President of the Center for Inquiry Robyn E. Blumner sent a letter mentioning "the multi-pronged assault on reason and science we are all experiencing", and asking "Where you think we're going as a movement?"
You might want to respond to my answer. You might want to share your answer to this question.
Where is Secular Humanism going as a movement?
As individuals and as an entire species, we shimmer on the cusp of either self-annilation or rebirth as a more self-aware and empathic form. Secular Humanism might play a pivotal role in escaping this existential threat, if key members grasped the dimensions of our crisis and formulated the first paradigms for self-transformation for sustainability. If they pulled together the threads and envisioned from their own experience how they personally might see themselves and the world in a Partnership-based Global Sustainable society.
These are the dimensions of our situation as I see them. We need to apply Adrian Bejan’s Constructal Theory to a broader based understanding of how we co-evolve with our media. This includes Marshall McLuhan’s perspective on how media shape our thoughts, memetics, and how hierarchical culture shapes us. Riane Eisler, in describing Dominator Culture, called the way Dominator Culture makes Partnership Culture alternatives unthinkable and invisible, the Dominator trance. George Lakoff fills out many details of that process, including effects on brain structure. I compare socialization to “Strict Father” patterns of perception and of making sense of the world to the Stockholm Syndrome. The child is socialized to give up her authenticity in favor of pleasing male authority figures. Mental pathways that might have supported an adult understanding of systemic causation, for example, are never reinforced. Not only is direct causation over-reinforced, the total control purported to male authorities including theistic ones, over-reinforces pathways for intentional causation.
This also involves brain structure and function, described by Paul D. MacLean in The Triune Brain in Evolution (1990) p 578-579. “… without a co-functioning limbic system, the neocortex lacks not only the requisite neural substrate for a sense of self, of reality and the memory of ongoing experience, but also a feeling of conviction as to what is true or false. This presents a problem of crucial epistemic significance because there is no evidence that the limbic structures of the temporal lobe are capable of comprehending speech, nor is there any basis for inferring a capacity to communicate in verbal terms. Hence, it would appear that the manufacture of belief in reality, importance, and truth or falsity of what is conceived depends on a mentality incapable of verbal comprehension and communication. … it is one thing to have a primitive, illiterate mind for judging the authenticity of food or a mate, but where do we stand if we must depend on that same mind for belief in our ideas, concepts, and theories?”
To move forward I believe we must undergo a self-transformation far deeper than deconversion, race awareness, gender identity exploration, or feminist consciousness raising. We must embrace a new view of the self that includes not only our media transactions and our acculturation but also accommodates and works around the limitations of our brains. We need to accept how we got here, in this situation, with our current mental tool kit, without blaming ourselves, and re-envision this more powerful more dynamic person we could become, who is capable of repeatedly reinventing and rediscovering herself – recursively. We can integrate all of this new insight, and blossom into a mature cooperative social member unafraid of working with people who differ from us to halt climate destabilization and the runaway inequality making it worse.