Evidently, our scope in this chapter is extremely limited. For understanding various forms of Humanism in the realm of education the reader is advised to read some book on history of Western education.
Humanism is a very old philosophy. It has been interpreted in various ways, such as—a reasonable balance in life vivid interest in all sides of life, freedom from religiosity, responsiveness to all human passions, a philosophy which holds that man is the centre and measure of all activates.
It is in the last sense in which Humanism is having great importance since the sixteenth century, and it is with this that we are principally concerned in this chapter.
Humanism as a philosophy has its definite concept of man, human problems and universe. The term Humanism was used first for the sixteenth century writers and scholars of the European Renaissance.
Today this term is used to convey a philosophical belief which believes in rendering service for the greater good of all humanity according to the demands of reason and democracy. Below, we mention the principal postulates of Humanism:
1. Humanism does not believe in supernatural ism. It regards nature as a system of constantly changing events. Hence the universe exists independently of any mind.
2. Humanism believes in science and thinks that man being a product of nature is a part of it. Man’s body and personality are inseparable. Hence he does not survive after death.
3. Humanism considers that human thinking is a result of the interaction between the complex living organism and the environment.
4. Humanism thinks that man is competent to solve all his problems on the basis of his own reason and scientific method.
5. Humanism believes that man is the maker and master of his own destiny.
6. Humanism thinks that man’s happiness lies in this world. For the achievement of this happiness he should be made free in this world to progress culturally, economically and ethically.
7. Humanism wants to make man free to have the highest aesthetic experience of art and beauty.
8. Humanism stands for national and international democracy in order to establish an everlasting peace in the world.
The above eight points may be regarded in a nutshell what Humanism stands for today. By the term Humanism it is understood today that man has a right to be happy. His happiness needs no justification.
It does not require any support from any supernatural source. According to Humanism man is endowed with the requisite power to make this earth a place of peace and beauty. Humanism is against any tendency which is likely to encourage some kind of defeatism in man. It infuses hope and courage in man and reminds him that his only home is in this mundane world so he-must finds his destiny here on this earth.
The ethics of Humanism is to serve one’s fellow men. Humanism may be regarded as human-being-ism. It believes in the interests of human beings. It does not tolerate any kind of discrimination against any race, community or nature. Modern Humanism stands for cosmopolitanism, international friendship and essential brotherhood of man.