News from Humanists UK

As not everyone is signed up for comments, I thought I’d ‘upgrade’ this comment from 21 March to a post.

One of our speakers at the cancelled conference was to have been Andrew Copson, CEO of Humanists UK. He posted this on their website and emailed it to anyone signed up to their website. Although almost everything is about coronavirus at present, I thought his remarks were worth drawing attention to.
Near the bottom of his article, he quotes Marcus Aurelius ‘Peer deeply into yourself. There is a source of strength that will spring up within you, if only you look.’ and comments: “His words are not revelation or fancy. They are based on solid observation of the human capacity for resilience and courage in a crisis.”
I wonder if Quakers, even non-theist ones, might have a slightly different explanation?
https://humanism.org.uk/2020/03/20/message-from-the-chief-executive/

8 thoughts on “News from Humanists UK”

  1. Everything that happens to us seems to exist for a reason.
    Using a slightly Buddhist take on the Pandemic in our midst might go something like this:
    Nothing (No Thing) ever leaves you until it has taught you the lesson that you needed to learn.

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  2. Interesting perspective, mine is that often there is no reason why things in life happened to you, but from every experience you can learn and be more prepared for whatever is next.
    Sadly so many hundreds of thousand people have died and have not had the chance to learn, only those that are left can learn and live on to make their sacrifice worthwhile.

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    1. Agreeing with Gill, I am.
      If, indeed, we are the survivors of this Pandemic, then it is incumbent upon us to teach and share with others what we have learned.
      For me, this horrible ordeal has made me aware of a most important word, that word being discipline. As Quakers, perhaps we are slightly better at self imposed discipline, than the general population…Dare I say many of the non-survivors of the Pandemic, could have merited from more self discipline?
      All the best Gill..be safe & contemplative.
      Jules

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  3. Jules, i think you are misinformed, the Covid pandemic has the worst effects on the elderly who have honed their self discipline skills over many years, also there has been some clusters around religious services of which many i feel sure will have had similar self discipline to Quakers.
    I find what you have dared to say not in keeping with my attempts to understand Quaker philosophy not to be self-righteous.
    I think you are right about teaching and learning they are two sides of the same coin.

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    1. Thank you Gill, you bring such a good argument to the forefront.
      I hope that my opinion does not further complicate the issue of every individuals obligation and compunction to practice the discipline that will save lives.
      The basis of my observation is rather limited, having only the knowledge and exposure to life here in America. where the ravages of the Coronavirus are staggering, by most accepted norms of measurement..
      As I write this, one is painfully reminded of the total lack of discipline and regard for others as social distancing and the wearing of masks have gone by the wayside.
      While our cities are burning and racial strife is at zenith, sadly the order of the day, is no order..Oh how we would welcome some of that inherent discipline that you have in the UK.

      most sincerely, Jules
      Peace Profound.

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  4. I think each country has it’s own struggles overlaid by the pandemic, as an individual in the UK, usually a donation is appropriate but not in the case of America. There are a great many people here who are supporting the cause of the minority group by protest marches, by leaders being supportive of the cause, personally I am at a loss to know how to help.
    It is human nature to want to be with like minded people. If there is a collective fear for your children who may be shot, harmed or imprisoned by gangs, by police, by poor life chances in the richest country in the world, I can understand that Covid-19 is way down on the priorities.
    I read that the more unequal a society the more likely is civil unrest, so I believe it is not about discipline but about treating people equally and with respect for differences.
    We are striving for that ideal and I believe many people in America are too, maybe Coronavirus is a chance to strive harder.

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    1. You do speak the truth Gill..I surely acknowledge the great difference in societal behaviour from one nation to the next.
      Back in the 80’s I spent some time in Japan and was intrigued by the order of their society. Interestingly it was first time observing people wearing masks so that the common cold would not spread to others.
      Their structure and discipline was coupled with a beautiful degree of politeness, quite different from America.
      I also had the wonderful experience of spending many years in Centro America ((Honduras, mainly) and discovered a society that was almost completely devoid of order and discipline. Each and every day, there, seemed to be packed with chaos and disorder.
      My favorourite country of residence, being Canada, as it revealed a society so able to cope with life in general, adapting to change, immigration, customs. Beautiful people.
      The USA is in trouble, the political pendulum swinging to yet another
      divide. The government and it’s two party stranglehold only perpetuating the chaos…these are the most difficult times times I’ve seen since the 1960’s, yet hope still rings true!

      All the best, Jules
      Peace Profound

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  5. This from Joseph Cambell:
    “God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought, even the categories of being and non-being. Those are categories of thought. I mean it’s as simple as that. So it depends on how much you want to think about it. Whether it’s doing you any good. Whether it is putting you in touch with the mystery that’s the ground of your own being. If it isn’t, well, it’s a lie. So half the people in the world are religious people who think that their metaphors are facts. Those are what we call theists. The other half are people who know that the metaphors are not facts. And so, they’re lies. Those are the atheists.”

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