A Guide in Humane Awareness

How This Course Works

Basic Humane Self-Evaluation

The above Basic Humane Self-Evaluation is not a test. It is a tool for you to reflect upon the humane experiences you have in your life.

A Guide in Humane Awareness is simply structured for you to remember, think about and share experiences involving kindness, cruelty and humaneness. You will reflect upon what you were thinking, feeling, doing and being aware of when you witnessed, received, gave to another and to oneself, an act of kindness, cruelty or humaneness. This self-reflective process will enable you to have a unique perspective on the value of being a humane individual in the world.

Ideally this course is given in a group context where participants can reflect upon, think about and share humane experiences in their lives. However, this guide is also quite effective when two people share and go through the material together. This course has a bonding effect. When people honestly, and in a non-threatening manner, share humane, kind and cruel experiences, they become more "grounded" in their essential humanity, which is the ability and desire to be humane.

You may already be an individual who is humane. The following will only serve to nurture and strengthen a deep appreciation for the positive benefits that come through humane interaction with others and oneself.

There is a subtle difference between being a humane individual and the individual who is humane. Being a humane individual requires awareness — consciousness — a degree of reflection and personal experience of what it means to be a humane individual; whereas, a person can be humane without even thinking or being aware that a particular act is or was humane.

Often, we learn words from parents, brothers and sisters, friends, teachers and others. We use these words quite freely believing we understand their full meaning. One day, we reference the dictionary for the exact meaning of the word only to find we have been using the word incorrectly or did not know the word's full meaning.

In this course, you will be looking at the meaning of basic terms such as Experience, Object, Kindness, Cruelty and Humaneness.

Whatever we may believe the exact meaning of the word humane to be, we can be sure that the awareness of humaneness is experienced.

Here are definitions for the word experience:

Pronunciation: ik-'spir-E-&n(t)s

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin experientia act of trying, from experient-, experiens, present participle of experiri to try.

1 a : direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge b : the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation

2 a : practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity b : the length of such participation

3 a : the conscious events that make up an individual life b : the events that make up the conscious past of a community or nation or mankind generally

4 : something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through

5 : the act or process of directly perceiving events or reality

SOURCE: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

The concept humane has a distinct meaning to each individual based on her or his past experiences. In the same way the concept experience also has a distinct meaning to each individual, based on his or her past experience.

Here is a simple explanation for the concept experience:


You are experiencing this guide. You are aware of reading this guide. You are having thoughts. You are having feelings. Your action is reading.

EXPERIENCE = AWARENESS + THOUGHT + FEELING + ACTION focused towards an object or objects.

Here are definitions for the word object:

Pronunciation: 'äb-jikt, -(")jekt

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Medieval Latin objectum, from Latin, neuter of objectus, past participle of obicere to throw in the way, present, hinder, from ob- in the way + jacere to throw

1 a : something material that may be perceived by the senses (I see an object in the distance) b : something that when viewed stirs a particular emotion (as pity) (look to the tragic loading of this bed... the object poisons sight; let it be hid -- Shakespeare)

2 : something mental or physical towards which thought, feeling, or action is directed

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Objects can be flora, animals, people, the environment, inanimate things, ideas or abstractions, you.

Although not often considered, you can be the object of your own experience as in the case of when one thinks about the thoughts, feelings, actions or awareness that one may have.

Here are definitions for the words kind and kindness:


Function: adjective

1 chiefly dialect : AFFECTIONATE, LOVING

2 a : of a sympathetic or helpful nature b : of a forbearing nature : GENTLE: arising from or characterized by sympathy or forbearance

3 : of a kind to give pleasure or relief


Pronunciation: 'kIn(d)-n&s

Function: noun

1 : a kind deed : FAVOR

2 a : the quality or state of being kind b archaic : AFFECTION

Here are words that are similar to the concept kind:

Function: adjective

Text: showing or having a gentle considerate nature (mother was a kind person, always willing to help others)

Synonyms: benign, benignant, good-hearted, kindly

Related Words: altruistic, benevolent, charitable, eleemosynary, humane, humanitarian, openhearted, philanthropic, propitious; compassionate, kindhearted, responsive, sympathetic, tender, warm, warmhearted; clement, forbearing, indulgent, lenient, merciful, tolerant; affable, amiable, cordial, genial, good-humored, good-natured, good-tempered, sweet-tempered; complaisant, obliging; gentle, good

Take a few minutes to reflect upon and write what words resonate with your personal definitions of kind or kindness.

