Why is Humanism so Important?

Philosophy isn’t what we think. It’s how we think. It’s the framework within which we do our thinking.

Your thinking, to a certain extent, is constrained by your philosophy. If you want to free your thinking from it’s built in constraints it’s a good idea to consider why you think what you think. In other words, it’s a good idea to reconsider your operating philosophy to ensure that it’s still working well for you.

And this is why I promote Humanism. Humanism is a practical philosophy. Our goal is to do good and to be good so that we can thrive and be happy and hopefully help other people along the way.

It seems simplistic, but this basic framework for how we think has some really nice attributes. For one, it is a philosophy about always needing to improve. We are never finished. That’s a feature of the philosophy, not a defect!

In order to do and be good we have to know what good is and means. And this requires thinking. It requires reality based decision making. It requires compassion – which isn’t easy to apply to other people and it means taking personal responsibility to do- because it is only through doing that we are.

I was asked recently what I think the most important thing Humanism has done for society. My answer is humanistic medicine. Reality based, science backed, compassionate care means we no longer treat things like epilepsy as demonic possession problems. It also means we don't house mentally ill in insane asylums to keep those demon possessed folk away from the rest of us.

Compassion and Science - powerful tools for improving society and for the individuals who inhabit that society. Humanism matters because humans matter.

Epicurus said:
“Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul. And to say that the season for studying philosophy has not yet come, or that it is past and gone, is like saying that the season for happiness is not yet or that it is now no more. Therefore, both old and young alike ought to seek wisdom, the former in order that, as age comes over him, he may be young in good things because of the grace of what has been, and the latter in order that, while he is young, he may at the same time be old, because he has no fear of the things which are to come. So we must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since, if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed towards attaining it.”

To learn more about Humanism - consider reading Jen Hancock's Handy Humanism Handbook
Living Made Simpler - a Humanist Approach
Or, if you are ready to do some deep thinking about your thinking habits, consider taking Living Made Simpler - a 6 hour online workshop that will help you better define who you are and how you want to live your life. https://humanistlearning.com/livingmadesimpler1/


  1. Love this, Jen! Philosophy is how we think. So very true. Reminds me of Joseph Campbell saying that myths weren't about life, but rather the experience of it.
    Very well done! Thank You.


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