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Categorized | Politics, Religion, Science, Society

Three Lessons: A Manifesto

Photo by Brian Dewitt
Three things I have learned from the pursuit of three human endeavours: Science, History and the Arts. While I have pursued the the knowledge of other disciplines, these three have provided me lessons that changed how I viewed myself as a human being.

Science has taught me that our civilization has come to a point where science has solved most mysteries….and if there are any mysteries left unexplained, we will all get there someday. Natural phenomena have found their explanations. Myths and superstitions have been discredited through scientific reasoning, and frauds have been exposed. Chaos, uncertainty and randomness are matters of fact, and are not caused by the caprice of an unpredictable higher being.

Therefore, there is no need to have a fear of imagined beings, to ascribe our fortune to the good will of a benevolent god, or to impute natural disasters and accidents to the wrath of an irate creator. It is time for us to throw away these childhood things, for no longer are things beyond our reason.

History taught me that man and nature are responsible for making the world as it was, as it is, and as it will be. The forces of nature have shaped the Earth and have influenced history, but most of history was written by man. Man has the power to change the world, and to take care or destroy the earth. Therefore, events do not unfold by some manifest destiny or divine plan. Nor are events subject to the will, whims or tastes of an omniscient or omnipotent being.

This also taught me that we need to become responsible for ourselves, that in our hands lie the power to change things and to stop change, through our deeds and convictions, and not through the intercession of a saint or the interference of any religion. Religion has no place in the state of human affairs or affairs of governance and legislation; history taught us that it is futile—and disastrous—to let dogma run our lives.

Finally, Art taught me that it is perfectly acceptable to become human. Art has finally emerged to become the ultimate expression of our humanity. It has been liberated from the shackles of the cathedral. To achieve its perfection, Art no longer needs to make itself available at the service of some higher being, nor it is necessary to offer itself as an oblation to the dictates of a divine being. Man alone is the reason for art.

Therefore, Art must celebrate our humanity, for it attains its ultimate expression when it is tempered only by human passion, when it is unfettered by censorship or morality. And it is when we express ourselves unhindered can we learn, understand, and appreciate what it means to be human.

These three things I learned from Science, History and Art. But the greatest lesson from all these is this: that we only have one life, and we need not tarry by worrying about salvation and an afterlife, about eternal damnation, or about the pursuit of a thousand virgins in martyrdom. This is our life; enjoy it, make it our own. Cherish the Earth, and celebrate our reason, our being…and our reason for being.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.