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Date: Sun, 7 May 89 21:02:23 EDT
Subject: 3.1: Happy Birthday (42)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1. Sunday, 7 May 1989.

Date: 7 May 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Happy Birthday Humanist

Humanist was created on this day in May 1987. In our Epimethean way of
reckoning, that makes Humanist 2 years old, but the volume number is
Promethean, and so says 3. I remember both my (human) children emerging
from their terrible twos, but I also remember having some difficulty
seeing how the turn of their personal calendars made any difference in
their temperament. I think sometime in her third year my daughter, whom
a mentor of mine had named Kuan Yin in honour of her remarkable serenity
and radiant love for all the world, had to be renamed Boom Boom because
she suddenly became the being she has been ever since. (She's now 15!)
My son, somewhat younger, had no sudden change.

Perhaps these anecdotes (upon which I could proudly enlarge, have no
doubt) are just as good as to describe the horoscope, haruspicate or
scry, observe disease in signatures, evoke biography from the wrinkles
of the palm and tragedy from fingers; release omens by sortilege, or tea
leaves, riddle the inevitable with playing cards, fiddle with pentagrams
or barbituric acids, or dissect the recurrent image into pre-conscious
terrors -- to explore the womb, or tomb, or dreams.... In any case,
birthdays, like new years and hallowe'ens, are times when all sorts of
strangeness is permitted and larger visions demanded. I am storing up my
observations about Humanist for a paper at the MLA next December, so I
will let everyone enjoy his or her own reflections about Humanist as it
passes into its third year.

Let me, in turn, recommend to you all T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, from
which I just quoted, and wish you all as Humanists a happy birthday.

Willard McCarty