What Now? Moving from Feminism to Humanism


What Now? Moving from Feminism to Humanism is an urgent call to readers to guard against dehumanizing each other as we move away from earth-based living by increasingly relying on technology to solve present-day challenges. As the world grows smaller, and as populations continue to grow, there is an increasing difficulty for people to avoid interacting with others who are racially or ethnically different from themselves creating “cultural divisions that present serious barriers to ambitious initiatives”.

What Now?” encourages readers to examine personal responsibility as a means for critical self-reflection, a process that feminists call “consciousness- raising ” since we all are products of our social conditions. The act of critical self-reflection, and it as a conscious act, demands an interrogation of ourselves as complex identities produced through social, historical, political, and cultural locations. It demands the recognition of our multiple positionalities and how they intersect. In so doing, we are able to see how our ideas, assumptions, theories, and actions, as well as inaction(s), affect others. In other words, it pushes us to think and act differently to empathize with ourselves and with others.

The essay first acknowledges that feminism is the movement which holds the belief that woman should be social, economically, and politically equal. But acting through a gender lens is not enough to find solutions to today’s present challenges. To do so the essay looks beyond these divisions into the realm of humanism. Here we find that feminism is basically a humanistic philosophy and worldview that must be understood in terms of humanistic ideals. By trying to realize our full humanity, we are not only finding women’s full humanity but men’s too. In trying to complete the full circle of being human, the concern is not simply the liberation of women as subjects, but the liberation of the feminine aspects of the human condition for the betterment of all humankind.

What Now? will further highlight the strange paradox of isolation, the first step in dehumanization, from real human contact despite the increased opportunities and ways to connect. From sending and receiving text messages on one’s hand-held device, to sending and receiving emails, instant messages, and even electronic “pokes” on the Internet. Whether we see the faces behind the words or not, we must remember that a real human being is directly involved with each of these interactions. When a person is connected to the world only through his or her iPhone, or only through status messages and news feed messages on Facebook, then he or she is not likely to be deeply engaged with the world. A dangerous situation for our shared future.

We have a responsibility to a broader humanity by giving genuine reasons for concern about the darker side of globalization. As we give data about ourselves for free in exchange for these services and as we invite more technology into our everyday lives we run the risk of having algorithms running our lives where computers understand you better than you understand yourself. For example, in Silicon Valley the trend is no longer to seek equality but immortality as humans seek to merge with technology, biological engineering to change the human body to speed up natural selection, cyborg engineering combining organic with inorganic parts, even completely inorganic lifeforms; will we be the same human beings as we are today?

Today Canada stands at the precipice of becoming world and industry leaders in technology. Yet to become true leaders human rights become a front and center integral issue in protecting the trafficking of our humanity and civil liberties. Such protection will include reforming laws, amending our Charter and introducing legislation that protects our life, liberty, and happiness against over technological consumption.

The essay concludes by turning our attention to environmental issues where the need for everyone’s attention is necessary for the survival of our species. As we move away from the earth, a living breathing organism, and deeper into technology (and perhaps even galactic space) that is static and impersonal, the urgency for a new way of thinking and doing becomes magnified as we run the risk of cutting ourselves off from the entity that provides sustenance and maintains our lives reminding us of our humanity. As members of the human community, we each need to choose “a life of active engagements to make a difference in the lives of others”. When we do this, then we will be able to develop habits, plans, programs, and technologies that will increase humanity’s sustainability with each other and on this planet.

International Bestseller – From the author of the international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind comes an extraordinary new book that explores the future of the human species.

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (Hebrew: ההיסטוריה של המחר) is a book written by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem…As with its predecessor, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari recounts the course of history while describing events and the individual human experience, along with ethical issues in relation to his historical survey. However, Homo Deus deals more with the abilities acquired by humans (Homo sapiens) throughout its existence and its evolution as the dominant species in the world. The book describes mankind’s current abilities and achievements and attempts to paint an image of the future. Many philosophical issues are discussed, such as the human experienceindividualism, human emotion and consciousness.

Central Issues:

  • Organisms are algorithms, and as such homo sapiens may not be dominant in a universe where dataism becomes the paradigm.
  • Since the verbal/language revolution some 70,000 years ago, humans live within an “intersubjective reality”, such as countries, borders, religion, money and companies, all created to enable large-scale, flexible cooperation between different individual human beings. Humanity is separated from animals by humans’ ability to believe in these intersubjective constructs that exist only in the human mind and are given force through collective belief.
  • Humankind’s immense ability to give meaning to its actions and thoughts is what has enabled its many achievements.
  • Harari argues that humanism is a form of religion that worships humankind instead of a god. It puts humankind and its desires as a top priority in the world, in which humans themselves are framed as the dominant beings. Humanists believe that ethics and values are derived internally from each individual, rather than from an external source. During the 21st century, Harari believes that humanism may push humans to search for immortality, happiness, and power.
  • Technological developments have threatened the continued ability of humans to give meaning to their lives; Harari suggests the possibility of the replacement of humankind with a super-man, or “homo deus” (human god) endowed with abilities such as eternal life. [Wikipedia]

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century – from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus.

Fiduciaries of Humanity and International Law

Public international law has embarked on a new chapter. Over the past century, the classical model of international law, which emphasized state autonomy and interstate relations, has gradually ceded ground to a new model.  Under the new model, a state’s sovereign authority arises from the state’s responsibility to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights for its people.

In Fiduciaries of Humanity: How International Law Constitutes Authority,  Evan J. Criddle and Evan Fox-Decent argue that these developments mark a turning point in the international community’s conception of public authority.  Under international law today, states serve as fiduciaries of humanity, and their authority to govern and represent their people is dependent on their satisfaction of numerous duties, the most general of which is to establish a regime of secure and equal freedom on behalf of the people subject to similar fiduciary obligations.  The authors apply the fiduciary model to a variety of current topics and controversies, including human rights, emergencies, the treatment of detainees in counterterrorism operations, humanitarian intervention, and the protection of refugees fleeing persecution.

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