THOUGHTS ON BEING A HAPPY HUMANIST

Note: I do not fully agree with everything here but am including it the way it is.

The starting point is I will always value something.  There is nothing wrong with trying to choose what to value as long as directing your attraction towards something is achievable.  The humanist values people as people no matter who they are or how bad or good they are.  So it is not about how the humanist feels about any individual.  It is about how the humanist feels about being human and others being human.  They are respected and their rights are affirmed on that basis.

This is about not telling people to value humanity. The humanist just values.

This is not about being told or advised to value humanity.  The humanist just does it.  This is not about leaving God out so much as about leaving EVERY authority out.  If it means not judging those who value money or whatever instead of people then so be it.  The humanist will change themselves not the world for they cannot change the world anyway.

Humanism may be said to be replacing God with humanity.  That sounds good.  But it assumes God is a great idea in the first place.  It implies we are rejecting God to affirm people.  It is not really very non-religious.  And it is hard to trust somebody who thinks God is a good belief for us and who cannot make up their mind and is saying it should be discarded for the sake of people.  That smacks of a rebellious nature.  But humanists say they just affirm people in their own right.  So if you are into God you must reject him to love people and when that happens you are ready for a more secular and mature approach.  Then it is about being human.

Let is ask if humanism can foster things such as happiness and so on.

Happiness

Happiness is a sense of wellbeing. It is not a mere feeling but knowing you and your life are reasonably well.

You need to be well tuned into reality in order to get the best chance at happiness. Why? Because it protects your happiness from the fear that you might be deluded. Unwholesome or wrong beliefs can block you from seeing the real picture and the big picture. Truth does not care what you think so you have to get it right to work and live in line with it. Protect the truth and you protect yourself.

Happiness is a state of being. Do not say that God or any person is your happiness. They do not give you happiness for happiness comes with serving others. Serving does not give it to you. Happiness, and the potential for further happiness, just comes with it.

Now you understand why having wonderful things cannot make you happy. They cannot change the kind of person you are. Only you can do that. Happiness then works because it gives you a sense of control. Even the things you don’t control cannot force you to react to them in the way they want. You control how you will let them affect you.

Gratitude - there is always something to be grateful for!

Gratitude is simply rejoicing in the good things that come to you. 

People think that if you don’t believe in God then when you want to thank him you have nobody to thank. This overlooks the fact that we can rejoice in good things even when we think they come to us as a result of random forces. We are grateful to our cars for starting up.

Gratitude is actually fundamentally atheistic for if God is working with a complex ultimate plan it may be that the good or bad you get are not intended but only happen as part of the outworking of the plan. To be grateful then implies you are taking ownership - you alone. If you take ownership if there is a God then you can do it if there is no God. It is about you.

I feel grateful. That feeling comes from my relationships with other people. I do not need to be grateful to God. The relationships and the way I see others are my work so gratitude is more about me than it looks.

Harm is not a person or thing - it is faulty goodness!

We reject judgemental magical frightening talk about evil. There is no evil in human nature. We replace such talk with talk about mistakes. When we do good we aim right and when we do wrong we miss the target. We attempt good the wrong way.

You have power over harm and it is your power alone and you must own that power. Harm does not exist in the sense that it is not a power.

What gives you that power is knowing that good is the real thing. Harm is only a lack of good or a flaw that good has got. It is a distortion of good. Harm then cannot be equal in power to good and by appearing has sealed its own destruction. It is internally weak which is why it tries to fight back with more harm.

Bipolar disorder is good brain chemicals being in the wrong place.

Suffering is the power to feel good or okay having gone wrong. In other words, it is the feeling that your existence is valueless. Suffering is not pain. Suffering is what happens in your head when you let the pain get to you and make you wish you do not exist anymore.

Love is real. Hate is not the absence of love. You love the thing you hate and something about it is seemingly against you so in that sense hate is a distortion of love.

It is better to hate than to not care at all for if you hate you must care about the person to some level. They wouldn't be able to get to you if you didn't. Indifference is the real absence of love. Love is real. Hate is less real for it is lesser love and distorted love. Indifference is not a power but the absence of love.

The insight that good is a power and harm is not and that good is the right state and harm the wrong state is an important one. It helps us see the good in all things and gives us meaning and courage and strength when we have to face the forces that threaten harm. Because harm is just a distortion of good and then necessarily weaker than good it cannot survive forever. As harm is parasitic on good and contains good it contains the seeds of its own conversion.

The observation that good is the only force there is, is true whether there is a God or not. Even if there were no God, the absence of life would be good in the sense that there is no suffering. The observation has nothing to do with God. It is superior to God for even God cannot change it.

