My Dear Reader,
I recently started writing a monthly ‘Reflection’ for one of my favourite Blogs The Yeti Howl which I wanted to share with you. The posts are written from my Humanist perspective and are posted alongside reflections from those of various faiths. It is a wonderful thing to find a space where such views can be shared and appreciated alongside each other and, by each other. I highly recommend you browse and enjoy The Yeti Howl, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my most recent musing here…
“Confidence in others’ honesty is no light testimony of one’s own integrity; confidence in the goodness of another is good proof of one’s own goodness.”
Michel de Montaigne
Montaigne’s ‘Essays’ (for me), are full of observation, wit and wisdom. Many others have drawn from Montaigne’s words, for example Winston Churchill when he said, “A man who cannot trust, cannot be trusted.” Inevitably, given the times Montaigne lived in, Bible quotes such as “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” may have influenced the thinking behind this quote, but his writings suggest he was not a ‘true believer’. For me, Montaigne’s down to earth language and the self-deprecating and reflective approach of his writings make his words resonate across the centuries.
I accept that to follow Montaigne’s suggestions is to leave oneself open to disappointment, frustration and accusations of naivety. Yet as a Humanist, I’d argue that a life without trust, honesty and goodness is destined to be a life without peace and love. Furthermore, I’d suggest that it’s often a search for peace and love that draws people to the Churches, Mosques, Temples and Meeting Rooms, rather than a belief in the supernatural.
As an Evolutionist, until other proofs are found, I believe that millennia of ‘fight or flight instincts’ drive our mistrust; yet history records times of Human trust, integrity and goodness have resulted in the best outcomes for the greatest number.
So, like Montaigne, I encourage you to make your default position one of trust, integrity and goodness, bearing in mind that this may also involve you trusting a favourite Balinese saying of mine, namely that “There’s no good without a little bad” but in the long run, Montaigne, Churchill and I believe you’ll be creating a far better Universe!