Truth depends on context. We can say this pen is for writing and that is the pen’s truth, but what it will write, and how and why it writes, will depend on the context (the hand) it is placed in. Of course, there are contexts imaginable in which the pen may never be used at all, or never used again, and when it runs out of ink it becomes purposeless and must be either refilled or thrown away. What this shows us is that truth is made fragile by being placed in a context which has no intention of putting it to its proper use.
Contexts are never absolutely permanent things: truths may be established that are devoid of purposes (the truth is we don’t need anything), but it is more likely that they are tied to purpose and needs (we need to develop our humanity), or non-needs (we need to have less crime).
Purposes and needs give truth more weightiness and form, making it easier to grasp and accept.
The current general context for truth that we find ourselves in is directly conditioned by three major factors: at the immediate surface area is the constant flow of the capitalist economy and its expansionist will, but this plane has been currently swamped by the condition of the pandemic, while underneath this superficial lies the much deeper systemic problem related to the fragility of our eco-system. It is this triple-faceted context that gives truth today its awkward complexity and, because of that complexity, makes it muddy with relativity and opens the door to Fake News.
Nevertheless, the climate emergency is such a serious, indeed existential crisis that all honesty has to affirm that we live in an era conditioned by that greater, underlying necessity. And, whether we want to look below the surface of the system or not, it is this great necessity that is our basic common truth, the truth that our contemporary context is inevitably tied to.
When necessity arises, the right action is also to stand before it, deal with it, and, if the possibility is discovered, resolve it. And, when the necessity is great, this is truth is amplified. Like it or not, this is the deadly-serious kind of truth our context has given us.
If, as quantum theory suggests, everything is interconnected, then we should also probably assume that from this interconnection there must also arise an evolutionary, mutual conditioning that would ultimately strive for a positive unfolding for the benefit of that self-same everything.
In philosophy, this idea of the interconnected universe runs rife through much of oriental philosophy, but also through Platonic and Pythagoras’ ideas in the west, Medieval and Renaissance ideas of the Macrocosm and Microcosm, Alchemical theories and New Age philosophies of holistic health and harmony. In Heidegger’s philosophy, for example, mutual conditioning is not merely an Esse ist percipi, Subject-Object relationship, it is a fourfold thing between “earth, sky, mortals and divinity.”
For Heidegger, mutual conditioning takes place as an Ereignis, which Dreyfuss defined as “things coming into themselves by belonging together.” In other words, we become what we can be according to how the other elements of the fourfold relationship allow that becoming to take place. But, Ereignis is not a simple one-way process in which humanity takes from the Universe what it can in order to fulfil its own ambitions, the earth and sky also “comes into themselves” through humanity.
For this reason, we see Heidegger’s fourfold concept of Ereignis as an elaboration on, and a further development of the idea of Esse ist percipi or a Western approximation of the Oriental idea that everything is One. Yet Heidegger’s concept also contains a more purposeful seed than the relativistic nihilisms implied by most eastern philosophies. We are not just a part of the whole, we actually take part in a positive, progressive, and creative process of coming into ourselves, while at the same time allowing the rest of the Universe to come into itself as well. If Esse ist percipi allows Being to occur, then it is Ereignis that permits the existence of meaning within that Being. This is because, if there is no mutual conditioning, things just do not matter.
We believe that technology should also be brought into this fold, for, by placing it there, we can also see the enormous responsibilities that it has and, at the same time, also make clearer the great responsibilities resting on humanity’s shoulders as creators, programmers and manipulators of those technologies.
The mutual conditioning that takes place between humanity and the world is one of Esse ist percipi on one level, which in Heidegger’s terms is realised through the process of discovery or uncovering that humanity makes of the world and that bears the conditions necessary for humans to exist.
Human technologies, of course, are a fundamental element that allows this uncovering to take place by giving us the means to make deeper and deeper analogies and calculations regarding the fabric of the world and the Universe that envelops everything. Nevertheless, the use of these technologies, and the uncovering process itself, must never jeopardise humanity’s fundamental role on Earth, which is to act as the protector of the planet, not its violator: a role which we have largely lost sight of precisely because of the perverse spell that our own Faustian relationship with the technology created by us has woven. But there is a positive side to this debacle, as the tragic consequences of this enchantment are being made more apparent day by day. If we are to protect our world from our own seemingly irreversible, smothering growth, and preserve it, we need an advanced technology to accomplish this, and that technology must be created in a way that will not bring further harm.
