Category: Radio

Altruism

The other week I read a newspaper article by Euan Ferguson in which he wrote of his experience of a freak storm on a public holiday in Budapest, when flash floods overwhelmed a crowd that had taken shelter under the Elizabeth Bridge.

Ferguson wrote that most people reacted by helping each other, passing small children and the infirm to safety out of the rising floodwaters. Others, however, behaved differently; they “… pushed forward, pushed everyone out of the way; stamped and splashed and elbowed and forced their way to higher, drier ground.” Why do some people behave like this, Ferguson wondered, while others don’t? Is it down to their upbringing, he asked, or is it just the way they’re made?

All our children

TomI know a small boy called Tom. He sees the world through exciting rose-coloured spectacles. He must get grumpy, but I never see him then. He quite likes my dog, but what he likes better is fiddling with her harness, and the little light that we use when we go walking after dark. Tom likes to switch it on and off, on and off.

The other day, while out walking my dog with my mobility scooter, I saw Tom with his mum and dad, peddling towards me in his peddle-car. “Hello Margaret!” he called, cheerily. His mum and dad had to break into a trot to catch him up as he sped towards me, beaming. It’s nice when someone’s pleased to see you. Of course, what Tom really wanted was to inspect my scooter. “Turn on the lights,” he instructed. I did. I made the warning lights flash, and he liked that. Then he got out of his car and walked round the back. “Do the back ones,” he said. So I did. We’d have been there a lot longer, if his mum hadn’t said it was time to go.

World Humanism

Humanist logoSince the 1980s, many Humanists have celebrated World Humanism Day yesterday, the 21st June, but since Humanists, in general, are independent thinkers, it’s not surprising that some have questioned the need to have a special day. However, it’s a good excuse for me to talk about World Humanism.

The International Humanist & Ethical Union, based in London, was founded in Amsterdam in 1952 as an umbrella organisation for Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist, freethought and similar organisations worldwide. There are hundreds of Humanist groups in many countries, all committed to raising awareness of a human-centred scientific outlook and to challenging dogmatic religious claims, cultivating the use of critical intelligence, developing ethical values appropriate to our human condition and encouraging the ideals of tolerance and dissent, and of resolving differences rationally.