Basic Orientation
Book1: R-E Living & "Homo Rationalis"
Book2: Humanianity
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Explanation Of Introduction
REUEP: A Closer Look
Name And Identity
Belief And Action
Punishment And Revenge
Sex And Violence
Faith, Honesty, And Advocacy
Religious Education, Indoctrination
Humanian Organization
(More)
Book3: Mind-Body Problem
Book4: (Future Possible Development)
Child Rearing Issues
Philosophico-Religious Issues
Psycho-Socio-Cultural Issues
The Twelve Articles
Relevant Autobiography
 
"HOMO RATIONALIS" AND HUMANIANITY
 
HELPING TO PROMOTE OUR THIRD EXPONENTIAL CHANGE
 

HUMANIAN ORGANIZATION



Well, I thought that the last chapter was indeed going to be the last chapter, but I have realized that there is still something missing from this book. It has to do with the immediate and long-term future of Humanianity, that is, whether indeed it is something that will "take off" and be a significant contribution to our species, and then, most importantly, if so, how?


And, to a certain extent, what I just wrote is somewhat inaccurate. I see "Humanianity" as something that is already occurring (though very early in its progress) as a part of the third exponential change that I have written about, and the term "Humanianity" is just a word that I have applied to this concept, hoping that doing so, and then writing about the concept, will help potentiate this very important change that, in my opinion, will mean so much for us. So the "How?" question is really "How can we most effectively expedite this important process?"


By creating this label and applying it to this concept, I am therefore not "starting a new religion." I am trying to contribute an additional set of tools for our species to help it get to where I believe it is ultimately going to go, a way of living that we have not yet experienced on this planet, a way of living during a future time that I refer to as the time of "Homo rationalis."


At that time, according to my conception, we will be drastically different than the way we have ever been. The change will not have been a genetic one, but a psychosocial one. According to my view, the most basic aspect of that change will have been a change in our ethics, from that which comes naturally to us as primates (a group animal) to that which will be a set of principles that guide us much more effectively to do that which is more optimal than what comes naturally. I believe that the shift will have been from naturally occurring "authoritarian ethics" (based upon the ultimate ethical principle that we should do that which X wants us to do, X being whoever or whatever is most powerful, whether parent, leader, group, culture, or deity) to what I have referred to as "rational ethics" (based upon the ultimate ethical principle that is the one defining feature of Humanianity, namely, the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle, or REUEP).


The REUEP is that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future .


So I see all, or at least most, religions as gradually changing in the direction of improvement, that direction of improvement being toward Humanianity.


Now it has been characteristic of most religions that they have been based upon a particular set of beliefs, which have tended to divide people from one another. Membership in a particular religion has usually been based upon a particular set of beliefs, sometimes referred to as a "creed," that a person is supposed to have in order to be a legitimate member of that religion. And so there have been many, many religions, as I understand it, each one based around a particular set of beliefs that many other people could not accept. This process has tended to cause much pain, suffering, disability, and early death (PSDED), because there has been a tendency for people to be turned against each other by virtue of being members of different religious organizations and "faiths," and when we have been turned against each other, we have at times done much that has produced PSDED.


It is my observation that there is currently an increasing tendency for members of religions to be more tolerant of, and even interested in, other religions, and to wish to join together with those in other religions in behalf of making the world a better place. Even though this is happening, there is not, as far as I can see, much wish on the part of people to share and compare their different "faiths" to see how such "faith" itself can be improved. There is much exploration by individuals with regard to finding a "faith" that "feels right." Individuals are trying different things. They are sampling the various religions as at a smorgasbord, and choosing what seems right for them individually. What does not seem to be happening is effort on the part of the specific religious organizations that are being offered on that smorgasbord to learn from each other and thereby change and grow. I believe this does happen some, but very little.


And of course there are many people who consider themselves to be nonreligious. They find themselves unable to believe any of the defining beliefs of the specific religions that they look at, and in fact consider Religion to be a primitive phenomenon that the world would be better without. They are somewhat likely to believe that Religion should be stamped out.


All of the above, however, has been focusing on the set of religious existential beliefs that have tended to be the "doctrine" or "creed" that many religions have. And indeed, it makes some sense for any particular group to be organized around a set of beliefs or principles that define the group and give it a greater capacity for cohesion. Without such a set of beliefs or principles, anyone could ask why the group exists. So, is it therefore the fate of Religion that it will always be divisive because of the need to have a unique, defining set of beliefs? Are those who believe that Religion should be "stamped out" actually correct?


