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And the award for the worst humanist quote ever....

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Diane
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 9:07 am

And the award for the worst humanist quote ever....

#1 Post by Diane » October 31st, 2007, 4:20 pm

....goes to Ingersoll, as far as I'm concerned.
“Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.”
I can't help thinking of generations of dutiful wives who, despite being clever, had no higher education and no work outside the home and who were bored to tears with their lives but who made their families happy.

Why is this quote so favoured by humanists?

I don't agree that happiness is the 'only good' anyway. Does anyone?

Maria Mac
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#2 Post by Maria Mac » October 31st, 2007, 5:18 pm

Fair comment, Diane. To be fair to Ingersoll, he did say it was his personal creed rather than preaching it as a universal truth.

I don't like the 'happiness is the only good' part of it but I think there is truth in the last part. It's just not true in every instance. I don't really know why the BHA picked that particular slogan to stick on their postcards. I think there are far better ones to exemplify humanism.

Phaedo
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 3:54 pm

Re: And the award for the worst humanist quote ever....

#3 Post by Phaedo » October 31st, 2007, 7:49 pm

Diane wrote:....goes to Ingersoll, as far as I'm concerned.
“Happiness is the only good. The place to be happy is here. The time to be happy is now. The way to be happy is to make others so.”
I don't agree that happiness is the 'only good' anyway. Does anyone?
I've got a feeling the the Ingersoll quote is a reference back to Aristotle who said...
Happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it.
and..
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
in that context I think it can be said to be the only, as in supreme, good. He did also give a lengthy discourse on precisely what he meant by 'Happiness'.
True lovers of knowledge are temperate and brave...
Socrates

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Lifelinking
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#4 Post by Lifelinking » October 31st, 2007, 7:58 pm

The Humanist Approach


Seeks to understand life and the world through reason and rationality

Favours an open and pluralistic society

Commited to democracy, a liberal outlook and human rights

Concerned with securing equality and eliminating discrimination

Urges the conservation of the Earth’s resources

Advocates a secular society with separation of church and state

Encourages moral behaviour in personal and social conduct

Respects all beliefs; tolerates opposing beliefs

Seeks naturalistic explanations supported with evidence

Rejects supernatural explanations supported by faith
how about this?
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

#5 Post by Nick » October 31st, 2007, 10:12 pm

Hi Lifey, good try but no cigar. well, not a whole one anyway. :grin:

I have a major problem in one area, and niggles in others.
Respects all beliefs; tolerates opposing beliefs
I think some beliefs deserve a big, fat raspberry, and no respect whatsoever. Only then will they (the beliefs, not the believers) die, as they deserve to.

The other niggles are concerned with definitions and such like.

Democracy. Hmmm. Tyranny of the majority? I'd tend towards a definition which centred upon the acceptance by the governed of the powers exercised over them. Maybe that is the intended definition of democracy, but democracy itself, as an objective, strikes me as something of a shorthand phrase. Hitler was elected.

Eliminating discrimination. Hmmm. I understand and support the sentiment, but to express it thus can lead to unintentioned consequences. For a start, don't you think 'elimination' is something of an impossible target? Not least because I think it's impossible to define?

Equality. Of what? Different equalities are mutually exclusive. Equality of opportunity or equality of outcome? this is fraught with civilisation destroying problems.

I also have trouble with the phrase 'human rights'. For example, I think everyone should have access to proper drinking water, but millions don't. I'd rather concentrate on providing it, than deciding that it is a 'right'. Worse still, everyone claims that everything they want is a 'right'. IMO, it suffers terminally from 'rights inflation'. Every day we here of new 'rights'. 'Rights' are not a good yardstick for measuring the progress of humanity.

Going back to Ingersoll, I can see both sides of the argument. I have more of a problem with defining 'happiness' than describing it as the 'only good.'
'Here' and 'now', I'm reasonably happy with, because it contrasts IMO with 'the next life', rather than 'who cares a stuff about tomorrow'.

I agree with Diane about being true to yourself, but I think the point that Ingersoll was making was that you are unlikely to be happy if you centred your efforts on yourself to the exclusion of others.

But overall, whenever you try to reduce philosophies to a few lines, you are going to run into problems of definitions and 'what ifs' and 'ah, but's'. For what it's worth, my definition is that though there is no supreme being, life is positive nevertheless.

Maybe that's too vague (and it contains a wholly unsubstantiated claim), but it works for me.

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Lifelinking
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#6 Post by Lifelinking » October 31st, 2007, 10:40 pm

I got the quote here Nick http://www.thinkhumanism.com/phpBBForum ... .php?t=798

It was so badly written I thought it deserved to be in this thread - given the title.

It appears I was being too cryptic. (you didn't really think I wrote that mince did you? ..........)



:)
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Jem
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#7 Post by Jem » November 1st, 2007, 12:17 am

[img]http://www.online-thecatsmeow.com/image ... jolson.gif[/img]

OMG! I'm sooooooooo loving this!

It can't be 'mince'. Don't you know the writer has FIVE university degrees? :shock:

Nick
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Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

#8 Post by Nick » November 1st, 2007, 9:49 am

Lifey
(you didn't really think I wrote that mince did you? ..........)
Well, no. I recognised it from somewhere, though I didn't quite know where. I was a little surprised that you had quoted it. If my response seems tame, it is because I didn't want be insulting, as I thought, to you. I should have thought a little harder. I've been gotcha'd :redface:

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Lifelinking
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#9 Post by Lifelinking » November 1st, 2007, 11:41 pm

It can't be 'mince'. Don't you know the writer has FIVE university degrees?
I can only assume that the original piece was not meant to be seen as a finished article. More of a work in progress really. A draft, so to speak. Er ....... :exit:


(Nick - no offence taken - all a bit of fun)




L
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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