The principle is more important than God. If you have a choice between it and faith in God choose it. It proves God cannot be supreme.

The importance of principle

Principles are sadly seen as mere rules. They are not. They are about protecting the truth, servants of the truth and genuine respect for others and yourself. They are about the kind of person you are.

A bad principle is an error and error leads to lack of confidence and more error.

A bad principle is when you open the door to the bomb factory. People can get in but even if they don’t take the bombs and use them they can. You are still responsible if they do.

Whatever is bad in principle is always bad. Bad in principle means it is bad in itself regardless of how good it makes people feel and how harmless it may appear.

All evil actions and violence start off with the appearance of bad principles. It only takes one bad principle, especially one that seems relatively harmless, to be the seed of others and to overwhelm and discredit good principles. The mustard seed though hardly visible can become the biggest tree.

A bad principle is bad because it is an error. Error breeds error and makes life harder and we need truth. Truth is important in itself no matter what we think about it.

A bad principle affects us badly though the effect might be subtle.

A bad principle affects us subliminally as well.

A person with bad principles is dangerous if they get the power to put them into practice. A person without the power is dangerous inside.

A bad principle is never harmless - that is why it is bad.

Error harms for it robs you of the change to be wise. But some errors harm more than others. The servants of error support each other in error and give bad example. We are always more influenced by others than we realise. In this way religion sends “spiritual” power to its members that can harm them.

Acceptance

If you have low self-esteem, you are going to notice it a lot. People with healthy self-esteem do not think much about how well they esteem themselves. The person with poor self-esteem is more self-absorbed than the person with healthy or high self-esteem. The person feels selfish and that makes her self-esteem far worse.

I can have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can. I can have the wisdom to know the difference. I can accept them and I do.

Say that to yourself several times a day. It is the most important thing you can do.

Feelings are just feelings. Do not think that it is better for you to love than to hate. Do not think that it is better for you to be full of peace than for you to be angry. Do not judge yourself. Not judging yourself means you think it is as good for you to love as to hate. Accepting yourself means you think it is as good for you to experience feelings of peace as feelings of anger. Accept yourself as you are and soon you will find that you accept others as they are too.

I must tell myself that and tell it often. I resolve to keep checking how I am progressing in making it happen.

Having a sense that life is too big for you and you are losing control is the root of all misery. Consent to whatever happens be it good or evil and you will be in control. Then nothing can happen to you without your consent. This is the most basic thing you need to do. You need to do this and then there will be no God in your life but you.

If instead of resisting the suffering and pains of the present moment I say, "I accept this," I will never need to be part of a religion. To say anything else is refusing to feel more in control. It is nice to feel that by accepting suffering I make it easier and I feel free. To not accept is to judge and judging makes painful situations stay painful longer and perhaps even more painful.

Until you learn to be happy not because of death and suffering being around the corner, but in spite of them you make life and goodness harder for yourself. Using a crutch such as religion or prayer or magic or fortune-telling to face them, proves that you can face them but are going the wrong way about it.

“I feel sure that I will handle it. I feel sure that I will feel surer.” Telling yourself that and believing it and feeling it, is all you need.

Feel you create yourself. This gives you the best chance of learning acceptance of what you cannot change. It alone is self-acceptance. Believe there is no God in your life but yourself.

Feeling lucky as much as possible is to be your goal.

One helpful way to learn acceptance is to look at the proof that it is possible. People who suffer terrible loss, often do get over it and show that their happiness is, generally speaking, able to return because they learn to make it independent of what happens to them. Pleasures do not make you happy because if you are unhappy you cannot enjoy them.

Risk Taking - It's Important to Take Chances

We are afraid of taking risks.

We often fear change for it upsets the safe little life we are used to.

We are afraid of putting effort into something that goes wrong.

Break up the risky task you want to do into smaller tasks if you can.

Then you are able to tackle the smaller risks and soon you will have the courage to make the risk-taking bigger.

Change will happen no matter what we do to avoid it. You are taking a bigger risk by preferring things to stay the same. You could be heavily disappointed. Is it not better to seek out risks that are worth taking and take them? There is less to fear if you take control of what risks you will face instead of letting risks take control of you!

When possible, try to take at least one risk a day. It must be a real risk. Putting a few cent into a fruit machine is not a risk! Real risks require courage. Real courage is not foolishness. For example, if you see you have a reasonable chance at surviving when you try to rescue a drowning person you can be courageous. If you don't see that then trying to help is foolishness.

Finally - surely if you are humanist because you are your own person and you ignore those who tell you you belong to God or any person so you cannot be, you are opening the door to wellbeing?   Hopefully you will be well. But anything else guarantees you will not be.