I think that this negative view of Religion is connected to a somewhat inaccurate concept of what Religion actually is. I know that what I am about to write is something that will not be immediately and easily accepted, but I believe that with a little thought it will indeed be accepted.


As I have written elsewhere, I believe that if we take a look at all of those psychosocial phenomena that we have labeled with the word, "religion," the common, and therefore defining, feature is not the set of beliefs that are thought of as necessary to the identity of each of those religions, but is instead the function of those psychosocial phenomena, namely, the function of helping the individual to figure out how to live life in the best possible way.


When people have felt a sense of purposelessness, they have often turned to some religion or religious organization for help in overcoming that feeling. And when people have gathered together as a religious organization, their activity has been oriented primarily toward improving the lives of the members or participants, often by helping them to develop a way of viewing the world that has a positive effect upon how they feel and function, and to develop a way of living life (decision-making) that is considered better than the way they would be living it otherwise.


So Religion is primarily a set of methods of helping people to decide how they should live their lives. This means that RELIGION is our effort to develop increasingly optimal ETHICS.


I believe that it is helpful, for the sake of simplicity and effectiveness of communication, to consider that there are two different kinds of beliefs (that are very much interrelated in our decision-making), namely "existential beliefs" and "ethical beliefs."


For the purposes of this presentation, I will use the term "existential beliefs" to refer to beliefs about how the world is, was, and will be, including what will tend to happen if we do certain things, and I will use the term "ethical beliefs" to refer to beliefs about what we should and should not do.


In many religions, an explanatory worldview (set of existential beliefs about why things are the way they are) has been used to legitimize the ethical principles advocated for in each of the religions. A fairly large percentage of religions do this by postulating a God who is most powerful and wants us to behave in certain ways, these therefore being the ways we should behave. Obviously, this is an example of authoritarian ethics, as defined above. And what we have found is that such authoritarian ethics has often gone down the road of believing that the God in question wants people to do things that turn out to cause quite a bit of PSDED. And this is one of the reasons why many people have turned against Religion.


But the concept of Humanianity involves a shift to rational ethics, not based upon an ultimate ethical principle representing the wishes of a God, but instead an ultimate ethical principle that we have decided we want to live by, because we want as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future. And, as presented above, this ultimate ethical principle I have labeled the rational-ethical ultimate ethical principle, or "REUEP."


This ultimate ethical principle, of course, cannot be legitimized. Otherwise, it would not be ultimate. The ultimate ethical principle of authoritarian ethics cannot be legitimized either. One can only arbitrarily just proclaim that one should obey whoever or whatever is most powerful. (One could still decide to disobey God, for instance, and believe that to be better, the right thing to do; but again, such a decision would be arbitrary. The arbitrary nature of the ultimate ethical principle, and related issues, is discussed in my first book, For Everyone: Rational-Ethical Living and the Emergence of "Homo rationalis," available free at HomoRationalis.com.)


So although the REUEP is an ultimate ethical principle that cannot be legitimated, but will arbitrarily be either accepted or not accepted, it is an ultimate ethical principle that I believe will be accepted by more and more people who give thought to these issues and look for some ultimate ethical principle to live by. And this is the most important, basic transition that I believe will be involved in our species' third exponential change (the first two such changes being the development of language and the development of science and technology).


So, we begin by saying that Humanianity is the commitment to the REUEP, an ethical belief, and that to be Humanian, by definition, requires only that commitment, there being no other defining set of beliefs that could be used to clarify whether an individual was Humanian or not.


But then the question arises as to what set of beliefs a group of Humanians could organize around, such that it would even be worth it to join an organization of such individuals. It would appear at first glance as if there would be no reason for the development of such groups of individuals. However, I believe that this is not at all true. In fact, if anything, this single identifying belief, the ethical belief that is the REUEP, brings into existence a much needed set of activities that make Humanianity, and Humanian organizations, so valuable.


Ethical beliefs and principles (other than the ultimate ethical principle) are usually legitimated by higher (more general) ethical beliefs and principles and relevant existential beliefs. So if we start with the REUEP, that we should do that which will promote not only the survival of our species but also as much joy, contentment, and appreciation as possible and as little pain, suffering, disability, and early death as possible, for everyone, now and in the future, then we can ask how we should go about doing so. And the answer to that question depends upon our existential beliefs, about how the world is, was, and will be and what is likely to happen if we do certain things. Therefore, I will try to demonstrate what that means for any of us who are Humanian.


