Being a Humanist, I am often asked, whether I believe in nothing.
I do. Nothing is a wonderful concept for me that symbolizes a state of mind from which one can appreciate (or not) everything else. I do believe in emptying my mind to give place for new ideas. Jokes aside, I believe in love, friendship, kindness, cooperation, compassion, brave awareness, self-reflection, critical thinking, purposeful change, beauty of creation, usefulness of scientific method, ever changing life forms, reasonable personal rights and freedoms - to say the least.
I constantly adjust my believes, especially when I analyze complex conflicts and situations. With time, I make less adjustments to the major parts of my credo, and more to more specialized areas. For example, kindness as a principle stays, but the ways to practice and apply it under new or dramatic circumstances gets refined and becomes more dependent on various conditions and external factors.
The major events of my life that shaped my belief system were these seven:
- Being given away at age one and returning to my parent after age five;
- Not being indoctrinated into a religion and having access to good books early on;
- Observing multiple ways of life and using three languages before age twelve;
- Knowing what human societies do to other forms of life and the environment;
- Being a double-immigrant and have lived under six national states with different sets of laws;
- Having both bad and good partnerships;
- Russo-Ukrainian war since 2014.
- Love I started appreciate later in life, in most of its forms - from unconditional love towards children I did not know myself, through passionate erotic love that set me free, to the general sense of love to other beings.
- Friendship is one of the most precious type of relationship we can build independently, and is a form of love. I was happy to live in cultures that cultivate deep friendships, but I also luckily managed to find it everywhere.
- Flirting is a way to give all people some love for who they are, acceptance, joy, and sense of possibilities in our complex societies and groups. From playful compliments on the streets of Paris to inviting an elderly person to a dance on a rural fest - I hope we will keep all good forms of it and will find a way to avoid discomfort.
- Kindness - as someone who grew up in subculture of glorification of intellectual abilities, my first serious step toward kindness I expressed with change in my consumption. The previous attempts to just be nice or to simply accept kind gestures I had internally rejected with shame. I did not become a particularly kind person, but I found ways to remove innate and learned restrictions to its presence in all of us.
- Brave awareness - I believe we should thrive to see reality as it is. There are entities beneficial to our existence, and those fairly indifferent, and those detrimental or murderous, and all others in between. It could be organisms, including our fellow humans, organizations, processes, concepts, data, and other forms of matter and information. Likely, you will be supported buy your peers and the way of life, but ultimately, you alone decide how to exist.
It is sad to me that most societies do not teach young people how to build internal peace and resist external exploitative tactics. It might be that older generations in general are more interested in keeping them obedient and productive. So in most cases, observant attentiveness is better for an individual than the easier belief in either ultimate benevolence of higher power or evil everywhere.
- Cooperation is one of the two best ways to accomplish big projects, and I am very auspicious of all ideologies that stand in the way of people uniting to create a greater good. Respectful competitiveness is great in some regulated environments, I have fun with it in some areas as well, but I believe its benefits for individuals and societies are exaggerated. Although, as a single child I am mellow in this regard, and might be especially biased against competitive tricks that disrupt cooperative efforts.
To be continued...
- I understand that people seek faith to find certainty and avoid anxiety. It could be that for some reason I am comfortable with higher than normally tolerable levels of uncertainty. I try to observe my fears if they appear and not let them take root in my soul.
- Seeking meaning or motivation is not my thing either. Our minds are so interesting that we should have plenty if we have time and appropriate conditions to notice, and maybe some freedom from survival concerns.
- I was not indoctrinated in childhood, so I have not attached my morals to a firm believe in anything. They were just there, developing further with new interactions.