Technology only has the purposes we have created it for, and because of this, human purposiveness is vital if we are to be capable of inventing technologies that really matter, fulfilling a positive role within the mutual-conditioning fold of the Ereignis.
1.1.0 The death of God opened the door for two natural heirs: humanity and technology.
1.1.1 We embraced the latter at the expense of the former.
1.1.2 We live in a technological age that seems more embarrassed by our humanity than inspired by it.
1.2.1 The Bill of Human Rights was a great step forward unto the healing of our collective cancer, but it has been used as a band-aid to cover up little gashes rather than being employed in a surgical way to extirpate the malignant tumour that is eating us away.
1.3.0 After the death of God, faith has been invested in technology at the expense of humanity.
1.4.0 The loss of God should never have been interpreted as a liberation from responsibilities. Quite the opposite, it should have empowered us with our own human purpose and the duties that such a purposiveness brought with it.
1.4.1 The loss of God obliged us to search for a new kind of faith and we threw all our belief into the basket of novel technologies, while at the same time leaving our faith in humanity abandoned in a grimy basement that we never visit, where we have locked away all utopias.
2. THE CONSEQUENCES
2.1.0 Despite this situation, humanity has always been the obvious candidate to replace God. So obvious that we cannot see it. Or perhaps it is because humanity has always been God’s natural rival, i.e., that God was created when we lost faith in humanity.
2.2.0 While technology should be at the service of humanity in the human purposive quest to become gods, the opposite has occurred, and humanity seems to operate in a cyborg fashion for the benefit of technology.
2.3.0 Technology has created our unbearable lightness of being, a being that needs to be anchored again and given weightiness through human purposiveness.
2.3.1 This new human meaning can be found through the necessity which is our groaning relationship with the planet – a need for reconciliation with our natural environment – but it can also be granted more firmness and form by embracing the purposiveness implied by our humanity.
3. THE EXISTENTIAL ILLUSION OF TECHNOLOGY
3.1.0 Technology in many instances repudiates humanity, although this is not essentially the case.
3.2.0 Technology and humanity are inextricably linked.
3.2.1 The progressive evolution of homo sapiens can only be via the technologies that it has created. However, for technology to have an existential purpose such a reason for being can only come through the existential purposiveness of humanity.
3.2.2 Technology becomes meaningless once it is divorced from humanity.
4. THESIS AND ANTI-THESIS
4.1.0 Having faith in technology leaves us empty, but having faith in humanity is fulfilling, and we get a purposeful technology in the same deal.
4.1.1 Faith is humanity is a win/win deal.
(APPENDIX TO THESIS 1)
4.2.0 We have technologies now that are capable of abolishing our sense of place, that can be used to unite human beings, even across vast physical spaces, and these could be an important tool for cementing our human consciousness and combatting dangerous regionalisms and nationalisms.
4.3.0 Technologies have been applied more to the idea of segregation and separation of humanity than toward any unification. This is an absurd but unquestionable fact.
5.0 For faith in humanity to triumph (our win/win scenario) the internet has to be immunised from malicious anti-human segregation and geared toward helping humanity identify with itself as a species in order to foster the subsequent, invested meaning that identity brings with it. In this way, humanity as a whole will be able to transcend the anti-human perception of the local space and the tribal ideologies driving our regional self-introspections.
5.1 By abolishing our sense of place, technology has opened the door for us to see that our authentic place is in the world and that our true identity is as human beings.
5.2 Ultimately, to be authentic, we always must be humans.
In 1977, Jacques Attali published Noise, the Political Economy of Music, in which he argued that “Listening to music is listening to all noise, realising that its appropriation and control is a reflection of power, that it is essentially political.”[i]In this thesis, Attali relates music to power through the common ground of organising dissonance, and argues that “music moves more quickly than economics and politics, and hence prefigures new social relations.”[ii] According to Attali it is sounds and their arrangements rather than colours and forms that fashion societies.
