Autonomy Mastery Purpose

Thu, 2 Sep 2010 | wilfred

Support for the Purpose motivator for Secular Humanism

As background, pop past TED to check out Dan Pink's talk about the Autonomy motivator.

But I don't want to talk about autonomy. I want to talk about a different motivator: Purpose.

If you are a Muslim, your purpose is to act in the service of Allah. If you are a Christian, the reason for your existence is to glorify God by fulfilling His plan for your life. However, if your jury is still out on whether there is a god who gives a toss about what you do, or whether your jury has come back, and declared that Reasonable Doubt suggests that there very most most probably is not such a god, then what?

Some people think that means that agnostics and atheists are all potentially baby-eating monsters.

Actually, there is something bigger than us; something to live for. It is not divinely-created ethics, a universal and eternal value system.

It is just the collective of us.

We, Humanity, are the most horrific and the most beautiful (please excuse my obvious bias) result of the universe that we know of. Collectively we are the only thing we know of that has evolved a brain with the most powerful imagination; so powerful that Humanity can adapt at speeds orders of magnitude faster than relying on evolutionary selection processes alone. We don't need to evolve wings in order to fly; we invent aeroplanes. The eagle may have evolved the most phenomenal eyes; we invent telescopes, and microscopes. And orbital telescopes and telescope arrays, and electron microscopes and particle detectors. Working as a collective, standing on the shoulders of giants, we have achieved awe-inspiring feats. I'm not going to list them, but I'm sure you can think of several yourself.

And using the same amazing imagination I've already mentioned, you can imagine ways in which you can make Humanity better; better to live as part of; more secure in its shaky and tempestuous environment; more politically stable; more awesome. There are billions of us (almost 7 billion). If you are making Humanity better, or even helping other people make Humanity better, just a tiny bit, billions of tiny bits is more than a lot.

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