The Humanist Association of Toronto provides a focus of activities and discussion for Humanists in the Toronto area. Please note: HAT events are open to the public, and views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of the Humanist Association of Toronto. For all public statements, educational events, media enquiries, please contact the webeditor, who will forward your enquiry to our Spokesperson.
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm
The Monthly Meeting the 2nd or 3rd Saturday at 1:30pm (TBD)
The Steering Committee meets 1st Wednesday, 7pm
The Book Group meets monthly.

HAT Forum
Sat Feb 27th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic “Wisdom"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett

From Alain de Botton’s “School of Life”, a video about Wisdom:

In this video, de Botton breaks Wisdom down into a series of attributes. What do we think about the following as attributes of Wisdom and are there any of our own we would add?
What part does age and experience play in gaining or honing these attributes?
·         Realism – it is wise to expect problems to come your way and then expect to have to deal with them
·         Gratitude – it is wise to be especially sensitive to the small beauties and sweetness that come your way.
·         Folly – Budget for madness in others and yourself and be slow to panic when it reliably rears its head.
·         Humour – it is wise to laugh at ourselves and about the absurdity of life
·         Politeness – changing ourselves or others is difficult so criticism and conflict are unwise. The wise value harmony over honesty, commonalities over differences.
·         Self-Acceptance – Know thyself. Don’t be ashamed.
·         Forgiveness – Everyone makes mistakes and behaves poorly. Don’t take it personally, assume the best and be slow to anger. Forgive.
·         Resilience – understanding the bare minimum of what you need to be happy (needs vs wants) and being prepared to live with this bare minimum as required.
·         Envy – understanding what other people have is for good reasons and no reasons at all.  The world does not have to be fair or just.
·         Regret – In life, errors are endemic, perfection is an illusion. Regret only a little.
·         Calm – turmoil is common so appreciate peace, calm and a lack of anxiety.

HAT Forum
Sat Feb 20th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic “Dissent & Intolerance"
Proposer: Michael C.

Why are some of us intolerant of others, just for their curiosity or because they do not conform to what is expected of them.

Actor Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws) recently attended a Ted Cruz rally and as a result, was branded as a Republican supporter. It appears that he is not. The assumption and expectation is that those in the arts community lean left.  

Someone who disagrees with a platform of a group is often attacked or accused of being a traitor. If you belong to this group, you have a unified voice. Dissent will not be tolerated.

If you are black in America, can you be a Republican?

Can a Humanist see any value in religion?

HAT Forum
Sat Feb 13th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic "A Humanist on Death and Dying"

Proposed by: Bill Kennedy

Let's talk about our own dying.

1) In what details may my dying resemble an experience in my lifetime?

2) Do I really experience falling asleep? How could I?

3) How do I feel about Dylan Thomas's poetic lines?
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

HAT Forum
Sat Feb 6th 2016
11 a.m. To 1 pm
519 Church Street Room 304
Topic "Social Engineering"

“Social Engineering"
Proposer: Richard Dowsett (from Hassan’s suggestion)
Social Engineering refers to efforts made to influence attitudes and behaviours –
on a large scale by governments, media, corporations, action groups or, 
on a small scale by activists, hackers, con-men or those wishing to gain a social advantage or societal improvement. 
These efforts employ:
an understanding of how people make decisions and 
the motivations behind their behaviours 
to target them in such a way that desired behaviours will be elicited.

Examples of Social Engineering (SE) or where it is employed,
Public Service Ads
Government Campaigns (e.g. anti-smoking)
Political opinion shaping, spin doctoring, news releases
Public Relations
1. Is SE inherently manipulative? 
2. Does your view of SE change if its aims are seen as societally positive?
3. Does your view of SE change with the degree of transparency involved? 
4. The “calling out” or “naming and shaming” of others’ negative social behaviours could be seen as a form of SE. Discuss the real world benefits and drawbacks of this type of SE.
5. Discuss SE on the following dimensions: Pragmatic, Coercive, Necessary, Ineffective, Ethical, Obsolete
6. Should Humanist groups attempt to create their own "agenda" to infuse into the population psyche using SE? Do SE tactics align with Humanist Principles?
7. Humanist groups are often occupied with preventing religious indoctrination of children in schools. If we were in the position to instill humanist values instead, would we do it? Is this a potential source of hypocrisy?

HAT meetings are free and open to members and the public. Call (416) 966-1361 for location information. ___________________________________________________
The Humanist Forum meets Saturday morning 11am-1pm.
The Monthly Meeting, is usually the second Saturday at 1:30pm; specifics should be found on this blog.
The Steering Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month, at 7pm.
The Book Group usually meets on the first Saturday afternoon of the month.