If this is true, then perhaps we need to take the current state of music creation during lockdown into consideration before making any analytical predictions of the political and economic evolution in the postpandemic period.
In our article Preliminary Notes on the dawning Postpandemic Era, posted on this blogsite,[i] we argued that the postpandemic era has already been formed through social and psychological changes enforced on those experiencing the restrictions and disciplines of strict lockdown and quarantines. Self-discipline has always been a requisite of any artistic process, and many artists (the ones we will call the postpandemic artists) lockdown was found to be, not a restrictive experience, but actually a liberating one. Therefore, following on from Attali’s argument, postpandemic art is all about appropriation and control, which is a reflection of power and so, essentially, it is political. And, as all political discourse is a sonorous communication, its power residing in the skill of arrangements, like musical arrangements, society-fashioning musical arrangements if you like, then politics is all about sound, and, consequently, the music generated by the lockdown experience will be political in its essence.
Of course, these days in politics we get more reboant noise than any nice, harmonic compositions that could be regarded as musical, and this is worrying because this cacophony reveals an underlying chaos, the underlying chaos that is the universe, by which we mean the authentic reality of this universe, which is a quantum, chaotic state. Music is the form that the rational, conscious mind gives to the chaos of reality that is the noise.
Capitalism, and the power that lies behind the economy, pulling the strings, had almost taken full control of the power wielded by music in the last century. Its power was dented in the 90s by the democratising potentials of digital production tools and the Indie movement toward more democratic appropriations of the industry, and the self-disciplining effect of lockdowns has been able to cut another significant gash in that enormous machine of control. The postpandemic artist exercises his or her own appropriation of the control of noise that is the power of music, by creating, producing, and distributing (performing) their own musical arrangements outside of the normal mechanisms of control which safeguarded itself by keeping itself out of reach from the majority of creators, rendering that same majority quite impotent.
Lockdown, however, has invested artists with a new self-confidence and self-discipline that transcends the barriers of the market. The result of this reflection and the artistic movement that will inevitably spring from it is sowing the seeds for a new vision of reality beyond the current, nihilistic paradigm we are so dangerously languishing in. From this new art will evolve new attitudes to technology, which will need a new economy and that will bring about a new society, the postpandemic society of the very near future.
Heidegger identified four different historical periods that mark the evolution, or de-evolution, of metaphysical thought:
The Greek, with its emphasis on the physis or self-arising nature;
The Medieval, centred in God’s creation;
The Modern, where beings became objects that could be understood and controlled through scientific analysis and calculations;
The Technological, which is an extension of the modern era, in which that which is understood (by science) is made constantly available for flexible reconfiguration, allowing things to be maximally exploitable.[i]
At the moment we are on the brink of a new era, born out of a necessity in which the concept of the maximally exploitable is proving to be undesirable, if not dangerously erroneous. The peril of the Technological Age, is that it is generated by the very fact that we have reached the limits of that maximum in terms of our ability to exploit the non-renewable resources available to us (we include here the exploitation of humans as machines of production). At the same time that we spin away from this existential threat, quantum theories of waveforms and spooky science combined with cosmological calculations and theories of a fine-tuned Universe, twist the line of evolution around and push us toward the metaphysics of the self-arising Universe again. But it is not a backward shift, rather it is as if we have turned the full 360º of the circle and we are starting a new cycle from the original point of departure.
Our progress into the fifth period of metaphysics (E) is a combination of the The Greek and The Modern and it demands a radical revaluation of technologies (and economies) that will be able to exploit without depletion by learning how to effectively manipulate that which is renewable. Via a development of faith in the ecological future of humanity, a faith in Humanity, with a capital H, will also be engendered, putting that Humanity at the centre of the new era of metaphysics, and so E) will be the metaphysical era of Humanity-in-the-world, with Humanity, rather than the individual, becoming the relational centre but a fulcrum with a self-conscious dependency on that which it is the centre of.
In this way, technology will become an instrument, not of exploitation, but of partnership with the world. The New Era technology will be created with a metaphysical view of our background. A metaphysics derived from calculation and analysis – a science of the essence of everything.
The Zeitgeist is changing.
[i] These references come from Mark A. Wrathall, HEIDEGGER AND UNCONCEALMENT: Truth, Language and History, CUP, pp. 181-182.
