Humane Living

A Guide in Humane Awareness

the energy in humane = empathy

In this course, we have looked at kindness, cruelty and humaneness in terms of the way we have treated others, others have treated us or others, and how we have treated ourselves. I made the stylized humane trademark with the "e" treated as if it were an exponential, because I wanted to get across the notion that the difference between "human" and "humane" is empathy.

Empathy is the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation. When you were going through the course, you may have noticed that, before you were asked to describe an experience, you were asked four questions, and they are:
  • What were you aware of?
  • What thoughts were you thinking?
  • What were you feeling?
  • What were you doing at the time?
When you read through my experiences, you first read my responses to these four questions, before reading the actual descriptions of the experiences I have had. This sequence of events led you toward a more empathetic reading of the experiences I described because you had a preview of what I was going to say.

When we are confronted with situations that require our kindness or humaneness, empathy drives our willingness to be kind or humane. We can ask ourselves:
  • What is she or he aware of?
  • What thoughts is she or he thinking?
  • What is she or he feeling?
  • What is she or he doing at the time?
In the process of asking oneself these questions, the mind and heart are opened up to the person so that one starts to identify with the person in a more compassionate and sympathetic manner.

In taking this course, you will notice that kindness will mean more to you because you now have a deeper understanding of what cruelty is and the damage it brings. By the same token, cruelty will touch you more profoundly because you have taken the time to appreciate kindness and the goodness it offers.

In the introductory chapter of this guide, How this Course Works, the following Basic Humane Self-Evaluation was provided:

Basic Humane Self-Evaluation

You may have wondered why, under the question "How Inumane or humane are you?" that there were only eight positive and negative options. These options relate specifically to the spectrums of kindness and cruelty, outlined in the course.
  • +8. Proactive kindness

  • +7. Kindness without expecting a return

  • +6. Kindness out of guilt

  • +5. Kindness expecting a return

  • +4. Reluctant kindness

  • +3. Kindness because one was asked to give

  • +2. Kindness without knowing or being aware that one was kind

  • +1. Knowing that kindness is required, but refusing to act

  • 0

  • -1. Cruelty resulting from ignorance

  • -2. Cruelty resulting from pain

  • -3. Cruelty resulting from illness

  • -4. Cruelty based in knowledge

  • -5. Intentional cruelty

  • -6. Premeditated cruelty

  • -7. Satiating Cruelty

  • -8. Encouraging cruelty

Repeatedly throughout the course, I have suggested that our kind, humane and cruel acts can be choices we make. This self-evaluation provides you with a tool to help determine where you are positioned in terms of the inhumane/humane spectrum. With this perspective, you are now offered an opportunity to know the humane or inhumane options available at any time.

It is vital to remember that we are human, and this humanness means we will make mistakes and will not act in a humane way from time-to-time. Also important to recognize is that we can learn from these errors or omissions and simply resolve to allow our innate humane spirit the freedom it needs to grow. This spirit grows when we exercise our humaneness through the kind and humane acts we perform.

How do we live humanely? Simply stated, by affording others and ourselves the highest dignity, care and respect possible, and by being aware of opportunities to be humane.

This course was designed in a non-religious way. If you are a follower of a religion, practise your religion with these humane concepts in mind. For the goal of every religion is the humane development of society. If you are a secular humanist or an atheist or an agnostic, be a humane secular humanist or humane atheist or agnostic.

Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to learn more about humane concepts. And remember, every act of kindness or humaneness, regardless of size, goes a long way to healing the world and lifts humanity closer towards humane civilization.

Copyright © Kenneth Hemmerick 2005
All Rights Reserved

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