Saturday, January 30, 2010

Humanism? Not.


I figured it out. I am not a Humanist, I am a Humanitarian.

/hyuˌmænɪˈtɛəriən or, often, yu-/
[hyoo-man-i-tair-ee-uhn or, often, yoo-]
1. having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people.
2. of or pertaining to ethical or theological humanitarianism.
3. pertaining to the saving of human lives or to the alleviation of suffering: a humanitarian crisis.
4. a person actively engaged in promoting human welfare and social reforms, as a philanthropist.
5. a person who professes ethical or theological humanitarianism.
1810–20; humanit(y) + -arian Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

In Social Welfare class last night, we wrote a short essay answering three questions:
What is poverty?
Why are there poor people?
What should be done about poverty and poor people?
While I was writing my essay, I had a small, earth-shaking epiphany that there is a word for human-centered that is less human-is-superman than humanistic. This is humanitarian.

I am concerned for the welfare and happiness of people.
I will help to improve the welfare and happiness of people.
I may save human lives.
I will alleviate suffering.
I will promote human welfare and social reforms.
I am a humanitarian.

I may often sound like a Buddhist.
I may often sound like a Taoist.
I may often sound like a Pragmatist.
Some may interpret this as Humanism.

It is not.

It is humanitarianism.

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