Human beings as sapiens entities are an integral and essential part of any ontological process involved in the actual nature of things, for it is through sentient beings like humanity that the otherwise chaotic Universe can make itself manifest.
Traditionally, religious-minded philosophy, and indeed Berkeley, who was a bishop himself, while passionately defending the necessary relationship between perception and existence, undermined the importance of humanity in its relationship with the Universe by placing the entire manifesting process in the hands (or eyes) of God. Leibniz, for example, who had brilliant intuitions concerning the quantum nature of the Universe, argued that the reality of a thing must come from something that itself has a reality, which, if we look at this idea through the prism of quantum physics, means that a perceiving entity is needed to make the chaos manifest as form, and that once sentient organisms had been created, either through accident or through a quantum type of will – quantum mechanics tells us that quantum particles or wave forms carry awareness of each other and even memory – then through the perception of these sentient organisms a process of unfolding takes place, allowing for the steady unfolding of universal manifestation which is still ongoing; a process now generated not by God, but by the perceptions of finite minds.
What this means is that the Universe is always in a constant state of becoming – or at least as long as sentient beings exist in the Universe – but also that the Universe as we perceive it may be radically different in form to that experienced by other kinds of extra-terrestrial beings that have understood the Universe by perceiving it with different types of sensorial organs or through different kinds of environments. Even on Earth, the reality manifest to an octopus is undoubtedly radically different to that experienced by humans. This indicates that the Universe’s manifestation is by no means a singularity and that it is in fact a manifestation on multiple levels that co-exist with each other, but which are invisible or unperceived by different kinds of sentient beings immersed in that co-existence.
This enormous relativity of ontological manifestations, which we will never be wholly aware of, does not diminish the purposefulness of humanity’s own role within the Universe, or at least as long as our own relationship with ourselves does not drift us so far into nihilistic projects of purposelessness that the Universe we make manifest becomes as useless as the chaos from which it is derived. If the elementary, authentic chaotic quantum form of the Universe can possess a will, it would be for the order that its own chaos lacks. And in this sense, Leibniz may well have been unwittingly describing a quantum condition when he spoke of the different points of view of his own elementary particles called monads, as a ‘means of obtaining as much variety as possible, but with the greatest order possible.’[i] By making itself manifest through the perceptions of rational, finite minds, the Universe also realises what it so desperately lacks – the great variety of forms coexisting in an orderly fashion.
Philosophy and science have always had a profound love of questioning our view of reality, to such an extent that we could affirm that ontological doubt is part of the essence of what philosophy and science are. Any love of knowledge has to be prepared to assume, as Socrates did, that what we think we know is really fundamentally wrong, and it is only when one is capable of making that assertion that any meaningful philosophy and science can take place.
Stephen Hawking talked about our being at the end of knowing because he predicted that very shortly we would know everything about the physical laws of the Universe and that this would bring about the death of philosophy – although what Hawking did not contemplate was that a complete understanding of the mysteries of the Universe would also bring about the death of science.
Philosophy tries to grasp reality through the discipline of reason, and science takes that reason one step further by conducting physical experiments that can prove what the deductions to their theoretical reasonings have been pointing to. Of course, philosophy and science are different disciplines, but, in a Venn diagram display, they are also subsets that overlap, and they are both enclosed in a larger set – the art of questioning.
To tackle specific questions like how does an earthworm procreate, or what is the molecular composition of water, we would turn to science, while the bigger questions such as what is justice or does God exist, lend themselves to the logical deductions of philosophy – or at least, that is how we have traditionally operated when applying the art of questioning to our world and our existence in that world. Nevertheless, with the development of cosmological exploration combined with the pursuit of understanding the quantum mechanics of the Universe, science has started to delve into the once seemingly impossible areas of knowledge that were once considered the metaphysical realm, reserved for the spiritual contemplation of monks and prophets and were the great mystical factories of religious contemplation and thought about God.
