Reason in Action - by Hector Hawton - PDF ebook

Reason in Action

Reason in Action
Reason in Action

HUMANISM is not a single, comprehensive system of philosophy that you must take or leave. It is an attempt to deal with the situation in which no such a system and no religious revelation is conveniently available to resolve all our perplexities. If we are thrown on our own human resources, compelled to create our own standards of conduct, unable to count on some future existences in which mistakes and injustice will be redressed what then?

The essays in this volume are personal statements by five humanist writers. They do not agree on all points, and this is to be expected of a philosophy that throws total responsibility on the individual for making his own judgments and deciding what kind of life he should lead. But the points of view expressed here belong to the same family of ideas. 

They have sufficient in common to bring all who think on these lines to desire an organization that will exert an influence on public opinion and affairs. Humanists and rationalists the terms are regarded as synonymous may differ about high theory but they will usually be found voting in the same lobby on questions of social welfare and reform.

The plan of the book is to show how humanism is related to other philosophies and religions to state, for example, what the 'unbeliever believes. 

Then the long, historical tradition out of which contemporary humanism emerged is described. The remaining essays deal, in effect, with morality without religion (at least in the usual sense), the relationship of the individual to the community, and the various organizations which have acted as vehicles of these ideas. 

It is to be hoped that these essays by writers prominently associated with various humanist organizations will satisfy some of the curiosity which is felt about humanism itself and perhaps remove certain misconceptions from and clarify the minds of those who cannot accept the usual religious solutions and have not yet found a satisfying alternative.

Man is a tool-making animal; but if we dwell too much on this characteristic we are in danger of overlooking something that has played just as significant a part in human history the burning curiosity which has led to the creation of great systems of religion and philosophy, man is a propounder of questions. He is tormented by riddles and enigmas. 

They afflict him like hunger and if he can find no answer his peace of mind suffers. He begins to ask questions as a child the everlasting Why? When he is older he realizes that some of these questions were foolish though not, perhaps, more foolish than many of the answers. Later, instead of asking Why? he asks How? Much better answers can then be provided, but they do not entirely meet his needs. There is still a craving, half-smothered as it may be, to ask questions that nobody can answer. People ask, for example, 

'What is the meaning of life?' or, 'Why am I here? What is the purpose of it all?' If they are told that there is no sense in asking such questions and that they had better see either a psycho-analyst or a logical analyst, they may be silenced, but they are not always convinced. The itch may remain the desire to eat of a tree of knowledge that is forbidden. 

They may spend their lives in Reason In Action a vain search for its fruit, or perhaps come to believe that at last, they have found it. This, I think, is one of the reasons for the revival of primitive forms of religious belief at a time when the main trend is in the opposite direction.

the book details :
  • Author: Hector Hawton
  • Publication date:1956

  • Download Reason in Action - PDF ebook  - 4 MB.

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