One of the most basic, fundamental observations that we can make (and therefore beliefs that we can have), I believe, is that there is difference of opinion, not just about unimportant things but about important things also. And some of those differences of opinion ultimately have something to do with important decisions we make.


I believe that another basic, fundamental observation we can make is that we can make "mistakes," that is, decide to do things and then find out that it would have been better to have done something else, usually with regret about the decision that was made.


It would seem that some of our existential beliefs are very important beliefs, and ones that can be more or less accurate, and therefore more or less prone to lead to mistakes in our decision-making. If this is indeed true, then it would seem to follow that our existential beliefs, at least those involved in important decision-making, should be as accurate as possible. (I am leaving open the question as to whether there may be beliefs that could be inaccurate but would not lead to any mistakes.)


Another observation that I have made, and that I believe anyone could make, is that we learn from one another, this being one of the most important ways in which we improve the accuracy of our beliefs.


And if this is indeed true, then it would seem to follow that whatever would increase that learning process, helping us to learn from each other as rapidly as possible, would avert a significant amount of PSDED.


It would seem that one of the most important things that we should do would be to develop methods of benefiting from each other with regard to the development of our most important beliefs (involved in our most important decisions, important by virtue of whether the resulting decisions are consistent with the REUEP).


And so, if the above is true, it would seem to me that we should as much as possible share and compare our different beliefs in the context of an attitude or orientation that it is important for everyone to try to understand how his or her beliefs vary from those of others, and why that variance does indeed occur. We should share and compare our beliefs, with careful listening to the other and with effort to understand the other in as clear a manner as possible.


A corollary of this belief would seem to be that as we engage in the effort to understand each other, we should rigorously avoid doing anything that would interfere with that process of understanding the other as deeply and accurately as possible.


Another corollary would seem to be that as we express our own beliefs for the purpose of helping others to understand us, we should do it in as clear a manner as possible, and in a manner that does not interfere with the process of being understood by the other. Examples would include our using words in as clear a manner as possible (so that they mean the same thing to any individuals engaged in such discussion), and that we should not engage in any nonverbal (for example non-relevant, emotional) behavior that would be designed to distract the other person from understanding clearly what we are saying or inhibit the other person from giving his or her honest response to what he or she is hearing. And of course what I have just written about would also be true with regard to communication that was primarily taking place through writing rather than speaking.


A simple, relatively clear, more specific example of an ethical principle that would seem to follow from the REUEP is that we should not be hostile toward the other person with whom we are discussing a difference of opinion. (I believe that most people will agree with my observation that hostility occurring in discussions of difference of opinion is currently very, very frequent, and at times leads to unfortunate consequences.)


Now notice that the above very basic ethical principles, presumably derived from the REUEP, are indeed beliefs beyond the REUEP itself. So, does this development of additional ethical principles immediately violate the idea that being Humanian involves being committed only to the REUEP? Are these some additional beliefs that will become a "creed" or required set of beliefs to have in order to be considered Humanian?


I believe the answer to this is that every one of these conclusions that I have come to and have been sharing with you are indeed open to examination and question. So it is conceivable to me that, despite my current inability to observe some flaw in my own reasoning and understanding, someone may indeed be able to discover such a flaw and thereby have a different belief than any of those that I have so far proposed, and even cause me to change something I have presented above.


So what this means to me is that if there is indeed a group of Humanians, all that can be said about the individuals in that group is that at a given point in time, a certain percentage of them have a specific belief or set of beliefs, and that the alternative beliefs can be specified also, with a statement of the percentage of the group of Humanians that have these alternative beliefs.


On the other hand, if everyone does agree with, for instance, the set of beliefs that I have referred to above, then that group could announce ("to the world") that, so far, all its members have that set of beliefs, along with the stated wish to hear from and understand the ideas of any people who believe that there are flaws in that set of beliefs. They would wish to have open discussion with any such people, in a setting and manner that would allow for the greatest possibility of improved understanding on the part of everyone.


