As someone completely new to blogging (and partially coerced into the practice), I can think of no other topic for my first post than a description or presentation of the main themes to follow. At best I can provide a glimpse into what motivated me to begin this blog, as it may very well take a life of its own far removed from my original intent.
So I find myself compelled to answer the question, why Secular Nirvana? Why did I choose this name, and what does it mean?
As a History student at the University of South Florida I became acutely and progressively aware of the incredible spike in standard of living experienced after the scientific revolution. With the support of new ideologies like democracy and capitalism science has elevated us to an age of colossal prosperity with an ever growing focus on individual happiness and freedom.
The most exciting aspect of this process however, is where it currently stands in its developmental stage. Humanity has planted many trees throughout it’s history, and titans like philosophy and religion base their ancient roots in soils thousands of years old. The seed planted in the scientific revolution is a young sapling, we have just begun to see its shape.
Yet it has already bore more fruit than all other’s combined. Life expectancy has skyrocketed along with income, education, and health. We have conquered the skies, earth, and seas traveling at speeds undreamt off by those before us. We have become the masters of electricity, using it to power our world, facilitate our lives, and improve communication. By democratizing and continuously open sourcing information we are putting more knowledge, education, and opportunity in the hands of more humans regardless of gender, race, location, or class. We continue to improve in our fight against disease; slowing, treating, curing, and at times even eradicating even the deadliest foes. We have decoded the origins of humanity, looked up at the starts and begun decoding the origins of the universe itself. And still we all must know… it has truly just begun.
In Buddhism Nirvana is a transcendental state in which there is neither suffering or want, and the subject is released from the cycle of death and rebirth. It represents a reachable heaven, a Buddhist paradise. These ideas no longer have to be synonymous with myth and postponed to the afterlife. Our progress however cannot be shrouded in mysticism and faith, but instead supported by science, reason, and humanism. Our path to Nirvana will be a secular one, rigorous and methodical climb with many roadblocks and pitfalls. On the shoulders of giants we stand, and on our shoulders our children will stand, climbing ever higher and closer to a societal nirvana, closer to that civilization we could and should be.
This is no dream based on youthful optimism or naivete, but rather a grounded observation of a clear historical trend. The word Utopia has become synonymous with impossibility, ironically becoming an antonym of its very self. Yet the very world we live in today would seem an earthly paradise to so many of those travelers that came before us. Through knowledge we will emerge from darkness, through reason we will grow. A great future awaits us, let me show you why science will lead us there