Trading my Humanism for Nihilism

Humanism

A rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.

In other words, faith in our own innate goodness and ability to do the right thing without the threat of eternal damnation or the promise of countless virgins.

A few years ago, an ex-mormon that I have great respect for called me a Humanist. I had never heard the term before and was very curious as to what humanism was and how he thought I was one.

You see, I thought I was an atheist, pure and simple. Faith was for the weak-minded and the ability to abuse that faith for one’s own hypocritical and corrupt ends was just so obvious to me that I found myself becoming intolerant of all whom espoused faith as their credo.

But then this guy calls me a humanist and I thought, hmmmm, rational thinking and spirituality all in one neat little package? Could this be the way forward, a path to reaching those blinded by faith and gently drag them into the 21st century?

But recent events have made me realize that humanism is just like all the other religious dogmas in that even a humanist must accept on faith the tenets of it’s philosophy. That what I was so sure of, chiefly, that our collective ability to overcome greed and evil was surely unabashable, was not faith-driven, but an immutable law
of nature, as sure as gravity.

And like all other faiths, it has been proven false. We are not going to get out of this alive. We are greedy, selfish, corrupt and nothing will change that.

So, I guess this makes me a newly-converted nihilist?

As such, I am gonna take something away from all y’all that done brung us hereabouts. I am gonna relieve you of one of your iconic symbols. I am gonna take Lynyrd Skynyrd away from you.

Why? Cuz I can and all y’all took my belief in the goodness of each other away from me.

Cuz here’s the thing. As a young man of 17, I discovered the southern stompin, starsnbars waving force that was Skynyrd. They informed and shaped whom I would become as a man, a liberal artist. You (you being the Trump voter) thought they represented your backwards racist ways didn’t you? Sure, they chastised Canadian folk and rock legend Neil Young for his songs Southern Man and Alabama in their anthem to shit-kickin Sweet Home Alabama, but that’s all you get.

Y’all know how you love your guns so damn much? Well, I hate guns. Why?

Cuz this song taught me too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zUGd-VC3wk

As did this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM3jgkChV6M

So your icons were seemingly against guns.

Y’all know how much you love to espouse the sanctity of marriage and being faithful? Sorry, Skynyrd says:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np0solnL1XY

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoPGi8uWDb8

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlKJiZ8ymM4

So ya, Ronnie and de boys weren’t so into fidelity.

Oh, ya, you know how y’all just elected the biggest corporate stooge to ever shame your country? The boys weren’t so into big corps either.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmljOhXi5-Q

And here’s the final kick in all y’alls’ shit-caked levis. You know how y’all love to hate on the black man?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03TgkCVDlrA

So there ya go Southern Man. Skynyrd belongs to liberal progressives and not all y’all.

Chew on that.

Belief in man’s inherent goodness is patently absurd, but what’s some 70’s rock band got to do with the price of tea in China?

Now the Rainmakers have some insightful lyrics.

Or you could smoke a joint and listen to Yes for some ersatz spiritual enlightenment.

Neil Young concluded rock music can’t change the world. That’s because it’s just - like - music, man.

I never understood Grateful Dead fans or juggalos. What’s the big deal?

No it isn’t. Man does bad things, and not so good and not so bad things, and good things. It’s clearly not absolute goodness, but there is goodness there.

Awesome 3am post, and it’s not even 3am yet!

I’ll have whatever he’s having.

Problem is, though, what yardstick do you use to measure ‘goodness?’. There are perfectly nice, decent people in various places who think it’s right and proper to whip off bits of your daughter’s anatomy with a rusty razor, or to kill your neighbour if he offends you. I think toe save’s assessment on that score is pretty accurate: an atheist who is also a nihilist at least has a logically-consistent philosophy.

I think it’s enough that people do good things in a significant proportion to bad things. People do a significant amount of good things. Just look around you.

I guess you are saying that an atheist who is also a humanist does not have a logically consistent philosophy. I would argue that they do. Atheism is a disbelief in gods. The quick definition I can find of humanism is “a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters.” What’s the problem?

The problem is big. It’s yuuuge. And it’s orange.

And it’s a metaphor for all that’s wrong with us as humankind.

That’s just a passing, ephemeral fraction of humanity. Anyway, no one would deny that it’s not all sunshine and pizza, and there’s certainly been much worse than that.

You and your logicism aren’t going to talk me outta my comfy little black shell. FTW.

Enjoy it :slight_smile: I’m going to go buy some beer!

Depends who you mean by ‘people’. As mentioned elsewhere, I spend a lot of my time in a country where people go out their way to do bad things (according to my yardstick of ‘good’). For them, bad is the new good.

I would also say that bad things have a much larger impact that good things. It only takes a smallish proportion of the population doing bad things to turn a place into hell on earth. Look at … well, pretty much any country in Africa.

Personally I’m with Margaret Atwood on this one: “Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results”. And the world has a lot of really stupid people in it.

Talk about low expectations.

More to the point:

Sure, but there are a lot of good people too aren’t there? And there are other places where people do more good things right? Even in the worst places, good things are happening aren’t they?

