Intro. to Personal Works

Some observers have tended to view the Humanist Movement simply as a social, political, or cultural current. While it is true that the activism and militancy of the Humanist Movement are expressed in these areas, it is also true that the Movement’s concerns with existential themes, with the daily realities of the human being, have given rise to activities and proposals that extend well beyond what we have observed in those empty currents. In traditional social, political, or cultural activities, the struggle for social transformation has led to all but ignoring what happens in the individual, leaving people alienated to the breaking point, sacrificed on the altar of massive ideals, and thus creating a dialectic between the person and the whole, a conflict between person and political party, person and class, etc. All this has resulted in a deepening loss of meaning for the individual, very much like what the System currently instills in people. In today’s world we see increasing fragmentation, the destructuring of entire countries, institutions, political parties, and every part of society. It is a time of rupture in interpersonal relations, as the last vestiges of solidarity are being swept away. The family, cooperation, and friendship become ever less direct, more intermediated, and no longer constitute values in themselves. Even in love, once the initial excitement has faded for a couple, from the ashes arises a tormented competition to determine who shall be the rightful owner of the objects or “values” they once shared. The time is fast approaching when individuals, isolated in their own separate cells of the beehive, will also suffer destructuring within their own consciousness. Why should we be surprised, then, when we see madness, suicide, drug addiction, terrorism, and violence of all forms increasing?

Each culture’s territory becomes simply a super-market, each country simply a market, each family a mini-market. It is hard to fathom how market laws will be able to induce the new generations to passively accept this package of ever-increasing recession, unemployment, overpopulation, pollution, and violence. What is clear, however, is that market laws will become the laws of discrimination, division, and high tech barbarism.

In the humanist philosophy, human beings are viewed as open to the world – living amid conditions that are imposed, but with the possibility to choose their lives, to choose their associations and groups, to choose their social ideals, and their commitment to struggle – or inaction. In short, human beings are free to choose the direction they want to give their lives. As Humanists, we meditate on these things, trying to answer whether we want to live, and under what conditions we wish to do so. And our moral principles follow from the answers we give to these questions, formulated from the deepest part of ourselves.

The term “personal work” can be misleading. What we mean by this is activities that relate to each individual, but that do not stop with each person, isolated in his or her own little cell of the beehive, but are instead carried out in a group. It is therefore very important to provide ample opportunities for discussion, interchange, and mutual contribution as part of each person’s and the group’s work. For this reason we encourage everyone to attend and participate in these activities together with their spouse or significant other, to participate with their parents and children, their friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers. At the same time we encourage the dissemination of these proposals in neighborhood newspapers, in larger newspapers and magazines, and their inclusion in radio and television programs, with proper arrangements and always citing their source, and always providing opportunities for discussion, for people to agree or disagree.

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