(And once again, if there is anyone who believes that my belief about this is incorrect, I would hope to try to understand why, and would hope that the other individual, believing differently, would share his or her viewpoint. My current belief is that these beliefs are consistent with the REUEP and certain existential beliefs we can all agree upon.)


I would also say that it is very important that we always aim for 100% agreement, in that, as long as there is difference of opinion (belief), there is something that needs to be explored in order to understand why there is that difference of opinion. If there is indeed difference of opinion, not just the illusion of difference of opinion produced by the natural ambiguity and inaccuracy of language, then chances are that at least one of the opinions is incorrect, leading to the increased likelihood of making a mistake. Difference of opinion means that there is work to be done.


On the other hand, if there is unanimous agreement with regard to some belief (opinion) or set of beliefs, we should do that which will optimize the chances that such beliefs can always be reviewed, since unanimity is not an absolute guarantee of accuracy or correctness. Beliefs that are unanimously agreed upon should always be offered as a challenge to anyone wishing to examine them, and perhaps should be offered as a challenge at some point to all students.


I wish to point out how different this attitude or orientation is from that which the vast majority of people have currently. The extreme example currently is that of cultures in which there is the ethical belief that one should be killed for having the "wrong" beliefs. But even in cultures that allow for the most freedom of expression of difference of opinion, there is still a fairly strong tendency for individuals to group together according to beliefs, and to be hostile toward, or at least less empathetic with, other such groups of humans that believe differently. So Humanianity, as I am thinking of it, represents a very major change in behavior for our species.


I do wish to add that there are circumstances when accuracy of belief is not important, because of the nature of the situation and the goals of the activity. Entertainment often involves making use of the ability to enter into a belief-like state in order to benefit from the feelings that are produced. And play, including shared fantasy, or "make-believe," can be very enhancing of relationship. Under these circumstances inaccuracy of belief would seem to be consistent with the REUEP. It is only when the situation is one in which decision-making is important, with the risk of PSDED, that having accuracy of belief is so relevant. We need to have accurate (existential) beliefs about what is likely to happen if we do certain things, if we are contemplating doing them.


And of course there are many, many situations in which it is impossible to predict what will happen and therefore impossible to decide what one should do, this providing much freedom to decide what to do for reasons other than consistency with the REUEP (allowing for doing things "just for fun").


It might be appropriate to address here the question as to whether these friendly debates, sharing and comparing of beliefs to foster increased understanding and accuracy of belief, should include debates about the existence or non-existence of a God, or any such debates about the "supernatural." This particular issue is addressed toward the end of my book, For Everyone: The Mind-Body Problem (And Free Will Vs. Determinism): The Most Important Philosophical Problem (downloadable free from http://HomoRationalis.com), in which I believe I demonstrate that the "belief in" a God is more a personal structuring of one's subjective experience rather than a usable addition to the scientific effort to develop an explanatory model of the natural laws of the universe that allows for accurate and testable prediction. If one is not using authoritarian ethics, but instead rational ethics, and is thus legitimating a set of ethical beliefs by determining its consistency with the REUEP, then the "belief in God" becomes irrelevant to the task of ethical development and a matter of personal choice, except insofar as the way of believing in God should somehow lead to different ethical beliefs, in which case such a belief in God would indeed become appropriate for friendly debate. One would expect difference of opinion within a group of Humanian individuals with regard to these issues, but I believe such difference of opinion would not interfere with the development of a set of ethical beliefs legitimated by the REUEP. In order to understand adequately why I believe as I have just stated, I believe you will have to read the book I just referenced.


So now let's assume a group of people get together for a meeting of local Humanians. What would they do that would be consistent with this being a Humanian group? It would seem to me that there would be two primary sets of activities that would be consistent with the REUEP.


(1) There would be a set of activities designed to be of help to the group members in their effort to live their lives more and more consistently with the REUEP.


(2) There would be a set of activities designed to advocate for Humanianity in the wider world outside the group, assuming that fostering Humanianity throughout the world would be consistent with the REUEP. (But of course an important part of this advocacy would be the request to the outside world to provide feedback having to do with any ways in which Humanians were believed perhaps to be mistaken about something, by engaging in open, friendly debate about such issues.)


With regard to (1), it would seem to me that part of that effort would be general and part would be specific to the individual or group, and specific to the time).


The general effort to be of help to the members of the group would be the increasing development of a set of ethical principles to live by, and the more specific effort would be the development of solutions to specific ethical problems facing individuals in the group or facing the group itself.