I’m not sure what you guys are expecting out of this deal :slight_smile: It seems to me a lot of good things are happening though, every day, all around us. People are doing them, not pixies, and often for entirely altruistic reasons. If it’s worse in some places, it’s not all good and there’s lots of bad, this just shows that people have a capacity to do bad things as well as good things. Would you say that people are “inherently bad”? I’d say there’s inherent bad and good in humanity as a whole. We haven’t developed our undeniable (though perhaps ultimately ephemeral) success as a species by selfishly attacking each other constantly.

Book looks good, will check it out!

I reject it. Humans suck. Chickenisim is where its at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qizwcdHAWNU

Simply that having faith in humanity seems like a losing proposition. As Rowland said, it’s just setting the bar really, really low.

Most people would view humanism as Toe Save originally described it. “a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters” doesn’t really say anything meaningful. I mean, are there really any societies on the planet that revere and strive for irrationality, or that don’t attach prime importance to human issues?

Yes, I know there are a few places where “Insha’Allah”, or some equivalent, is a common meme. That doesn’t mean people have genuinely abandoned all earthly concerns in favour of spiritual enlightenment; it just means that they’re not very good at dealing with earthly concerns and need to find some excuse for their failure.

[quote=“finley, post:14, topic:157925”]
Simply that having faith in humanity seems like a losing proposition. As Rowland said, it’s just setting the bar really, really low.[/quote]

Well, when you have something better to have faith in let me know :slight_smile:

Most people would view humanism as Toe Save originally described it. “a rationalist outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters” doesn’t really say anything meaningful. I mean, are there really any societies on the planet that revere and strive for irrationality, or that don’t attach prime importance (at least in their day-to-day lives) to human issues?

I thought about that, and I get your point, especially in the context of the argument where I used it, but I’m not sure it doesn’t say anything meaningful. TS seems to have taken things to a utopian extreme, that “our collective ability to overcome greed and evil” is “an immutable law of nature, as sure as gravity” I don’t think that’s what most people mean by humanism either. I think the basic idea is that we can–and have to–do things for ourselves, if anything is going to be done at all. It’s not written in stone that we have to be good, but we do have the capacity to do good, and we can and should exercise it. Would you agree with that? Is there a logical inconsistency with atheism there?

I would attach primary importance to “sentient beings”, earthlings, including chickens. Of which it is the year of.

We’ve discussed this before:

If that’s all they get, it isn’t much.

“The lyrics about the governor of Alabama were misunderstood. The general public didn’t notice the words ‘Boo! Boo! Boo!’ after that particular line, and the media picked up only on the reference to the people loving the governor.”[5] “The line ‘We all did what we could do’ is sort of ambiguous,” Al Kooper notes. “‘We tried to get Wallace out of there’ is how I always thought of it.”

Music historians examining the juxtaposition of invoking Nixon and Watergate after Wallace and Birmingham note that one reading of the lyrics is an “attack against the liberals who were so outraged at Nixon’s conduct” while others interpret it regionally: “the band was speaking for the entire South, saying to northerners, we’re not judging you as ordinary citizens for the failures of your leaders in Watergate; don’t judge all of us as individuals for the racial problems of southern society”.[4]

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@tempogain

Utopian extreme TG? Absolutely. If humanism is a faith like all the others, then it must have its heaven, paradise, nirvana, olympus, sunshine and pizzas, hockey pucks and endo: A place where we figure it all out and work for, and take responsibility for, each other’s erm…happiness?

And like all the other promises, absolutely false. Utopia, for humanists, is just another alternative fact. There is far too much mistrust and manipulation, hatred and hatred of that hatred for a humanist utopia to actualize. Sad. Of all these “promises”, I felt humanists had a shot, our (their) promise could have been fulfilled.

I always held out that hope. Hockey Pucks and Endo. (A place where the pucks never touch mesh).

But mankind is a sieve and a narc. FTW.

Bad will and is beating good. I always held out hope that we, as humans would rally and revolt, in some lame effort to come together, but noooo. The corpo masters are doing a fantastic job keeping us at each others throats and that great human merge is as idealistic, as utopian, as false, as all other end games.

When we think in terms of relative bad and good, and try to quantify bad (evil), where does this massive manipulation of mankind (ok, I know…humankind, but I went for the alliteration) fall on the scale? I’d put it below genocide, but not far below and it is a very ambitious prick that Global Corpocracy. It looks like it’s ready to pull out its big fascist sticks again.

@finley

It’s 2:50 AM. :sunglasses:

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[quote]I think the basic idea is that we can–and have to–do things for ourselves, if anything is going to be done at all. It’s not written in stone that we have to be good …

but we do have the capacity to do good, and we can and should exercise it. Would you agree with that? Is there a logical inconsistency with atheism there?[/quote]
The first bit is uncontentious. As soon as you start adding ‘shoulds’, which are basically plucked out of the air, you’ve got yourself a religion:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is%E2%80%93ought_problem

Now there’s nothing wrong with that. Perhaps you’re a Star Trek fan?

There’s worse stuff than that in the TV series (they seem to have had a few religious nuts on the writing staff), but that movie was a good exploration of the question most humans ask themselves: “is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?”. Who knows, maybe chickens do it too.

Few people are content to recognise their limitations, their frailty, and their near-total ignorance about life, the Universe, and everything. It’s too fearsome, or demoralizing. You’re apparently one of the exceptions.