To the Humanist Thinkers:
I lost a great humanist friend Robert Byrch, the organizer of the Tampa Humanist Association. I had talked with him about facilitating a meeting where we discuss the possibilities of humanism in film. It would be based on an introduction where I would provide a framework to consider whether a film expresses basic humanist notions and offers a way to consider the aesthetic merit of the film to be centered in these notions.
Since Robert had not set up a theme for the Tampa Humanist meeting in October and in our planning for the Tampa Humanists I will in part be helping plan the discussions for the meetings, I got agreement to move forward with my humanism and film discussion for October. I will offer the opportunity to participate in this discussion to members of the Tampa Bay Thinkers.
The basic consideration for whether a film touches humanism or has humanism as a centerpiece in its themes and power, we will look at the elements of the Humanist Manifesto III. This document offers six notions that can be organizing principles for our discussion.
1. Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation and rational analysis
2. Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change
3. Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience
4. Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals
5. Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships
6. Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness
With these notions in mind, any film can be judged as to whether it carries one or more of these themes, whether these themes are somewhat profound and whether the artistic power in the film comes from the presentation of the humanist themes.
Materials will be provided to facilitate the discussion and offer a fairly useful list of films for you to add to your Netflix piles. Several of the films from the list will be discussed in slightly more detail to offer insights into how the ideas can be applied generally for any film you may see in the future.
The original intent of the session was that it would encompass two months, the introduction which this session will be and another several months later where some experiences from those in the meetup group can clarify whether the ideas offered were helpful.
So take the bait and please come on October 20.