Humanist philosopher Corliss Lamont says that:
“Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and advocating the methods of reason, science and democracy.”
Many Humanist and Atheist organizations are great on several things. They are great at socializing and complaining about the more pernicious elements of organized religion. With Humanism being a philosophy about living (Lamont), we reach out and seek building a better human experience.
Part of our commitment to a better human experience is to reach out and do what we can to help others and the better our general community. In the past we have gone out and done night-time condom distribution in Balboa Park, we have volunteered to clear brush, and we have raised money for cancer research in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Light the Night” Walk. And, we have done a number of outreach events where we have assembled care-packages to help the homeless.
We do these projects under the coordination of our Community Services Director and 2013 Humanist of the Year: Victoria de la Torre Cortés.
People often attribute this type of direct-human-services approach to churches. Yet, the humanity-obligation to take care of members of our human family in pursuit of reminding ourselves that these people are our neighbors and not a nuisance is not exclusive to sacral-communities.
We also realize that there is a broader, social-good to this type of volunteering. Our first event had 17 of us going out around the downtown area after we made 200 care-packages (soap, toothbrushes, socks, etc). After initially not finding anyone to give a care package to, we were commenting on how oddly wonderful and disappointing it would have been to not find anyone to help. Yet, we found a lot of people huddled together in urban-camps. We facilitated insulated-suburbia connecting with the exposed sore of our social-inability to manage the care of those who face hard circumstances.
The profundity of this connection was summed up by one of our compatriots exclaiming that she “finally felt like [she] had permission to be nice to these people.” That type of disconnect, that type of exposure to our experienced-privilege is one of the major reasons why we do these particular events. We help others, recognize our humanity that is lost by the distractions of the modern world, and seek to understand the experiences of others that we have been conditioned to otherwise step over. Human kindness is something that we are often pressured to assail. Yet, by active rejection of our separation from others, we can start to build bridges and begin aiding in increasing the volume of influence of the voiceless.
As the Humanist Association is a purely volunteer-based social organization e need your help to do more of these events. Please consider becoming a member or donating to help us increase our efforts. And most importantly, when we do these outreach events, come out with us.