Letters to a concerned Free-Thinker, Letter #6: Call to Change

Dear Thinker.

There are two guarantees that the acquisition of knowledge brings: empowerment and freedom. It is these rewards that are guaranteed to all those who seek to rid themselves of the greatest enslaver of humanity: Ignorance. As a freethinker, as a person – as a normal individual – it should not be common to simply accept ignorance, especially if it harms you. Therefore, being apathetic to low standards of living – apathetic to ignorance and so on – should be negatively viewed rather than promoted. Ignorance and Apathy are the two most harmful viruses humanity has ever encountered. Both need to be cured with knowledge and progression; for both ignorance and apathy are enemies, and never allies. It is for this reason that I now attempt to rally to the defence of knowledge, and attempt to establish important principles.

The first one of these principles is as follows:
Question everything.

Socrates was right to posit such a strong statement, its power is evident in the way it changed Ancient Greek society and the world; thus the Socratic method (as aforementioned in Socrates’ statement) is a basis by which every human should rest their head. The ability to question authority – question the ‘normal’, the ‘common’ – is a fundamental liberty all of humanity has access to. Those who abuse their power, who attempt to shift the burden of responsibility off of themselves and onto the people, wish to rid themselves from the questioning of the constituency they have power over. In times like these, it is imperative that all subjects renounce the power from their abuser, whether it is by force or by mere scrutiny. Any elected government has its power solely rested on the people, and it is at any time that the people can renounce that power, and elect a new government to represent them. The ability to question authority, and the ability to question anything for that matter, is a liberty that should be exercised whenever the circumstance demands.

The second one of these principles is as follows:
Never be satisfied with rhetoric.

Always seek the merit of an argument, not on the basis of who utters it, but on the basis of that argument’s ability to reason properly. (It should be mentioned, that those who promise the world will speak with poise and grace, yet they have no intention on allowing that which they had promised to come into light. Such people will speak to persuade and deceive.)Take an argument based on its validity, and the ability of the points of that argument to align with reality; if there is no evidence, suspend judgement and do not accept anything on faith. (The minds of the foolish accept the cons of the well-spoken.) It is for this reason that one should seek the evidence of an argument, and reject the argument if the evidence is not sound. For the aforementioned reasons, it should never be satisfactory for a person to accept rhetoric; for rhetoric is a tool used to persuade, not a tool of validation. 

The third one of these principles is as follows:
Never be satisfied with poor living standards.

Apathy is a great virus that has been let loose on society. Should a person in poverty simply accept their poverty? Or should they take it upon themselves, or others take upon themselves, to help the person out of poverty? Why has our society got use to the idea of poverty? Why, when we switch on our televisions, should we get use to images of violence, hatred, death and misery? These things should deplore us, yet we say to ourselves, “There’s another one” and such. This apathetic attitude should be a warning; a warning that society needs to call to change. Humanity is a social species, yet every rotation of the hand we get slowly colder and more apathetic to poor living standards. Every single one of us on this planet should be activists against this apathy; for it simply making us more distort in thinking. We should seek to change the way in which we look at such disgusting things, such as violence, and help others when we can. A writer helps by spreading ideas to others, through written language, in the hopes that one of many who read will learn something about themselves, or the world around them; inspired in some way to do something to change the world, and make it better. Even the softest voice can have a dramatic effect on a person’s life. Never be satisfied with poor living standards.

The fourth one of these principles is as follows:
Oppose injustice.

Do what you can fellow freethinker to oppose wickedness, injustice and intolerance. In free-society, it should be are top priority as people to keep it free and as open as possible, even if we think others around us do not deserve it. As individuals, we should seek to promote the moral high ground: the principle of taking the higher ground to events that would incline us to do otherwise. When we see violence we should not engage with that violence; we should seek to engage instead in discussion and resolve issues not with our fists, but with our words – lest we stoop to a low level. My dear free-thinker, you should always seek to resolve issues and matters peacefully than otherwise. Oppose, as you can, those who seek to take the rights of others away, such as those who oppose the consent of a mother to rid herself of her own appendage (abortion) if she so chooses. One should always oppose injustice; wherever it may be.

The fifth, and final, one of these principles is as follows:
Promote education; plant the seeds of a brighter world.

In order to counter ignorance and apathy, we should seek to promote education, not just the type of formal robotic education that one may receive in the classroom, but the acquisition and willing to garter knowledge and understanding in each case one faces. The role of education is to make the individuals autonomous in their thinking; to be able to know how to think, as opposed to what to think. (Unfortunately many have confused the latter for the former.) To learn willingly, without imposition, should be the goal of any educational establishment; for when one wants to learn about the world around them, they will become adventurers in a brave new world. Wanting to learn about the world in which one lives in – how it operates, by what means it can be better understood and so on – helps one plant the seeds of a brighter world. It is for this reason that every individual, by their very ability to communicate, can teach and should teach. 

I hope my fellow freethinkers take these principles to heart and mind; for when a generation can stand by their principles, regardless of the enemy that opposes them, then they are able to establish tomorrow’s brighter world. With that said I now call upon you, my fellow freethinker, to take what you can from these principles and help build the future world. The only question that you have to ask yourself now is: Will I help build the future?

Knowledge is Power.
Use it.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson

Letters to a Concerned Free-Thinker, Letter #4: Unity and Humanistic Thinking

Dear Thinker. 

