So what is a Humanistic Communicator and how do you know if you fit into this group? The definition of a Humanistic Communicator is someone who synthesizes human needs into a constructive set of organizational roles. For example, a Humanistic Communicator might be a salesperson who sells either one or two products, holds the first meeting, prepares reports for the next meeting, makes suggestions to upper management, and make recommendations to the staff.
The term Humanistic Communicator was first used in the 1970s by the writer Mario Vargas Llosa in his book “Words of the Heavens.” The book described five “humanistic communicators” from Latin America who combined the elements of spirituality and commerce into their work. According to the book, they all used “five principles” to guide their activities. These elements are: courage, dignity, truth, participation, and reciprocity.
Recently I read an article by William Collins, in which he described two contrasting humanistic communicators – President Obama and George W. Bush. In discussing the Middle East, both presidents demonstrated the qualities of leadership and dignity that are rooted in the “Humanist” ideal. In a way, President Obama and George W. Bush represent the heirs of Christopher Columbus, as some call him, who founded the first wave of Latin American immigrants to the Americas. Both Obama and Bush were also willing to engage, cooperate and negotiate with other world leaders, something that humanists believe in.
A little further south down the road in Mexico, where the Humanist principle is more pronounced than elsewhere in the hemisphere, resides the capital of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City (which was named for the Humanist priest who established the first municipal hospital there). In his book “The City in the State,” Miguel Hidalgo includes a picture of himself alongside former President Felipe IV (right), and President Ernesto Machado (left). The two leaders enjoy the services of the public works department, which is staffed by Humanists. They may have different political ideologies, but both share a vision of social justice and civic enlightenment. Although Mexico has not yet reached the heights of economic prosperity enjoyed by those in the United States or Canada, the Left Bank is making a stride towards progressive socialism like Europe and Japan.
In Guayaquil, Ecuador, a place I have visited, one can see many similarities to the US Left Bank. It is home to the first Islamic museum in South America and has a Humanist mayor and prominent religious leaders in the local populace. I met with both outgoing and incumbent mayoralties, and the outcomes were very different. The elected mayor, who is an avid Humanist and Vegan, enjoys good relations with both Ecuadorian Christians and Muslims. The former favors a balanced economic system, and the latter promotes a non aggressiveness approach to international affairs.
In Buenos Aires I met with a mayor, who is a Humanist and promotes Humanism as a philosophy for society and government. He enjoys good relations with conservative elements, such as his conservative rivals and members of the religious sector, but he is open to all social groups if they are able to understand his vision of equality and opportunity. The Humanist mayor has created an environment where debate and discussion about social issues are encouraged, and religion is not used as a wedge to divide people. Religion in the past has been used as a tool to control society and implement the order, but the mayor believes that through good social policies, religion will be allowed to play a role in helping to achieve equality and opportunity for all.
In the second half of the year, I will visit Mexico City, also known as the cosmopolitan capital of Latin America. I am certain that I will find many similar similarities to what I found in Guayaquil and Buenos Aires. The progressive mayor, Gerardo Beristain, who is a Humanist and is popular with the arts community, has made building a “coliseum” (an enormous multi-cultural space) one of his priorities. This building will include classrooms, laboratories, and observation rooms, and along with it a cultural center, a theatre and a free public library.
My trip will allow me to travel to two important Spiritual centers in the process, and to discover new horizons and culture. During my time in Argentina and Mexico City, I will make many Humanist discoveries and will make many Humanist friends. My message to the world will be heard from this Great Spiritual Centre, which will be named The Humanistic Institute. I look forward to visiting and learning from these wonderful places.