There are at least two areas I tend to avoid here, most notably politics and religion. Politics will continue to be avoided except to say vote to stay in the EU on 23rd June. And Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed out on his own, let alone to run a country. Anyway, I have written about religion here before, about visiting the Samye Ling Buddhist monastery recently and probably about Durham Cathedral, but not so much about my own lack thereof.
I am a member of the Humanist Society of Scotland but that only means I slip them some money once a year. I broadly agree with their aims and objectives, for example their work towards equal marriage and in ensuring education committees are not required to have religious representatives, and it is the easiest £20 to leave my bank account all year. As long as they keep showing there is an alternative way of thinking about the broader questions then I am absolutely cool with what they do.
When I was down south in October last year, I visited my former colleague who is now the librarian at Conway Hall, the only humanist library I know of, and I felt entirely at home but that might have been due to being in a library and there being rather good chocolate on the go.
The @understandinghumanism Twitter account recently Tweeted a quote from the late film director Stanley Kubrick, which read:
‘However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light’.
It’s a pretty neat sentence. There are some of course who would argue that we don’t need any light at all or indeed that there is some power out there supplying the light already. I’m not so sure about the latter point – I really don’t know but I really doubt it. But we need light in our lives.
For many, Kubrick provided light through his films. I have only seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and wasn’t that fussed by it, if I’m honest. That’s okay. There are other light sources. Everyone has their own. Mine come through waves crashing to the shore and pages turning. They come through 11 men winning a Cup and the laughter of friends and family, the sun peeking from behind the clouds and the cadences, rhymes and rhythms of a poem read aloud. Light is not perpetual. It goes out sometimes and it’s why sometimes you just have to look just that little bit harder for those things that make life worth living. I believe in the power of humanity for good, in people ultimately being good. I am under no illusions. Not everyone does good things. But the ones that do shine a light far brighter than the darkness others seek to create.