Quantum mechanics is one of the most bizarre and challenging fields of questioning that our minds have ever devised as it is full of seemingly illogical conclusions, such as the idea of nonlocality, or the fact that subatomic particles and wave forms exist in different consecutive states until they are observed, and that they possess awareness and memory. Ironically, it is the almost equally bizarre notions of certain philosophical contemplations that can help us fathom the real scope of the quantum scientists’ invasion of the metaphysical field. In order to unfold the mysteries of the quantum it helps to contemplate them through the prism of certain philosophical ideas that these physics of the invisible are related to.
For example, in quantum wave theory the physicist Bohm describes reality as we perceive it as a mere abstraction of the truly chaotic form of authentic reality. In a sense, the reality we perceive is an illusion that is generated by the limited perception of our senses. And this idea is an echo of what Plato affirmed in his famous cave allegory, in which, Plato argued, the reality we perceive is really but a shadow of the true state of the Universe, created by a light that is invisible to us, a light which is, as in Bohm’s statement, modified by our perception of it.
However, there is a major difference between Plato’s allegory and Bohm’s theory: for Plato the authentic reality is an illumination and a truth that we need to look for, through a contemplation that allows us to see beyond the illusion that we call reality, but Bohm’s quantum reality is in itself a chaotic, formless state which would be fairly meaningless even to any god. It is certainly not a state that any human could wish to fully exist in, because all existence in it would be annihilated. It is only the creation of the albeit, illusionary forms, fashioned by our perception that any meaning and purpose can be infused within the Universe, and in this way we actually have a reversal of Platonic idealism. There are no authentic forms implanted in human minds by the gods, the authenticity is chaos, and the forms of reality we have are our creations, configuring the muddled state of reality and subjecting it to the limits of our organs of perception that need to make sense of the chaos in order to allow us to exist in that disorder.
It is also interesting to look at the quantum view of reality through the prism of Berkeley’s form of idealism, which basically stated that nothing exists until it is perceived. The idea that quantum particles exist in a chaotic state until they are perceived could be seen as a scientific affirmation of Berkeley’s logical deduction. According to quantum physics, observation has a manifesting effect on the quantum field. It is the perception and observation of the quantum that makes the quantum manifest in forms. Reality, as we know it, becomes manifest when it can be revealed by conscious, rational minds through conscious, rational perception.
Now, if we switch our point-of-view and instead of looking at quantum science through Idealism we observe Idealism through the filter of quantum mechanics, then we clearly see that without sentient agents to make reality concrete, the real operates in a state of completely purposeless chaos. Making reality concrete or manifest through the structuring that perception gives it is the first step towards making it purposeful.
The second episode of the second season of the TV series True Detective opens with one of its protagonists, played by the actor Vince Vaughn, lying in bed and staring at two stains on the ceiling whilst soliloquising in an existential monologue. In the course of the interior narrative, which could be considered a symbolic confession before the eyes of God, the character discloses the absolute vanity of his life.
He lives to make money and obtain land – but why? He cannot take that land with him when he dies, and he has no heirs to leave it to. And even if he had heirs, isn’t that a superficial answer as well?
What he is complaining about is a lack of existential muscle, his life is purposively flabby. After thinking through the dilemma, it is obvious that he needs to revaluate his reasons for living and remake himself.
Like most confessions, however, once made it seems to be forgotten, and when the character reappears some scenes later he is still obsessed with money. Revelations may come to us, but that does not mean they are going to change the way we act. The revelation itself cannot necessarily open the doors that it presents to us. Actually changing the way we act is far more difficult, and one needs to see not just what the existential problem is, but also the purposeful solution to that problem.
As individuals we naturally individualise our problems and, as we live in a civilisation that encourages individualisation, the logical thing would be to do so. Likewise, we live in societies that value and propagate desires for money and what money can buy, and so possessing an obsession with making money is also a logically comprehensive attitude to have in our world. However, when the lust for money becomes a psychological problem, as any addiction is, then that can hardly ever be expected to be overcome through a self-analysis of one’s personality and dreams. Individualising one’s analysis will almost certainly opt for pleasure over duty, even one’s personal duty.
To resolve this protagonist’s anxiety, therefore, the script writers would need to imbue him with another quality, they would have to give him the power to have faith. A character possessing faith would analyse this dilemma from the position of that belief, and morally and psychologically this is always an advantage when dealing with meaningfulness, as long as the faith that one possesses is also a meaningful thing and not a Quixotic fantasy. For faith to be functional at more than an individualistic level or in a sectarian way it needs to more universal in its ambitions, for all faith is a kind of ambition as well.