[Edit (5/8/2015): What follows now, regarding the development of a "belief manual," is a set of initial ideas. Subsequently, an actual "Humanian Belief Manual" has been initiated, at http://humanianity.com/humanianity/humbeliefs.php, that I believe is far superior to what is described here, though utilizing the same basic set of ideas.]


Regarding the general effort, the method that seems to me to be the most efficient would be that of the development of a "belief manual" (perhaps a better name can be arrived at). The belief manual would have sections.


The first section would be the list of beliefs (existential and ethical) that were agreed to unanimously by that group.


The second section would be the list of beliefs that were agreed to by, let's say, at least 90% of the group.


The third section would be the list of beliefs that were currently being discussed as candidates for the first or second section, but about which 90% agreement had not been attained.


And the fourth section would be a list of the alternative beliefs proposed by those not in agreement with the beliefs listed in the second section.


The belief manual would always be updated, and dated, and it would always be posted publicly, and thus made available to other Humanian groups to stimulate their thinking and provide additional ideas for them, just as the Humanian group we are considering would make use of the belief manuals of other Humanian groups in its efforts to attain greater depth of understanding and work toward unanimity. And one would assume that it could happen that a belief in the first section could at some point be moved to the second section, because someone had found an unsatisfactory aspect of it, just as a belief in the second section might eventually be moved to the first section. All of this activity, the development of the belief manual, could be regarded as "studying."


It should be noted that if Humanian organizations do develop throughout the world, it may be desirable, for communication and logistical purposes, for them to be hierarchical, probably on a geographical basis, in which case there could be a second set of belief manuals, hierarchical belief manuals, each of which would be based, in the same manner, upon all of the belief manuals by all the groups that were considered directly "under" that group within the hierarchy. Again, such a set of manuals would be for information and study only, and not in any way a requirement of anyone's set of beliefs as a criterion for membership in such organizations.


And I would want to stress again, very strongly, that I believe an important principle to go in the first section, hopefully, would be that there should never be any expectation of, or requirement of, any individual or any group to adopt a particular belief in order to be a member of that Humanian organization. The belief manuals that I have been describing are simply public reports of the current opinions (beliefs) of those groups of individuals. They are not "bylaws," or "codes of conduct," or "creeds." The purpose of the belief manuals is to help people (within Humanian groups, within Humanianity, and within the world in general) to think ethically, that is, to become clearer about ethical principles, and about their probable consistency or lack of consistency with the REUEP. They would not in any way be a part of some degree of social coercion with regard to either belief or behavior, instead being helpful to anyone wishing to study such issues by making use of the ideas of others in the effort to arrive at a better way of living.


Of course, discussion (friendly debate) would be expected to occur in Humanian meetings, but it should, I would think, also occur in Internet forums for that purpose, and those forums again can be made accessible publicly, and be available to anyone who wishes to join in with regard to the particular topics being discussed, whether they consider themselves to be Humanian or not.


The public posting of the belief manuals, for instance on the Internet, allows everyone to benefit from the thinking and discussing done by others. I would expect more and more people to become interested in the thinking of Humanians, and ultimately to "join the movement," that is, come to accept themselves as meeting the criterion for being considered Humanian (the commitment to trying to live consistently with the REUEP). This process would be part of the ongoing development of the third exponential change to a far better way of life on this planet.


The belief manuals should, I believe, be a report of the beliefs only of those members of the organization that identify themselves as Humanian, because otherwise there would be much loss of significance of the data. The belief manuals would be to report the beliefs of Humanians, not of an undefined population.


To help convey an understanding of what I am referring to when I talk about beliefs being listed in sections in a belief manual, I will offer the following lists of beliefs that might occur in the "unanimously believed" section (recognizing that I could be wrong):

  • There is not a single thing that we can have that does not require others having done their part.
  • There is not a single thing that we can do (beyond the extremely trivial) that does not require others having done their part.
  • There is no individual, and there never has been, who knows how to make anything you see around you.
  • Without others doing their part, you and I die.
  • The more people do their part, the more everyone benefits.
  • What we believe is an important determinant of what we do.
  • If our beliefs are not accurate, we are more prone to make mistakes.
  • We accomplish nothing without some degree of agreement.
  • If we agree to that which is inaccurate, we can make really big mistakes, causing enormous PSDED.
  • The seeking of accurate beliefs to which we all can agree is crucial to the quality of our lives and our survival as a species.
  • We can believe almost anything.
  • Agreement of everyone with regard to a belief does not guarantee that the belief is accurate.
  • The best way to increase the accuracy of our beliefs is through friendly debate, an extremely difficult skill.
  • My tools for making the world a better place are my body, my brain, my mind, and my possessions (overlapping concepts).
  • I have the choice of taking care of my tools or not.

