I’m going to whiff my date with James Croft for the second week in a row and for similar reasons. I’m worn out and tired of being under attack for addressing a problem we’ve been talking about for years. What brain I have left isn’t really something I care to dedicate to more conflict, even the kind that’s supposed to be fun.
Luckily, Crommunist is on it. Not for my sake, but as a musician addressing the use of music.
James is absolutely correct to note the emotive power of song. It’s no accident that song is used as a part of religious ceremony – it bypasses the rational part of the brain. As your brain is primed to process emotional content, it becomes less willing/able to critique it rationally. The very thing that makes music useful in building community also makes it inherently dangerous when it comes to utilizing reason. If reason is one of the fundamental underpinnings of modern humanism, then creating an environment specifically designed to suppress reason is anti-humanist.
If James’ vision of an ‘emotive humanism’ does not prioritize reason over emotion, then the criticisms of the Harvard Humanist project are true: he is simply attempting to create a new religion. The reason why religion is dangerous has nothing to do with the specific beliefs – those vary widely both between and within religious affiliations. The danger of religion comes from its overt attempts to suppress or subvert reason. This is the anti-theist position laid pretty bare: religion is bad because it’s inherently dangerous, not because some people are bad.
Go read the whole thing. It deserves James’s detailed attention more than anything I could cobble together this week, and I’d like to see his answer.
Then, hopefully, by next week, I won’t be dealing with anyone who feels they need to tell the world how I’m destroying their movement.
- Temple Talk
- Definitely Diamonds
- The Value of Defiance
- Because We Need Power
- A Coalition Is Not a Community
- The Difference Between Goals and Values