I am a bright.
Yes, I wrote that right.
Bright is normally used as an adjective, and if I was saying I'm bright that would seem very immodest.
Being a bright is different though. It simply means that I recognize myself as being free of belief in the upernatural, that I'm a free thinker and I don't need any form of supernaturalism (read gods, spirits, afterlife) to give meaning to my life.
The brights movement is also a social experiment: it was launched as a positive alternative to the often pejorative connotation that qualificatives like atheist, agnositc or rationnalist have, especially in certain regions of the world where religious dogma looks down on people with a more different and down-to-earth world-view.
The brights movement is also a larger umbrella that acts like a superset of all the movements that have in common one thing: a naturalistic approach to the world.
It isn't about being shallow minded, arrogant, disrespectful or intolerant, also I'm sure detractors will brandish those terms loosely. On the contrary, it's about embracing the diversity of life and trying to make sense of the world through our senses and our intelligence and to understand it better through our thirst for knowledge.
It's about being able to say I don't know without feeling the need to weave an improbable web of unlikely propositions and call them truths just so you can think you know.
It's mightily hard to shake off the belief in the supernatural -it ironically comes so naturally to us-, but to live without fear of an hypothetical and improbable beyond, without fear of retribution by an invisible hand, is to live free, in this world, now.
To those who believe that that much freedom is too dangerous, be it for moral or social order, I'd say they need to do a bit of research on the subject. They could start with the web site of the brights movement for instance.
Rachel B.Monday 02 October 2006, at 21:49 GMT+8 [X]
good for you. As a fellow bright who tries to read up on both naturalistic explanations for religion and interesting new insights on human experience from neuroscience, I was happy to see especially the bit you have there about "embracing the diversity of life." More and more I begin to feel that, far from being a preoccupation of people concerned with representation of "racial" and other "minorities" in public affairs, education etc., diversity is central to so many different disciplines, arenas, aspects of life. Without diversity, or in other words, variation, there can be no evolution, no adaptation, in the end, no life. Where does adaptive change come from but from shifts of emphasis among the varied form of life? Where do new species come from but from shifting circumstances (leading to geographic and/or reproductive isolation for instance) that - sometimes quite suddenly - favor a previously marginalized variant form of an existing species? I find that my ethics as a bright tend to spring from the conviction that diversity is worth fostering.
RenaudSunday 08 October 2006, at 15:01 GMT+8 [X]
Well said Rachel. Thank you for your message, always nice to realize that there are other brights out there who incorporate in their ethics and moral values the diversity of life. I've been so annoyed with people proclaiming higher moral standards yet showing no moral or ethical fiber when it comes to accepting diversity. Most moral codes based on 'revelations' of one kind or another tend to be repugnant in their hatred of anything Other. They unfortunately allow people who use them to dissociate their own responsibility rather than face their poor moral choices.