With regard to ethical beliefs, or principles, we might wish to state them in terms of values, that is, what we should and should not value, or strive for. Such lists might include the following:


What we should want (and strive for):

  • Doing our part to make the world a better place, within our spheres of influence and within the limits of our capabilities.
  • Self improvement, relationship improvement, improvement of our religions, societies, and cultures.
  • Dialogue, sharing and comparing of beliefs, friendly debate, understanding of self and others.
  • Accuracy of belief, education, science, communication technology.
  • Empathy for all beings that can suffer.
  • Cooperation, effort toward agreement regarding accurate beliefs.
  • Personal good health, mental hygiene, maintenance of capacity for joy.
  • Organization, efficiency, creativity, capacity for new insight.

What we should not want (and strive to avoid):

  • Lack of empathy, imperviousness to suffering.
  • Unresolved relationship discontent, chronic anger, wishes for bad fortune for others.
  • Hostility, antisocial behavior, predatory behavior, violence, terrorism, war.
  • Avoidable natural and human-induced hardship and disaster, disease, poverty.
  • Religious and ideological alienation and persecution.
  • Cultural victimization, ignorance, superstition, denial of harmless freedom.

So what I have been writing about up to now has been the general kind of discussions in Humanian meetings.


More specific discussions might occur in smaller sub-groups or, if the group is small anyway, in the group at large. These would be discussions regarding ethical issues or dilemmas that are being experienced by individual members of the group or by the group as a whole, or by people or groups known to the members of the group. Such discussions might well also generate proposals for existential beliefs and ethical principles to go into the belief manual in the third section, as beliefs and principles about which there might turn out to be either much agreement or significant difference of opinion.


Again, all of the above could be considered "studying," even though the more specific discussions might also be considered to be the provision of help to those having significant problems with ethical doubt, that is, difficulty deciding on the right thing to do.


But there is also the relationship of each group to the "outside world," that is, to those individuals who do not consider themselves Humanian but might be prone to do so if they learned enough about it. And of course the more widespread Humanian groups become, the more likely they will achieve the attention of the media and of the world in general. So if Humanianity is indeed a valuable development for our species, then the spreading of awareness of it will be an important part of the process. That means that Humanian individuals and groups have an important potential role to play in this development of the third exponential change described earlier. And that role can be labeled, I believe, as advocacy.


So the question can be asked as to how that advocacy can be most effectively carried out. It seems to me that the development of these Humanian groups that I have been describing, all over the world, would be an enormously effective way of fostering that development. I believe there is at least one specific way (and probably more) of going about fostering the "spread" of these groups.


At the time of writing this chapter, I am about to bring about, I believe, the first meeting of the first overtly designated Humanian group. The way I am doing it is to use the technology of Meetup.com.


This technology in general is leading to the appearance of new groups everywhere. People can express their interest in meeting for a particular activity or kind of activity, and they can find any such groups that are already meeting, and, if there is no such group, other individuals wanting the same kind of group to start up. When there is not such a group in their area, someone can pay to start one, becoming thereby the "organizer" of that group. He or she can then schedule the group meetings and also engage in and foster dialogue on the Message Board of the Meetup.com site for that group. As time goes on, the relatively inexpensive fee for the continuation of the group can be paid by the group as a whole, or the organizer can continue to pay for its continuation.


So my thought is that if the first group finds that it is being successful in its activities, it might be quite feasible for the group to take up a collection to pay for the opening up of another such group in a distant city. Then, others in that city, or area, interested in such things and therefore taking note of the existence of this new group, may decide to join. When that happens, whoever in the first group became the organizer for that distant group could turn over the role of organizer to someone local in that group who was willing to take on that role (and without, I would think, a request for return of the "seeding" money used to start the group). And if each developing group did that for even just two additional groups, the growth of such groups would be exponential (assuming that each group that was started did indeed persist). If groups doing such "seeding" did so for more than two such groups there would be an even greater exponential spread of such groups. Each group doing so every six months would lead to quite rapid spread of Humanianity throughout the world. I therefore believe the potential for rapid spread of such groups in this manner, and thereby of Humanianity itself, is substantial.


