Yesterday I met with fellow Humanists at our monthly Humanist Contemplatives Club. After a silent period of reflection, reading, and/or meditation, we had what I thought were one of our best conversations yet.
One point that I particularly liked was made by former Catholic Priest, Ron. We were all talking at one point about how some people like to split everything into two realms of experience. Tom said that we don't have different realms of experience, we just have our experience. I noted that, implicit in the materialist position is almost the necessity of a special kind of spirituality in which we think of Nature with a capital 'N'. By that I meant that, we know for a fact, through our first-person experience of consciousness, that something bizarre and amazing is going on - just by the fact that we have a sense of experience. If matter and energy is all we have reason to suspect exists, then that says something remarkable about matter. It says that, in certain circumstances or conditions, mere matter can become experience or experience consciousness. If that's true, then we have no way of knowing if some sort of rudimentary qualia or consciousness exists in other complex interactions of matter.
Then Ron said that, for we Humanists, perhaps the problem is that we haven't developed the vocabulary to discuss some of these things we're trying to discuss yet, and so we use outdated terms like 'spirituality' [or 'soul'?] as stand-ins. I thought that was a good point and added that, perhaps it is people such as the Humanist Contemplatives who might be among the ones to think about new vocabularies for discussing such things?
We also discussed many other interesting topics and how they related to our lives, but that's for another time.
In other news, I have recently learned that the American Humanist Association has approved my becoming a Humanist Minister. However, the full process won't go into effect until sometime around February of next year. I heard this through the grapevine, but I hear they're supposed to officially let me know soon. I'm very grateful to those who helped me along and gave their recommendations, and to Minister Ross Henry, who has offered to tutor me a bit on the various ceremonies Humanist Minister preside over (weddings, funerals, namings, celebrations, and so on).