3.884 Happy New Year! (62)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 31 Dec 89 16:54:38 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 884. Sunday, 31 Dec 1989.

Date: 31 December 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: more last things

Trouble is, we have too many ends of the year. This makes being final
rather confusing and less than graceful. Before the riot begins,
however, let me wish you all the very best that life can bring in the
new year. You'll get enough new decadeism through the public media, so I
won't vex you with it here, but allow me to express my profound wish
that we have seen the last of the 80s in every sense except those that
have caused personal joy!

My heartfelt thanks go to those who have sent me the kind words about my
stewardship of Humanist. I cannot allow these statements to be
published, however, and hope that I am forgiven for this last act of
editorial censorship. It's not modesty that rules my heart in this
matter, for modesty seldom gives me any problems. I am ruled by the
desire not to let recognition for whatever I may have done obscure the
fact of Humanist itself. I am not Humanist, all of you are together, and
what you admire in it (as well as what you despise) has arisen from the
common effort of building a community. This building must continue, you
must see to it that what you admire is fostered, for the darkness and
dangers with which we are compassed round are as real now as they were
in Milton's day. Humanist has to be made strong, the source of its
strength understood, and that understanding communicated, if we are to
argue successfully for the resources we require. Not just for our pet
projects, more for the community, and I mean the one to which
Marsilio Ficino and John Milton belong.

In an editorial review of the original meeting out of which Humanist
came, Joe Raben wrote that computing humanists had a significant
advantage over other, more traditional academics in that they could use
electronic media to build a strong and coherent community very rapidly.
Humanist has demonstrated, I think, just how right he was, back in 1987.
Our community is still a tiny minority, however, and the electronic
means we use to keep it together is familiar only to a few, and among
them not everyone understands just how valuable and significant such
things as Humanist really are. So, we are in a very weak position when
we come to argue that resources should be put into creating and
maintaining them. We can hardly even propose a model capable of
explaining that Humanist is itself something and not a deviation from
something else into which any right-minded editor would change it!

So, there's thinking to be done -- and what better place to do it than
here, on Humanist? So, before we all take the lid off and release the
nether spirits, allow me as departing Grand Mother of Humanist to urge
you to spend some of 1990 answering the question, "What is Humanist?",
with other, better questions, each of which will make Blake's light of
knowledge burn more brightly.

Happy New Year!

Yours, Willard McCarty