This phrase “Sacral Humanism” was introduced on this site in the article “Three “S” Words to Clarify,” where “sacral” was used to replace “secular” as the defining adjective for Humanism. So, I’m going to explain this now. Humanism is prevalent throughout my writings on this site as Poetries of a New Spirituality within the ANSWeR of A New Spirituality We Are. That WE ARE is the gist of our essential Human-Humanity-Humanism. The “spirituality” part, I’ve tried in many ways to represent. It’s integral to all my poetry…and all my “poetries” as they manifest — where&howsoever. (Particularly in these: Theatrum Mundi, The Age of Pagaian Covenant, The Quintetion of Breath AWAYGO, The Cosmosion Oscillations of Purpose, and my mdok plays of manifest destiny’s odyssean Kairos.) — The word “sacral” holds both spiritual and physical (mind-body) as joined realities. (Sacred and Archetypal-Ontological)—-Basic Point: humanism does not/should not/must not… lose/remove “spirituality” from its conceptualizations. (I should send this to the journal “Secular Humanism.” Oh, the stir of it!!)
To show how this has been shown, I take us to Steven Pinker’s ENLIGHTENMENT N O W –The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress”–Penquin, 2018. A big book of 556 pages and arenas of information connections. I’ve excerpted and condensed the following from his summary conclusion in his chapter HUMANISM (p. 452-453):
“The story of human progress is truly heroic. It is glorious. It is uplifting. It is even, I daresay, spiritual. It goes something like this. — We are born into a pitiless universe, facing steep odds against life-enabling order and in constant jeopardy of falling apart. We were shaped by a force that is ruthlessly competitive. We are made from crooked timber, vulnerable to illusions, self-centeredness, and at times astounding stupidity. — Yet human nature has also been blessed with resources that open a space for a kind of redemption. We are endowed with the power to combine ideas recursively, to have thoughts about our thoughts. We have an instinct for language, allowing us to share the fruits of our experience and ingenuity. We are deepened with the capacity for sympathy–for pity, imagination, compassion, commiseration. ———- And our puny rational faculties have been multiplied ….. by… the burden of proof to verify ideas by confronting them against reality. — As the spiral of recursive improvement gathers momentum, we eke out victories against the forces that grind us down, not least the darker parts of our own nature….Much suffering remains, and tremendous peril. But ideas on how to reduce them have been voiced, and an infinite number of others are yet to be conceived. — This heroic story is not just another myth. Myths are fictions, but this one it true—true to the best of our knowledge, which is the only truth we can have. We believe it because we have reasons to believe it.— And the story belongs . . .to all humanity.”
Yes, he used the words “spiritual-redemption-sympathy-recursive-heroic-progress–truly&reasons to believe.” Spirituality is alive in these. Humanity as an Eartharian species is, whatever the culture or tradition, spiritually alive in all these real life concepts and pursuits. This is not mere “secular humanism.” I call it Sacral Humanism. The human venture is heroic and sacred. The song it sings resonates with believable grace and takes the recursive to the reciprocal and the ruthless forces of predation/prey to substantive prosperity and hope. My home is full of Altarpieces. My life is plush with Sympathies. My world is alive with Auguries.
Yes, in those three books, I strummed many WE ARE chords of the Poetries of a New Spirituality. It goes back, for me, to my leaving the business world in 1962 to go to the University of Chicago and Meadville-Lombard Divinity School–where the path, then labeled Religious Humanism, augured a new chapter in the celebrant-sacrality of the meaning of life. The Unitarian Denomination (soon to merge with Universalist) seemed a most worthy route to follow. I became a UU Minister. Did the free-thinking “UU Movement” miss its calling to carry-forth this banner more strongly within its fold? Well…the institutional realities of Churches, Reverends, Religion and Denomination will always keep it “in house” as it were. And UU has those very old theological terms to pay homage to. There is a Humanist Group in UU. The UU world has not grown (actually lost a bit since my day). The American Humanists Association founded in 1941 has today become much more of a presence–mostly due to the internet, climate change, and the daily advances of science. The Spiritual but not Religious segment of society seems to hover twixt the twixts. But growing it seems. Some time ago, I put “religion” on the shelf in favor of “spirituality.” Recently created the designation COVENEND to replace REVEREND. Covenant is a most spiritual concept/reality to me. It doesn’t need the “institution” of “religion.”
So, I don’t know if “Sacral Humanism” will have a significant play or not. I would hope that it might stir some “real-time” discussion. Sometime while I’m still here!!! I’m thinking of starting a Humanist Chapter locally for many reasons, including the exploration of my humanist theme of ANSWER –A New Spirituality We Are. Where I live–Clarksburg, WV–the Court House has two very large replicas of the Ten Commandments and the local police cars now have ( since Trump) — IN GOD WE TRUST painted on the rear end. Yes, and the here-born Confederate Stonewall Jackson is fully horsed in bronze in front of the Court House. For over eight years, the UU group here (with which I’m not involved, nor asked to be so) has not grown. An American Humanist Association presence seems overdue. The town tore down the Jewish Synagogue some years ago. I’m way into retired, but still able to start something. Every day, I live my Sacral Humanism and its ever-fruitful quest of The Poetries of a New Spirituality. — I could just continue my writings. But some good “worldly” conversation regularly would be nice. — mdok — 11/18