Lyndon Storey took office as President of CAHS on Monday 10 April, 2017. This message first appeared in issue 126 of Australian Humanist.
Its an honor to be elected President of the Council of Australian Humanist Societies and to be given such an opportunity to contribute to organised Humanism in Australia. I will do my best to be worthy of the role.
One of the most appealing things about Humanism is that it is a source of hope.
Human beings are naturally occurring beings living in a naturally occurring world. We seek meaning in our lives; but there are no beings or rules outside of nature, such as Gods, to provide that meaning. We must provide meaning for ourselves. For some this existential reality; the lack of an external path to meaning, can lead to nihilism and despair, or a turn from evidence based approaches to “faith” in a religious or supernatural path to meaning.
Humanism however accepts our existential reality and responds with a powerful message of hope.
Humanism tells us that we don’t need to go “outside” of humanity to find the sources of such things as love, compassion and reason. They are part of our potential as human beings. The source in other words, is right there within us. We may not always acknowledge or realise our best potential. But it is there. This is a key Humanist message; there is room for hope because the seeds of such things as love and compassion are within us rather than outside us. They are always with us, and are a cause for hope that we can find love and meaning in life. .
When we acknowledge and cultivate such human potentials they become the best resources we have available to us to increase knowledge, find meaning and love in life, and to build a better world. There is no guarantee we will always be able to draw upon them to address a problem in a positive way. Sometimes darker parts of the human potential come to the fore.
But Humanism, by reminding us that we nonetheless contain within us these seeds of hope, offers a message of hope for the world.
So I want to start as President with a focus on hope.
At this time in history, when not just humanity but our Planet face a barrage of issues; from the rise of economic inequality, to the meaninglessness of contemporary technological existence, to climate change, and to many other issues besides, a strong expression of Humanism and the hope it offers for our world is more needed than ever. Let’s carry that hope into our daily lives and the wider world; and build on it to develop better answers to today’s problems. As Humanists we can help build a better world.