It is now time to address human thinking; primarily that of its yearning for kingship. Human solidarity is at the heart of our species; we wish to be in unison with one another, despite our differences. A common alliance with our brothers and sisters from across lands is an idea – a dream – which is pervasive in cultures across the globe. Face it; we are better together than in solitude. Together we build empires; torn apart we destroy them. Unity is the means by which humanity expresses the best of itself. Humanity is a social species, and as a social species the structure of the future rests upon a basic underlying idea of human solidarity. However, despite this underlying yearning, we still manage to displace ourselves; we still manage to erect walls, limit immigration and confine ourselves to warring sub-divisions. The idea of global unity, a global human solidarity, has become a concept that is now loosely thrown about by humans; few really take it to heart.  Time and cynicism have corrupted the idea of global unity; these things have moulded its outer structure to the point at which it is scarcely taken with any seriousness. It is portrayed, often at times as a “pipe-dream” a “lost cause”.

Our History is laced with men wanting to bring unity and prosperity, and when given support by the people these same men corrupt the idea with their yearnings for the primal instincts. It is a conflict between a yearning for human solidarity, and a yearning for dominance.  Disgusting it is to witness such men who attach themselves to good intentions, squander them for the desires of such simple dominance over their fellow primate. Examples bare themselves throughout the decadent pages of history; red banners flow from the Bolsheviks; the cults of national-socialists come to mind – adorned with banners symbolising peace and nationalism to hide their true intentions. These groups intentions may have been good, but poisoned they were by their incipient need to be kings of their surroundings. Ideals seem to cloud their thinking. Problems arise when humans fight for unity as a principle, but never maintain the ideal once it is established. As Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War, those who only plan for battle and never for the aftermath, or the replenishment of their troops, have been careless in their endeavours: “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.”(3:1.) By these men who squander the ideal of unity they encase it in a mere lifeless dream; no methods, no motivation to seek a better field vision, nor a respectable doctrine of the sorts. History is thus the story of humanity’s struggle between these two polar yearnings. The resolution between these opposites lay in humanism, specifically that of a “practical humanism”. 

Humanism is a philosophy of human solidarity; it is a philosophy which wishes to impart humanity with a sense of itself in the cosmos. Humanism is a philosophy that departs from the need for an external, overarching and prevalent creator; it is a philosophy for humanity alone. We are born to this world and have but one life to live, how we live it will most certainly impact upon others; thus it is best for one to live in unison with their fellows than to be at war with them. To insure that our families, friends and those who we love, and those we coexist with, flourish as conscious creatures, humanism emphasises the need for unity.  Practical humanism is the means by which one pursues this unity. It emphasises the need for reason, empathy and altruism when dealing with our fellow global citizens.  By finding a commonality amongst us and seeking to build a brighter future based on that fact, and through the deploring of autocracy, totalitarianism – the mean by which humanity is caged – humanity can seek liberation from its hardships, and begin to aid itself.

Yet, there still remains a problem in this endeavour. How are we to achieve such an acknowledgement of our condition? Well, I have sought – in my endeavours – to provide a methodology. Indulge me for a few moments, while I explain this methodology. This methodology is the product of the postulations that have been made in response to problems that I have seen facing societal improvement; such as problems of social acceptance, class, human rights and the quality of life. These come as the result from my observations of history, as well the environment around me. In response to these problems I have come up with three ‘E’s, these are as follows:

Emancipation – that is to say to ‘free’ oneself from the shackles of ignorance or unknowing – is the primary focus of the individual; it is better to be unshackled than captive to one’s own ignorance. Education is the means by which we unshackle the chains of ignorance. Through the acquisition of knowledge we achieve the ability to improve, not only our lifestyle, but our resilience to fear; for fear is the product of ignorance. Education also gives rise to social awareness and the social acceptance of people’s rights, which in turn allows for progression; human progression comes as the result of liberty, and the bestowing of rights upon the individual. Education emancipates the mind from the shackles of ignorance, and empowers the individual towards enlightenment. Empowerment is the end result of this sequence; by giving strength to people through education, one has allowed for them to be self-reliant, self-aware and self-motivated. These things lead to a betterment of the human condition, as it allows individuals to be aware of the problems they face, and allow for them to seek out solutions to those problems. Empowerment leads to enlightenment, which is the final stage of human progression: the state at which humanity is aware of its condition in the cosmos.

As one can see by the aforementioned methodology, unity becomes possible through the acknowledgement of the human condition. If one adheres to practical humanism (the methodology I have expressed above) then one can achieve a better world; the tree of tomorrow’s world grows with the seeds that we plant today. Humanism seeks to plant such seeds, as it believes it is more than just ‘sufficient’ to do so; but that it is in fact a fundamental necessity. Remember that the future is built upon the ideals laid down in today’s world, and it is only when we plant the seeds of a better world today that we will receive one tomorrow. Furthermore, nothing can be said more vehemently than the advocacy of change to the social problems; the youth depend upon it. If we plant the seeds of destruction today, then we will reap the consequences tomorrow. It is for this reason and others that we should seek to better our world; to seek out love for its own sake, and to seek out unity for humanity’s sake. When we do these things we build a brighter world…and a brighter future.

Knowledge is Power.

Use it.

Written By: Anthony Avice Du Buisson