Simon Nightingale on radio Pause for Thought: The one life we have

A humanist Pause for Thought about The One Life We Have on Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning.

Listen on the time-line from 1:16:30 to 1:21:00 for one month after broadcast.

It is followed by a brief discussion on the government’s opt-out organ donation legislation.

Simon has provided the following transcript.

I recently went to the Terracotta Warriors exhibition in Liverpool and it was totally amazing. Over 200 years BC, this guy Qin Shi Huang built massive burial chambers with over 8000 life-sized porcelain soldiers not to mention loads of other stuff – just to ensure his comfort in the hereafter. Then of course, there are the pyramids and other massive tombs all over the world.

Even in the west, elaborate religious rituals have been devised to ensure safe passage to the afterlife – and to try and get preferential treatment once you’re there.

From the beginning of recorded history (and even from some prehistoric studies), mankind has always been obsessed with the after life. At present vast numbers of people around the world believe there is one – or a least they hope there is! Why?

Well, in times past, life was pretty rough and often very unfair (less so nowadays though the fact that there’s still huge and unfair inequality is shameful). So a life that’s “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (a phrase used by a great humanist philosopher of his time) – a life like that may not seem quite so bad if followed by a heavenly bliss for all eternity – and eternity’s a very long time particularly towards the end! A few decades of misery down here on earth would seem as nothing compared to eternal heavenly bliss. And if you saw someone doing wrong and benefiting at the expense of others, well that may not seem quite so horribly unfair if you believe they’ll get their “just deserts” in the hereafter.

The beliefs of humanists, who live without religion, are a bit different. We believe that what we are, as conscious individuals with our unique sense of identity, is entirely the result of the amazingly complex and truly wonderful electrochemical activity in our brain. Death occurs when that activity is irretrievably lost – and so death is the end of who are we and what we are.

Does all this really matter? Well, humanists think it does. We believe we just have the one life and that’s why it is so important to have a good life and help others to have a good life. So if other people are in a bad way – do something about it. The “one life” idea is actually sort of empowering. Life ain’t no dress rehearsal – it’s up to us to make the world a better place, now.

OK, I don’t wanna to die any time soon, ‘cos I enjoy life so much – there’s still so much to do. But when death comes, I can face it without the consolation of religion belief. I hope that like the great humanist philosopher, David Hume, I’ll die in a way consistent with how I’ve lived, with composure and joy for the one life I have enjoyed among those I love in our beautiful and fragile world.

And after I die – what then? I believe I will live on. OK, maybe not in my present form, but I’ll live on in my children and their children; and I’ll live on in the hearts and minds of all who’ve known me and in any small changes I have made to the world. Their memories of Simon Nightingale may last just their lifetimes, but if I’ve influenced even just a bit how others feel and how they view the world, that influence they’ll pass on by their interactions with others and so on. In a sense a little bit of the spirit of Simon will be gradually spreading out like ripples on a lake – over time and generations, long after I’ve gone. Now that’s true immortality; that’s a real afterlife.

Simon Nightingale’s ‘Pause for Thought’ on radio: modern slavery and ethics in business

A humanist “Pause for Thought” on Radio Shropshire on Sunday, with Simon Nightingale talking about modern slavery and ethics in business generally.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p067f61s

Listen on the time-line from 1:18:30 to 1:26:00. This is available on listen-again for a month.

#Humanism: What it is and why it Is important. Video of talk by Simon Nightingale

Simon Nightingale gave his talk at Oswestry Library on 18 May 2018.

Simon’s 2017 talk is also online. He will be giving the talk again on Wednesday 4 July at 7.30 pm at University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ.

If you’re not too busy, you can hear Simon Nightingale talking about being too busy

Simon Nightingale gave the “Pause for Thought” on BBC Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning, 28 January, talking about “White Rabbit syndrome”.

You can hear it at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05v0927#play  Listen from 1:20:00 to 1:25:00 on the time line. It is available for 4 weeks only.

Simon Nightingale on neuroscience and psychology of empathy, 13 February

The Chair of Shropshire Humanist Group, Dr Simon Nightingale, will talk to the Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum on the Neuroscience and Psychology of Empathy, at the United Reformed Church in Shrewsbury on Tuesday 13 February, at 1.00 pm.

The talk will cover many aspects of empathy, including psychology, neurobiology, genetics, evolutionary psychology and pathology (for example, psychopathy), as well as its huge importance in human relationships. The talk will be followed by discussion.

Everyone is welcome.

Please note this event is not organised by SHG.

Simon Nightingale on radio: should there be a carol service in a shopping centre?

On the Danny Kelly BBC West Midlands programme on 6 December there was a phone-in on the pros and cons of holding a carol service (with prayers) in a local shopping centre.

Simon Nightingale was asked for a humanist response, which you can hear at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05mnzvn#play between 26.00 and 30.00 on the time line, for the next month only. Note that he expresses his own views.

 

Simon Nightingale on radio: talking about why he is a humanist

Simon Nightingale talked on BBC Radio Shropshire on Sunday morning, 8 October, about humanism and atheism and explaining why he is a humanist and a member of Humanists UK.

You can hear the talk for a limited time at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05gfbtk

Listen on the time line from 1:20:00 to 1:25:00.

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