Posts Tagged ‘humanosophy’

1. What is "Humanosophy"?

This is the first post of this brand-new blog. What does “Humanosophy” mean? Humanosophy stands for a basic insight in what it means to be human: an insight based on knowledge from realms of science such as archaeology and paleo-anthropology, biology, anthropology and psychology. What is new about humanosophy? Not these research-based insights by themselves, but  rather the fact that humanosophy integrates the knowledge from these various disciplines into one multi-disciplinary, common, shared story of mankind.

So this blog will introduce you to this common identity and background that is shared by us all, as human beings on this little planet. Once our earliest ancestors were apes, now we are humans. The story of how we became what and how we are today is the core business of a humanosopher: reconstructing the shared story of our human development and identity.

[You:] Isn’t that the core business of philosophy? Or (and) of humanism?

That should it be indeed. But have you read already the philosophical or humanistic shared story of our human development and identity? The answer is no. And that’s a pity. Because as long as this story is not available, the backward patriarchal Adam-and-Eve story is still in charge. To the detriment of millions of women who lead an unhappy and undignified life; or of millions of secular people who feel no ground under their thinking.
Because I spend all my life in reconstructing how we became human and determining human nature, doing the work of a philosopher and humanist, I name myself ‘humanosopher’, hoping you’ll become humanosopher too.

[You:] But there are already tens of science-based books of human origins!

O yes. But they put on record the successive fossils of australopithic and human kinds, the successive technologies of stone and other tools, the growing contents of skulls and so on. But you can nowhere read what made our ancestors so special that they displayed behaviour that no other kind of apes ever did, like taming the fire and believe in gods. No of those books can replace the pessimistic and suppressing monotheistic creation story.

[You:] Aah! you want to write a modern bible!

No, I want to plea for a science-based project of the United Nations. The Universal Declaration of the Human Rights (1948) is based on the humanness of men. I plea for a science-based project to filling in this humanness, with participation of all governmental universities of all countries. A never ending project: as long as science progresses. But in later posts I will work out this idea. In the next post I want to give you an oversight of the authors who are important for my thinking.

As for your mentioning of the idea for a modern bible: in the following posts I’ll sketch a science-based human mental story: how we became linguistic apes (the picture above omens it already) and how our early ancestors experienced their world in a creation story of it. It is an innate need in us: we need a ‘creation story’ of our world to feel grounded in it and to feel human togetherness. Humanosophy is a humanistic/philosophical endeavor to work on this, with help of as much scientific material as possible.   

3. Human nature

Human nature is a three stage rocket.

1. On the most basic level we are a life form, like bacteria. All existing life forms strive to take as much energy as possible out of their environment, to maintain and propagate their own organism. The me-myself-and-I- inclination. This is still an influential incentive in us and it is or becomes dominant when we are in danger or think we are. And when it is tolerated by our environment and situation (a situation of power, e.g.).2. But we are (as apes et al) a kind of group animals. A group animal will be able to gather more energy sources when it belongs to a group then when it is alone. A group animal has an interest in the power of his group (collective) , in competition with other groups. This means that a group animal has to give up a part of his ego-inclination on behalf of the power of his group. Two incentives fight in the soul of the group animal: self-interest and common interest! How can it live with that internal conflict? By culture, by norms and values. The chimpanzees, who live under permanent threat of war with other groups, are the best examples of this. We know it as the fight between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in our conscience. An aside: collectivistic systems like fascism and other forms of despotism always need to create a situation of war against a (foreign) enemy, to suppress opposition.

3. As group animals we bear in us both egoism and altruism. But as humans we bear in us a third incentive on top of both. In the cultural evolution of our ancestors, who lived for about two millions of years in small bands, as nomads on the verge of extinction, we couldn’t permit disharmony, not within our own band nor with neighbour bands from which we were dependent for sex partners, common hunting, exchange of knowledge and asylum in bad times. This human incentive is our nature of the ‘noble wild’ that each of us wants to be in his deepest desire. This deep incentive became frustrated in us some ten thousand years ago, when we came to live in an overpopulation situation, like the chimpanzees. Frustrated; but far too short ago to destroy this third stage in us.

How we acquired this third hyper-social quality, we will see in the next post: “How we became humans from apes”.

In modern philosophy, the thinking about human nature became frustrated by political correctness. The ongoing nature/nurture debate, a distinction made by Galton (1822-1911), is about what is most influential in our behaviour: the environment in which we are born and live, or hereditary and genetic factors. In post-modern philosophy the environmental factors were considered dominant. Scientific attention for hereditary and genetic factors was been associated with eugenics and even fascism. In reality both nature and nurture are playing their role in us, so in post-modernism, dominant in the years after World War II, the debate was severely biased. When I started in 1993 with the humanosophy-project, a friendly biologist still cautioned me for this pitfall. I’m happy postmodernism is ‘out’: it was a philosophical desert and standstill.