Faith in humanity gives a clear indication of what the existential problem in the case of this protagonist is: i.e., a disconnection from human purposiveness. In fact, it is this disconnection and the vanity of individual existence it causes that opens the door for us towards the species, toward the human, conscious, thinking entity that grows and progresses together within the all-encompassing home of the species itself.
The domain of human purposiveness, therefore, is in the human. As human beings, individuals will also find their purposiveness there. When individualisation cuts itself off from humanity, it carries itself to the edge of the precipice of nihilism. Once there, the individual can firstly enjoy the freedom of being able to invent whatever fantasy of purpose he or she may want to, or devour the fantasies that others throw at them, but the price to be paid for that freedom will be the loss of authentic purposiveness, which is human purposiveness: a purpose that offers fulfilment found in this world.
The alienation felt by any individual and the anxieties that alienation causes usually has its roots in a lack of connection with our humanity. Even in religious faith this is a fact, for religions are only authentically purposeful when they focus on humanity as something positive, likewise becoming perilously perverted when their own creeds become forces that confuse and separate humanity rather than bring it together. It is a faith in humanity not God that is needed to tone our existential muscles, and give wings to our purposive-lusting souls.
Faith is more than just a mental state: one needs to have confidence in that which one has faith in; confidence that the thing one believes in will be capable of resolving our problems – of saving us.
In order to believe this, one has to be primed into believing it: one has to me made aware of the Scripture, or in our case the Declaration, and, once aware, to appropriate its power. In order to do that, one has to already have a disposition towards it: one needs to be prepared to see and experience reality from a certain perspective, the human perspective, that overrides any antihuman standpoints.
Faith is a stance, and faith in humanity is an authentically human stance. Of course there is no Church of Humanity, and there should not be – nothing could be more absurd. Human ritual is one’s everyday life, applied to the unique experience of being human in the world in a way that glorifies the potential in the absolute whole of that which we all are. With or without a church, faith is an ennobling condition, and it creates a kind of existence that itself arises from the possibilities revealed by the uniquely human way of life. It is a rolling snowball – small at first, quickly growing large and always increasing in size for as long as we can keep pushing it – but, like all snowballs, it is also a very fragile thing that can just as quickly melt away into nothing if it is not cared for. This protective caring can come through faith but faith has to be grounded in practices and in necessities. For faith to exist in an authentic way, there has to be a need for it.
Humanity is in the world, and it needs to be in the world. This is an essential existential fact, and it needs to be taken into consideration in any future amendments to the Declaration of Human Rights and to all humanist thinking. To successfully be able to exist, humanity has to be successful at living in the world.
We think it feasible that faith in Humanity is an essential ingredient to be able to live in the world, and that it is our lack of faith in humanity and our antihuman historical process which has put us in such a dangerous position in terms of our relationship with the Earth. A humanity divided into competing nations and into the different prides of all those nations, cannot overcome the enormous challenges faced by our necessary partnership with the Earth and the protection of its fragile ecosystem. Likewise, our global economic system and its requirement for perpetual growth is also a cancer to the planet. A cancer that needs to be extirpated and its damage healed if Humanity is ever going to triumph.
Faith in Humanity is also a faith that tells us that only through Humanity itself can our partnership with the world be established in a harmonious and fruitful way that will ensure our mutual existence. Humanity contains within itself a tremendous duality of wretchedness and greatness. Humanity’s capacity for freedom allows it to be fervently antihuman, and capable of taking freedom away from itself.
We pursue happiness and associate material pleasures with progress, but that same progress pushes us to the limits of extermination while bringing about the extermination of many other species and causing the direst misery and deaths of many other exploited and enslaved humans. We live in antihuman civilisations that measure their progress according to their comfort and the pleasures they have attained at the expense of the sweat and lives of other human beings, as well as the devastation of the planet we depend on. This duality is our human/antihuman reality, and it causes much despair in the idea of Humanity. The result is that, even in the parts of civilisation that are able to fully enjoy the material fruits of the antihuman system, under the surface people are not happy, because ultimately the antihuman lacks enduring purpose. Without purpose their can be no enduring fulfilment.
