Positive Humanism: A Primer

Love and “Soulmates”

Love is arguably one of the most wonderful of all human experiences.  When we experience love, we feel a warm sensation all throughout our bodies.  This is an arational process.  A common irrational belief imagesassociated with love is the belief that we found our one and only “soulmate” on a planet of 7 billion people (a statistical impossibility).  This is also a potentially devastating belief to future happiness in the statistically likely case the marriage fails.  This irrational “soulmate” belief is not required to experience love.

A Feeling Is Not the Same as an Explanation of the Feeling

Awe is another of the great human experiences.  Looking down on the world from 10,000 feet or out into the universe on a clear and starry night can certainly lead to what many would call a “spiritual” experience, or the feeling of being just a tiny part of something much greater than oneself.  However, many take this experience and create or adopt a narrative in an attempt to explain the feeling (e.g., God).  This is the forming of an unnecessary and irrational belief based on the arational experience.  Believing you know something you can’t is not required to experience awe, in fact, this only robs people of more experiences—wonder and human curiosity.

Keep the Good, Lose the Bad

There is an added benefit to embracing the rational.  We can limit and control the effects of negative arational processes such as anger, jealousy, images-1grief, shame, fear, and even hatred.  For example, hatred is the result of a strong emotional response.  If we think critically by seeing the situation from the perspective of the target of our hate, we start to replace the hatred with the understanding that reduces or can even eliminate the negative emotional response, while enhancing the quality of our lives through better relationships.

We do not need irrationality any more than we need immorality.  Rejecting the irrational and unreasonable in no way limits the human experience; it enhances it.  Through arational processes, we can experience the full range of human emotions and use our rationality to form the most accurate and rationally-based beliefs.  We can use our critical thinking skills to mitigate the damage done by negative emotional responses.  Being a rational and reasonable critical thinker does not mean being an emotionally bankrupt shell of a human.  We embrace the arational such as elation, affection, awe, wonder, and love for what they are—human experiences that make life worth celebrating.

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