Friday, September 30, 2011

The failure of institutional humanism

Isocrates, one of the ten Greek attic orators is famous for his these lines, taken from his book, “Panegyricus”, "Our city of Athens has so far surpassed other men in its wisdom and its power of expression that its pupils have become the teachers of the world. It has caused the name of Hellene to be regarded as no longer a mark of racial origin but of intelligence, so that men are called Hellenes because they have shared our common education rather than that they share in our common ethnic origin.” It is thought that it is the first of its kind in which “Our” is not defined based on ethnicity or common origin but based on intelligence and wisdom. Intelligence and wisdom is something that is not bound to races and it is why we see a tendency towards “humanism” in works of all those individuals which are considered wise by their intellectual measures. Humanism was mostly in the works of wise men or groups of activists who had an awakened consciousness until in the 1948 after bitter experiences of WWII, the nation states, institutionalized it in what we know as “Declaration of Human Rights”, composed of 30 articles.
The Human Rights Declaration was something beyond intelligence and wisdom agreed all upon to include human race. That was a leap forward in the human history but the biggest question it faces by historical experiences of the decay processes in the institutions, will Human Rights remain safe of decay process? (The signs of decay are already appearing)….
Someone with a mere knowledge of Renaissance knows that it was a rebellion of reason against the institutionalized religion of Europe, “The Church” and the “Pope”. The decline of the institutionalized religion to institutionalized democracy or Government of People, made Philosophers like Nietzsche to declare in several of his works that, “God is dead”,
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125…….
By God is dead, Nietzsche wasn’t meant that “God” as a belief has died but God as source of legitimacy for institutional religion as rulers of Europe has died. People were looking to reasoning and Science rather to religious institutions for the enlightenment. Nietzsche was a man of reason and I think, not any reasonable person can be against Personal God as we know that relationship of one with his God is beyond the reach of reason, into unconscious mind. Weren’t it the case, Richard Dawkins wouldn’t write the book “God Delusion” after more than one and a quarter century after “God is dead” declaration of Nietzsche. The men of reason are against ruling on people by the name of God as it suppresses the basic freedoms of men and it is what basically Human Rights mean that nothing either it is God, Race, Ethnicity, Culture or Country can be the source of legitimization for suppressing the basic rights.
Now coming to Human Rights, we see the same authorities who have signed on the Human Rights Declaration are either using it as a tool to play their politics in order to gain more power or totally ignoring it under name of national interests. Isn’t it what was going on to religion in the Middle Ages? Wasn’t religion used for gaining more power instead of spreading of “love for all”, its core message? If such a powerful institution like Church that had millions of devotees in all nations of Europe couldn’t survive to misuse, how will Human Rights Declaration survive that have no other devotee except a minority of people with awakened consciousness. Of course as God still lives in hearts of people who seeks Him, the belief in Human Rights will live with awakened people but I am sure, if Nietzsche was living in our time he would write,
“Humanism is dead. Humanism remains dead. And we have killed it. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become Humans simply to appear worthy of it?”……..

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