching impact and enjoy a happy and fulfilled life!!!
Let us make this century a unique one.