In anticipation of such a development, and in order to facilitate the concept of world-wide organization development, I have named the group that I anticipate beginning to meet soon "Humanianity of USA/NC/Charlotte." It should be obvious that naming such groups in this manner will make group identity stronger and clearer and also make communication worldwide somewhat easier. Note that if the above group becomes too large, and splits therefore into two groups, one of them could be named, for example, "Humanianity of USA/NC/Charlotte/South." Such naming would also make it easier ultimately to develop a hierarchy, as described above. And I would assume that each such group would also have a nickname, easier to say, such as "South Charlotte Humanianity."


Obviously, this degree of detail represents quite an elaboration of the basic idea of Humanianity, and, as such, may be found by others as having certain flaws or unrealistic components. I present this thinking to the reader so that he or she can use his or her imagination to come up with perhaps even better ideas. This way of organizing that I have suggested is just that, a suggestion. There is of course the question as to whether Humanian groups should indeed carry out such a plan, and this ethical question is indeed appropriate to be discussed in such meetings.


So, my effort has been to describe a methodology for promoting the development of Humanianity throughout the world, that is consistent with the REUEP and does not involve any coercion with regard to membership or belief. Anyone can become a Humanian and indeed have beliefs quite contrary to the majority, and by virtue of that difference actually be an important resource to the group. This is almost the opposite of the way religious groups usually develop.


In Humanian groups, it is more important to be open to in-depth discussion of all ethically relevant existential beliefs and all ethical beliefs, codes of conduct, and principles than it is to espouse beliefs simply because others in the group do so and are supposed to by virtue of their group membership. On the other hand, there may be some in a Humanian group who feel quite comfortable accepting the beliefs that have been developed by others, recognizing the important and effective methods by which such beliefs have been arrived at. (The degree of intensity of participation of members will necessarily vary, as it probably does in all groups, and, again, membership in a Humanian organization should not involve coercion of participation or any other restriction of freedom. Hopefully, recognition of the importance of the effort will be the effective motivator.)


I think it is important to call attention to the idea of Humanianity questioning itself, that is, of Humanians questioning their own beliefs, in an effort to live consistently with the REUEP. It has not been characteristic of religions for them to engage in self-questioning, at least not in public. In fact, such questioning would usually be considered "bad form," or socially inappropriate, and detrimental to the effectiveness of the religion. An individual doing so would most probably be advised to go find a religion that suited him or her better.


But one of the main reasons for the amazing growth of Science and its ability to enable us to do such incredible things has been its built-in capacity for and tendency toward self-questioning. It is not that forces operating against such self-questioning have been totally absent from Science, but there has been an open accepting of its benefit.


So for Religion to move in the same direction is quite an improvement, and one that can ultimately result in Science and Religion becoming equal partners, each contributing to the total effort of the betterment of our species. Science helps us develop increasingly accurate existential beliefs, and Religion helps us develop increasingly beneficial ethical beliefs.


What has been written about above has been a discussion of the most important function of Religion, that of helping individuals to learn how best to live their lives, that is, what they should do to make for better lives, for themselves and for others, or, in still other words, the function of the promotion of ethical living. This being the most important function of Religion does not mean that it is the only possible function. All of the other functions that religions currently carry out can be carried out by any Humanian group. Social interaction, understanding, and support; artistic appreciation; enjoyment of awe and wonder; provision of help for the disadvantaged and distressed; etc., all can be a part of the activity of any Humanian group.


And it should be remembered that an individual, in order to be Humanian, does not have to join any organization. The Humanian organizations are just there to help the individual learn faster how to live consistently with the REUEP.


So this has been a presentation of my ideas about the potential for the development of Humanian organizations, including some specific ideas as to how that might occur, all in the context of trying to make a contribution toward the emergence of Humanianity, a development within Religion that is consistent with our species' third exponential change. It is my hope that I am right and that others will join me in this specific effort, that is a part of an effort that many have been making all over this planet, in many different ways. It is by virtue of each of us doing our part that we, as a species, benefit, and I cannot imagine a greater satisfaction than to have done what I can as my part in that total effort.