Us and Them, Nature and Humanism
Scott, Eugenie C., Free Inquiry
Does humanism exclude the membership of Homo sapiens in a wider ecosystem? I believe it does just the opposite: it requires a recognition of our kinship with nature.
Let me explain. Anthropology shows us that human beings tend to rank other individuals in importance, value, or mode of treatment based on kinship. As the Bedouin say, "Me against my brother; me and my brother against my cousin; me, my brother and my cousin against the world."
Modern societies do not differ from tribal ones in this regard. We tend to treat other citizens differentially depending on how much they are like us, which is really just an expression of the tribal society's concern with kinship. In the big cities, we don't have complex extendedkin relationships anymore, but we do have same/different and us/them. People give neither resources nor affection randomly, without concern for the nature of the recipient, and we are more likely to give to those more similar to ourselves. When hurricanes hit, …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Us and Them, Nature and Humanism. Contributors: Scott, Eugenie C. - Author. Magazine title: Free Inquiry. Volume: 13. Issue: 2 Publication date: Spring 1993. Page number: 14+. © 1999 Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1993 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.