My frustrating involvement with Universism ended a few years ago when this supposed non-religion turned out to be as fundamentalist freaky as any other faith (if you click on that link, scroll down past this post to find the history of my Universist involvement).
I hadn't thought about this naturalist philosophy, which foundered under the massive ego and administrative cluelessness of its founder, Ford Vox, until I received an email a few days ago from someone who wondered Why Universism?
Good question. I've shared Alexander Szeto's message below. His list of humanist / naturalist organizations is a handy guide. I enjoyed taking a quick look at the web sites.
Religious naturalism and pantheism seem to be philosophies compatible with my world view. But so is Taoism, which has a several thousand year philosophical head start on modern non-religious conceptions of the cosmos.
Universism was much more of a gimmick than a substantive evolution of naturalistic understanding. At first I liked the idea of people meeting locally under a non-dogmatic banner, discussing the big questions of life. It turned out, though, that it's tough to organize folks who resist top-down metaphysical organizations.
The groups Alexander mentioned serve a purpose, for sure. I just feel comfortable with my not-belonging now, so haven't felt a need to join up with any of them.
Here's the message:
I am a big fan of you. I agreed with most, if not all, of what you have said on your blog. I have a question regarding Universism. I asked because I have personally considered it seriously and found it appealing but I have one thing that I don't understand.
I asked you because I am aware that you were into it and have called for local meet-ups. Although it is dead now, something I still don't understand.
If Universism is a naturalistic (non-supernatural) religion, there are already non-supernatural philosophies around. The two most notable are humanism and naturalism.
Why people don't just go to humanism or naturalism and flock to Universism (though briefly)? Especially non-understandable is that organisations subscribing to these existing philosophies are already around for a long time.
International Humanist and Ethical Union www.iheu.org
Council for Secular Humanism www.secularhumanism.org
American Humanist Association www.americanhumanist.org
The Humanist Institute www.humanistinstitute.org
Religious Naturalism http://www.religiousnaturalism.org
World Pantheism Movement http://pantheism.net
What is the difference between Universism and humanism/naturalism?
Spiritual Seekers Society (Unitarian Universalist)
Here is what I don't understand: what is the deal with humans needing to shuffle themselves into discreet organizations?
Everyone has a different filing system, and a reason for the system they choose, and a philosophy behind why they file at all. I will spend a small amount of time looking at a power point presentation on letter writing technique, and then say, "Does this go with manager's information; with training materials; with desk procedures?" I have an unstated method, and the fluidiity is part of the filing, as well as part of the information and the memory recall of the information.
Now, I know that some people have one or two catch-all folders, that they can sort as they need. It is also unstated and also functional.
Since I see spirituality to be subject to disection, how could I join an organization of like-minded individuals, when the very function and system of my spiritual life means that there are no like-minded individuals?
If my approach to spirituality were to group phenomena into broad categories and leave them unexamined, then "big box" religion would work fine for me.
It is curious to me that people can get together and say, here is the president, here is the secretary, please take a number, now let's pray.
Posted by: Edward | September 27, 2008 at 07:13 AM
There really are no "like-minded" individuals. True. How can a true individual be like-minded and be a true individual. On the other hand, there are many like-minded people. Many like-minded people are in those big boxes.
Can One reduce ones thinking to be something defined as some sort of like-minded individual? Edward, is there such an example? If so, what would be the new word to describe such?
Posted by: Roger | September 27, 2008 at 07:57 AM
I think that the reduction would not be in thinking per se, but in the definition of "like" in "like-minded."
From a different angle, let's say I listen to you and find that I "like" the way you think, and would be willing to alter my filing system to a close approximation of the way you seem to organize information. This arrangeement will work until we discover where our perceptions diverge: you can't understand my formative experiences; I do not understand your phobias or manias.
Under normal circumstances, we would call such people "friends" and not have to organize the asssociation into a form and ritual. These things come from magic brain juice.
Posted by: Edward | September 27, 2008 at 01:12 PM
Like-minded friends, that try to be true individuals. Maybe, this is what the Elves have been trying to say, all along.
Posted by: Roger | September 29, 2008 at 07:18 AM
I have asked "Why people don't just go to humanism or naturalism and flock to Universism (though briefly)? Especially non-understandable is that organisations subscribing to these existing philosophies are already around for a long time. What is the difference between Universism and humanism/naturalism?"
Upon reviewing the essence of Universism at http://www.armbell.com/liberalhk/viewtopic.php?t=181&mforum=liberalhk , I think, because of the stated "allows for belief in a supernatural first cause, as in Deism," Universism resembles Freethought Movement more than Humanism/Naturalism (but, that said, Freethought is so close to Humanism/Naturalism anyway). My same question still holds: why people flocked to Universism while Freethough has been around for a long time before the birth of Universism? I think attracting media attention is the key point to publicize a movement/philosophy. A movement/philosophy (eg, Freethought) can be sitting around for decades without securing much public attention while the same movement/philosophy clothed in a new name (eg, Universism) and backed by a successful propaganda to capture media attention can boom in less than one year!
Posted by: Alexander | September 29, 2008 at 08:04 PM
Universism has no copyright it was the name of a unpublished philosophy work by Vidkun Quisling that he first introduced into the world published with an article he wrote in 1929 after having returned from Russia where he had helped save the life of 250.000 together with Nansen from the bolsjevik jews holdomor famine on the people resisting communist "humanism". Universism is deals with us (humans) not beeing alone in the universe but linked to to a power with a higher meaning (God). It is not anti faith or anti God. Universism will still exist When no man live on earth on other planets where higher forms of life understands that they belong to a higher purpose of life. Humanism is a jewish invention of and makes people do outragous things to their fellow human beeings in the name of "democracy", "freedom" etc. against "Mean people" (who oppose the jewish Humanist NWO religion Holoca$h). Universism uniteds all people of diffrent faiths to understand that they they are more than just robots goyim. It a philosophy for the enlightened few who can see beyond their own small ego and sefishness. Universism has no leader. Do good, your life had a higher meaning you are not alone in a universe without purpose.
Posted by: Universism - we are not alone in the universe | October 09, 2013 at 10:12 AM
"Universism will still exist When no man live on earth on other planets where higher forms of life understands that they belong to a higher purpose of life."
---But, but I am a lower form of life, with a lower purpose in life. So, are all you higher ups gonna give me a hard time? You higher ups, with your enlighten few, sure sound kinda SPECIAL!!!!!
I am one of many lower forms of life with a small ego and small selfishness. Maybe, one day I can achieve a large ego and even larger selishness. God only knows....
Posted by: Roger | October 09, 2013 at 11:00 AM