At this week’s Humanist Small Group meeting, we discussed the South African ethical concept of ubuntu, that a person becomes a person through a relationship with other people.
We had three tables full of people discussing this concept, so I can only report what was discussed at my table. I think most of us were sympathetic to the concept, but there was concern that the concept might tend to exclude people who are non-joiners by nature or have some aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome. I think we pretty much agreed that Humanism is pro-social and we encourage people to interrelate with one another, but we’re not pushing for anything to be compulsory. If a person shares Humanist values but doesn’t want to participate in a Humanist community, that is their right to do so.
While some of our discussion was about the personal nature of relating to one another, there was also discussion of the political aspects of community. I expressed my own feeling after the political events of this week that secularists need to start organizing communities to provide mutual support and social service to others rather than focusing on getting the government to pass social legislation. The prospect for progressive social legislation is growing increasingly dim; rather than wait for government to solve social problems, we need to work on these problems directly–as some religious denominations already do.
Please comment on this or any other aspects of todays discussion, or anything related to the concept of ubuntu.