8th HWCS International Symposium

16-17-18 April 2021


Pluralistic exchanges from a world in crisis


According to a set of beliefs that have been imposed on us, money, or a more updated version of it, would solve all the problems of the planet. It was enough to believe in it, and the sufferings and pains of humanity would finally be defeated. According to this, money would be the only thing worth pursuing.

The model that was proposed supposedly guaranteed good food, fashionable clothes, pleasant homes, travel, entertainment, etc. Above all, money would trigger technological progress, freeing us from the unhealthy need to think about the meaning of life, old age, illness or the strange feeling of loneliness and finitude that suddenly catches us even on sunny days. It was enough to have faith in the system and soon we would all be happy, unbridled, competitive, efficient and pragmatic executives. That such promises and theories were dishonest or made in bad faith, no one can doubt nowadays. Even the most fervent disciple repeats those slogans of the past with that empty and pompous ritualism which is typical of moments of decay. That glamour was disastrous not only because it produced, contrary to what was promised, the greatest concentration of power that history has ever known, but also because it objectified, degraded and diminished the value of the human being by reducing him to the status of a mere epiphenomenon in the flow of history.

The appropriation of the social whole by one part of itself has been a form of violence, and this violence is at the basis of all contradiction and all human suffering. Violence always manifests itself as stripping the intentionality of the other and, indeed, of their freedom. That ridiculous project has contaminated all areas of knowledge, from philosophy to religion, art, science and technology, giving us a deterministic, limited and alienating vision of the human phenomenon. It has allowed the advance of nihilism, resentment, fanaticism, the denial of life and the cult of suicide. It has exposed us to the risk of nuclear massacres, to the constant presence of wars and conflicts, and has led to the destruction of the ecosystem, not only in the environmental sense but also in the social sense of the term.

The manipulation has gone beyond the limits of state propaganda and has become so subtle that the true face of discriminatory and violent anti-humanism is often hidden behind the apparent voices of dissent.

We are in a deep global crisis that is not just health, economic or environmental crisis, but a crisis of values, of intangibles that grant priority to the interest of a few over the general interest, and the struggle for power of a few over work for the common good. The worst thing is that nothing suggests that such a state of affairs will diminish, but everything suggests quite the opposite.

However, it is precisely at this time, as has happened in other times in history, that many of us are beginning to talk about humanism, a New Humanism. Certainly, there are those who speak of it as if it were simple rules of civil coexistence, but humanism is much more than that. Humanism is the expression of the deepest aspirations of the human being and has made its appearance in different geographical areas and at different times in history. A possible interpretation of it is defined by the following points, which we would like to present for consideration and discussion:

  • Affirmation of the consciousness as an active and creative entity, as opposed to positions that consider the consciousness as a simple "reflection" of objective conditions. The human consciousness is not passive, but rather a transformer of reality.
  • The historicity of the human being and its productions. The conception of the human being not as a simple natural being but as a historical and social being.
  • Opening of the human being to the world, resolving ancient dichotomies between individual and society, subjectivity and objectivity. Each human being is constituted in a social environment, but it is capable of transcending the conditioning received in order to imagine the emergence of a new human being in a better world.
  • To base the action and ethics on the human being considered as a central value and not from other supposedly superior instances, such as the divinity, the nation, the political systems, etc.
  • Rejection of all forms of violence: physical, economic, racial, religious, sexual, psychological, etc. and recognition of only one possible methodology of action: active non-violence.

In the present situation, New Humanism does not make apocalyptic proclamations but rather assumes the task of pointing out a path of overcoming this generalized crisis of civilization. Humanism, based on freedom of choice, possesses the only valid ethic of the present moment, a social ethic of freedom that is a cherished commitment to struggle not only against conditions that cause pain and suffering to oneself, but that are also produced to others.

Finally, human beings must also claim their right to subjectivity, to ask themselves about the meaning of life and to practice and publicly preach their ideas and their religiosity or lack thereof. Then, the time has come to unite the strength, heart and intelligence of all the humanists in the world to give birth to a Universal Human Nation.

For these reasons and in this spirit, we invite you to participate in the Eighth International Symposium of the Humanist World Centre of Studies. We want to support this project by creating a moment of reflection, exchange of opinions and exhibitions between academics, researchers and activists to build a new image of the future for the destiny of humanity.