The following words resonate with my personal understanding of the concepts kind and Kindness.

Here are definitions for the words cruel and cruelty:


Pronunciation: 'krü(-&) l

Function: adjective

Inflected Form(s): cru·el·er or cru·el·ler; cru·el·est or cru·el·lest

Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin crudelis, from crudus

1 : disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings

2 a : causing or conducive to injury, grief, or pain (a cruel joke) b : unrelieved by leniency


Pronunciation: 'krü(-&)l-tE

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): plural -ties

Etymology: Middle English cruelte, from Old French cruelté, from Latin crudelitat-, crudelitas, from crudelis

1 : the quality or state of being cruel

2 a : a cruel action b : inhuman treatment

3 : marital conduct held (as in a divorce action) to endanger life or health or to cause mental suffering or fear

(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

Synonyms: cruelness, harshness, inhuman treatment, mercilessness, pitilessness, ruthlessness

Related Words: abuse, atrocity, bloodthirstiness, brutality, coldheartedness, ferociousness, hardheartedness, heartlessness, ill-treatment, ill-usage, impalement, inhumanity, malevolence, malevolency, malice, maltreatment, murderousness, savageness, savagery, viciousness

Take a few minutes to reflect upon and write what words resonate with your personal definitions of cruel or cruelty.

The following words resonate with my personal understanding of cruel and cruelty

In the introduction to A Guide in Humane Awareness, definitions were given for the terms humane and cruelty. The Humane Movement provides a good model to consider further humane concepts .

The Humane Movement promotes:

  • 1. Being kind to others (animals)
  • 2. Refraining from harming others (animals)
  • 3. Preventing or alleviating the suffering of others (animals)
Take a few minutes to reflect upon and write what words resonate with your personal definitions of humane or humaneness.

The folllowing words resonate with my personal understanding of the concepts humane and humaneness.

How this Course Works - A Recap

You have been introduced to concepts and definitions of: EXPERIENCE, OBJECT, KIND, KINDNESS, CRUEL, CRUELTY, HUMANE AND HUMANENESS which will help you to clarify your understanding of these terms.

You have seen how:

You have also been introduced to the notion that, in thinking about humane experiences which we may have had, we develop a greater consciousness or awareness of humaneness in our lives.

The next part of this guide is designed for you to think about and reflect upon experiences that you may have had that involved kindness, cruelty and humaneness. I have included my personal examples as an aid to help you remember experiences.

I also provide a short commentary for each of the following experiences:
    1. Witnessing Kindness
    2. Receiving Kindness
    3. Giving Kindness
    4. Being Kind to Oneself

    5. Witnessing Cruelty
    6. Receiving Cruelty
    7. Giving Cruelty
    8. Being Cruel to Oneself

    9. Witnessing Humaneness
    10. Receiving Humaneness
    11. Giving Humaneness
    12. Being Humane to Oneself
You will be asked to remember thoughts, feelings, actions, and awarenesses that you may have had during these experiences. You will then be asked to describe, in short written form, the experience you had.

Through remembering and describing your experiences, you will come to a deeper appreciation of the value of humaneness and humane being or living.

A Guide in Humane Awareness is a tool that you can share with a friend or family member. Send her or him the link to obtain this course (www.humaneguide.com) so that both of you can remember, think about and discuss experiences you have had, involving kindness, cruelty and humaneness. In the process of taking this course together, you will develop a more tender, caring, humane and empathetic relationship with your friend or family member.

Enjoy this course and thank you for taking the time to learn more about humane concepts.

Copyright © Kenneth Hemmerick 2005
All Rights Reserved

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