Criticism of the ideal and idols of humanism

  • Gintautas Mažeikis
Keywords: Humanitas; Hegel; Hannah Arendt; Neoliberalism; Humanism; Ideology


The paper critically considers the ideology of humanism, which is different from the humanism known to religion and philosophy. The institutions that provide the narratives of this new humanism seek to regulate the lives and ideals of human beings and do so by emphasizing populist values. The ideology and propaganda of this humanism are hidden under an institutional and populist philanthropic rhetoric, spectacular actions of charity, and manipulative political invitations. The important aim of the ideology of humanism is to construct autonomous subjects-individuals who voluntarily serve in the spectacle of illusory grace. This essentially differs from the Renaissance idea of studia humanitatis, from Hegel’s "Studium der Humaniora”, from the result of analyzing Arendt’s “The Human Condition”, from various groups of cultural diversity that empower the dignity, autonomy, and critical thinking of human beings. This paper maintains that contemporary forms of philanthropic humanism are just means used by the hegemonic class of bureaucracy under the contemporary conditions of neoliberalism. Humanism is an instrument of social engineering, of collaboration between big corporations and the state to suppress the significance of dignity, harmony, and other ideals, and to win mass support. It has nothing to do with education in human dignity by philosophy, art, and literature. The spread of humanistic instrumentalities is incompatible with the principles of humanitas and helps explain the paradoxical situation when with the ever greater dominance, locally and worldwide, of humanistic rhetoric less and less attention is devoted to critical studies and the study of the humanities.


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How to Cite
Mažeikis, G. (2018). Criticism of the ideal and idols of humanism. Deeds and Days, (69), 23-43.