Regardless, I wanted to highlight an ancient Humanist philosophy so you can understand why I say it arises in every culture and in every time. One of the nine major philosophies taught in India’s schools is Lokayat. Lokayat, also known as Carvaka, goes back at least to the 6th century BCE, though its origins are probably much older then that. It is the only philosophy of the nine that rejects gods, souls, after lives and an ethics based on judgment in the after life. Most of what we know about it comes from the attacks made on it by individuals who followed other philosophies. Their main complaint was that Lokayat focused on human happiness as it’s main goal. Sound familiar?
My friend Ramendra Nath, in his work Some Reflections on Ethics, has a great chapter on this philosophy that is a must read for anyone interested in Humanism. In it he says:
“According to Lokayat, this world is the only world, this life is the only life, and one should make the best of it. One should not run away from life just because pleasure in life is mixed with pain.”To read more about Lokayat - visit Dr. Ramendra’s ebook available at the Buddiwadi Foundation website - http://www.buddhiwadi.org/lokayat.htm
Or see the wikipedia article on this philosophy - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C4%81rv%C4%81ka