Only faith in Humanity will ever ultimately resolve the contradictions of our dualistic nature and the paradox of freedom.
To ask someone to have faith in humanity is not unlike asking them to have faith in God.
This statement sounds absurd: why would we need to have faith in humanity in the first place? Humanity is something that is manifest to us every day; something that we ourselves are a part of – why then should we need to have faith in what we are?
What’s more, we can define ourselves scientifically, as a species, the homo sapiens, animals with self-consciousness that stand erect on two legs and have thumbs and smiles and understand irony etc.. No-one doubts that humanity exists.
But that scientific definition, actually tells us very little about ourselves and our social interactions, purposes and desires. A proper all-encompassing description of humanity would be something else, something harder to grasp – it is our shared humanity that is the fundamental reason why we should be able reach out to each other and why we should feel united with each other. These reasons remain undisclosed, and to believe them requires a certain faith. Humanity (now with a capital H) as something we truly belong to is not a manifest thing, it is an abstraction embedded in Truth, with a capital T. We feel it must exist, and, by believing in it, it can bring meaning to our lives. Doesn’t this sound very much like a rationalisation of faith in God?
Not only is it through Humanity alone that we know Humanity, but it is through Humanity that we come to know ourselves. Without Humanity we do not know what our life, nor our death, nor humanity, nor ourselves really are …
This passage is a direct rewrite of a text by Pascal in which we have swapped the terms God and Jesus Christ with Humanity. The result carries a philosophical coherence, and points to why the Church has historically been so fearful of humanistic thought. However, Pascal, went on to point out that it is through the scriptures, which has Jesus Christ as their object, that God is revealed. Therefore, to continue with this shadowing of Pascal’s thought, we need to ask ourselves what the equivalent of the scriptures would be for Humanity. What written text reveals Humanity?
This is a pertinent question, especially as most of what has been fabricated and taught about the human condition has been stewed from an anti-human point of view, depicting human nature as an egocentrically segregating and separating force, and human beings as vain, competitive creatures. In the anti-human narrative Humanity gets buried, until we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Faith needs its own testimony, a witness that Humanity has never had.
So, what can we, those of us who want to believe in Humanity, base our faith on?
Of course, a great reservoir of humanity exists in the arts and sciences themselves, but not in any clear, defining way other than the testimony their very existence itself gives to what we are, but if we want a clear and concise description of Humanity to build our faith on, we need to look at a document like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This bill, drawn up by the United Nations in 1948, describes Humanity as the human family, and, if we return to our shadowing of Pascal and his text on the scriptures, we could say that – without the Declaration of Human Rights, which has Humanity as its sole object, we know nothing and see only darkness and confusion in the nature of humanity and in nature itself.
Through a faith in the Declaration, as humanity’s scriptural word, faith in Humanity is revealed. Act according to the commands and orders of the Human Rights and you will start believing in Humanity.
This is the kind of logic that religious faith is built on, but: Is it applicable to the Declaration which was more concerned with guidance for political states than in giving moral advice to individuals? In any case, each article in the Declaration does give us clues as to how a human being should act in human society, and how we should treat the other members of our human family.
Let’s look at the first seven articles:
Article 1: tells us that we should act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood, respecting each other’s dignity and rights.
Article 2: that the brotherhood has no distinctions of any sort. If you are human you have the same dignity and rights as any other human being and should treat all others accordingly.
Article 3: tells us to respect the life, liberty, and security of all other humans.
Article 4: condemns slavery and servitude, implying that these things are anti-human activities and need always to be condemned.
Article 5: the same is true of torture.
Article 6: states that all humans should have the right to be recognised as persons (and therefore humans). Therefore, to be human yourself, you need to recognise all others as human.
Article 7: all are equal before the law.
Everyone is human, of course, but Faith in Humanity belongs to those who are able to act and live in a Human-faith way, which is according to Human Scripture (the Declaration). Faith demands that one has confidence in the object’s of one’s faith. Humans, of course, often act in anti-human ways, but to have faith in Humanity despite its flaws is certainly no more absurd than to believe in God despite all the flaws in the creation.