Humanism Revisited - Economic Times
By Mukul Sharma
In Ancient Wisdom, Modern World, the Dalai Lama clearlydifferentiates
spirituality and spiritual from religiosity and religious. He says,
"Spirituality I take to be concerned with those qualities of the human
spirit — such as love and compassion, patience, tolerance, forgiveness,
contentment, a sense of responsibility, a sense of harmony — which bring
happiness to both self and others."
He concludes by observing that there is no reason why an individual
should not develop such qualities without recourse to any religious
belief. Twenty-first century secular humanists who define their movement
as a philosophical and ethical stance that emphasises the value and
agency of human beings and generally prefers critical thinking over
established faith, couldn't have said it better.
For them too, the overarching feeling is a sense of awe, wonder and mystery — being inspired by the natural world or human achievement, along with the belief that one's inner resources provide the ability to rise above everyday experience.
Under the circumstances, doctrinal imperatives become unnecessary. But humanism has also come underscathing criticism by 20th-century intellectuals who considered it to be either sentimental "slop" or overly feminine and wanted to go back to a more manly society.
Yet, all the humanist credo maintains is that the ultimate goal is human flourishing: making life better for allhumans and, as the most conscious species, also promoting concern for the welfare of other living beings. The Dalai Lama, Jainism or Buddhists — all say the same thing.