Feeling Secure

Life is a crap shoot and then you die. How can you feel secure in an indifferent world?

One of the existential issues people face is how to find meaning in a meaningless universe.  Or to put it another way. How can I maintain my sanity if none of the crap I experience in life means anything and there is no guarantee that crap will stop happening?

That is a darned good question. One that doesn’t have a good answer. Which is why people use a wide variety of coping mechanisms to deal with the angst this reality creates in us.

The Humanist approach is a realistic approach. Instead of trying to find meaning to pacify our brains or trying to trick ourselves into thinking everything will be alright if we just pretend the universe is not a random collection of energy manifesting as things, we just accept this reality as scary as it seems.

Life is random. It’s random we were even born. We could have just as easily not been born. There are no guarantees in life. We may die tomorrow with our work unfinished. We may suffer a lot, or a little. We have no way of knowing.  Here’s the weird part. I write this as a Humanist and it doesn’t upset me. Crazy, I know.

But here’s what happens once I accept the worst that could happen. I start to think, now what? What am I going to do with the time I have alive?  What is under my control and what isn’t?  I may not be able to control everything in my life, but I can certainly control some things. I do have some agency.  And it’s in agency (the ability to make decisions and to act on them) that I have hope.

Life may be a crap shoot. And I’m definitely going to die. But right now I’m alive and despite life’s uncertainty and hardships, there is also love and music and light and beaches and cats and kids and food. There are people I can positively influence right now. While I’m alive.  Why should I waste the little moments of happiness I find worrying about things that may or may not happen?

The serenity prayer is about changing the things you can change and accepting the things you can’t. The key – having the wisdom to know the difference. You can’t change the basic nature of the universe. No amount of prayer or wishful thinking can change that. So accept it. And work on the things you can change.

Do you really need to fuss over things that ultimately don’t matter in the big scheme of things? No. You don’t. Accepting the futility of it all helps you to be more calm.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care or actively work to make things better. You should. After all, even if things don’t matter in the big scheme of things, they do matter right now. To you. And to the people whose lives you can impact right now.

Camus spoke of the absurdity of life. The balance we all have to strike is how to live life fully despite the futility of it all. Accepting the reality of your death doesn’t mean your work is futile. It matters. Right now. And that actually is enough.

To learn more about how to cope with these existential issues – consider reading my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom and taking my online course – Living Made Simpler. 

The Simple Truth is – Humanism Matters

There continues to be a lot of discussion about Humanistic Business and leadership. The reason why? Because Humanism matters.

We live in a diverse global society. The biggest businesses are global, our commerce is global, thanks to the internet, our friendsships are increasing global. And our food, thankfully, is global as well (I’m a big fan of Peruvian, Indian and Columbian food for instance).

All this global diversity has benefits, but like all good things, has a downside as well. How we chose to manage the benefits vs. the drawbacks will dictate our success going into the future.

People who are afraid of all this globalization rightly see the downside and it scares them. People who are for globalization are looking at the upside and think it outweighs the downside. Blind fear doesn't lead to good decisions, but neither does blind optimism.

What would be incredibly helpful is a honest discussion of the pros and cons so that we maximize the good and minimize the harm.  That isn’t going to happen in the media or through our politicians.  But we as individuals can and must discuss this and this is why Humanism matters.

Humanism, because it’s focused on our common human morality, can help us cut across religious and cultural differences to find a common moral language and framework. It encourages us to recognize the humanity of those who are different from us so we can recognize and explore their moral reasoning to find areas of common ground.

Humanism is also reality based. We don’t like to make decisions based on assumptions, we want good science based information. Without that we are adrift.

Finally, a humanistic mindset helps us recognize that we are all dependent on the society in which we live. Our businesses rely on customers and those customers live somewhere and need food, water, shelter, health care and a sense of community. Everywhere in the world this is true.

Humanism in business matters because businesses and working and commerce defines how we interact with each other. We can either use our businesses to help humanity as a whole progress to peace and community, or we can allow our societies to be consumed with greed. We can balance profit and benefit to society. And we must. And this is why Humanism matters.

To learn more – take the free online course – Why Humanistic Management offered by the Humanistic Management Network through my company – Humanist Learning Systems - http://humanistlearning.info/why-humanistic-management/

It all depends on the circumstances

What is ethical in any given situation depends on the circumstances. http://ift.tt/1TGbzsX

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What does it mean to be ethical?

To be ethical is to be moral. And that’s a loaded term.

Morality is about values. What we think is good or bad. It’s judgements we make about ourselves and about others. Generally – if something is good for us – we think it’s good and if it’s bad for us – we think it’s bad.

People with more developed sense of values will extend their concern for benefit or harm to other people. Most often family members or members of our tribe. Humans are tribal animals. The way this works is – if it is good for our tribe, it is good. If it is bad for our tribe it is bad.

This is why people who may be very ethical to members of their peer group don’t see the problem with being unethical to people deemed to be outsiders.  This seems hypocritical and it is. If something done to you is bad but the same thing done to someone else is ok – the thing being done isn’t inherently bad, you are just judging it to be so based on how you personally are impacted. Hence, the accusation of hypocrisy.

But what is really happening when people think and behave this way is that their sense of ethics and morality is not fully developed. They limit their moral reasoning to themselves or their tribe, however that is defined (politically, racially, religiously, etc).

What makes Humanism so important is that it is a reminder that we need to extend our circle of compassion and concern to everyone.  Humanism is an explicit rejection of tribalism.  If it hurts me, then it probably hurts other people and even if I don’t know those people, it’s still wrong.  Instead of being ethical in a hypocritical way, we strive to be more consistent in our application of ethics equally to everyone.  I say strive because our instinctual tribal impulses make that hard to do.

Regardless, if you find yourself reveling in the hardship of others (the other tribe, or political group or whatever), please stop. Remind yourself they are human too and that you should apply the same compassion to them as you do to yourself. To me, that is what it means to be ethical.

If you want to learn more get my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness: Practical Wisdom  This book will help you better understand how and why to integrate your ethics more fully into your everyday decision making.

If you are looking for professional or personal development programs that will help you actualize these principles in your daily life – consider taking these 2 courses:


Both of these courses will help you rethink how you approach conflict with other people.  Or – if you want a more indepth course of study about applied Humanism – take my course; Living Made Simpler http://humanistlearning.info/livingmadesimpler1/

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