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Bright Young Things

Your Humble Blogger is no Bright himself, but I do like the idea of Brights.

I read an op-ed column by Daniel Dennett in this morning's New York Times about The Brights, who are trying to get the use of the term Bright into the general vocabulary.

What’s a Bright, you ask? Well, now they’ve got you, haven’t they? That’s the first step to accepting the word exists.

A Bright is a person whose worldview is naturalistic. That is, a person who doesn’t believe in the supernatural of any kind, neither ghosts nor gods nor ... some third thing that begins with a hard g and is supernatural. Gremlins? Gurus? Gregory the Great? Glossolalia? Graven Images? Yes, I’ll go with that. Neither ghosts nor gods nor graven images.

Actually, it’s a disservice to define a Bright by what he (or she) doesn’t believe, rather than any positive thing. A Bright believes that the world is, essentially, measurable, in theory if not in practice.

My Gentle Readers know by now that I am no Bright. Why, then, do I draw your attention to them? Because I like the idea of having a positively-oriented term for Brights, and I like the idea of Brights being a part of our culture (as in fact they are), and I like the idea of using language as a tool of cultural goals. I find the whole thing fascinating, and I hope it succeeds. I charge you all, therefore, to use the term yourself this week. If you are a Bright, say so. If you have a friend or relation who is a Bright, tell that Bright what a Bright is. Work the term in to conversation, as in “I’m no Bright, but I don’t believe in guardian angels,” or “They kill Brights in the Sudan,” or “You can’t be a Bright and a Red Sox fan.” It’s easy! And be sure to let me know how it works.

Redintegro Iraq,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

what's everybody else? "dims"?


that there's some fine PR, ma.


Well, to quote Michael Palin (and Terry Jones, who helped write it): "There are Jews in the world/there are Buddhists/There are Hindus and Mormons and then/There are those that follow Mohammed" and, y'know, Brights. Oh, and Christians. It helps to have a name.

Redintegro Iraq,
-V.


I don't know why folks of this intellectual persuasion would rather be called Brights than what they've usually been called or called themselves: Rationalists, based on positive belief, Atheists, on negative belief. Bright, aside from suggesting that everyone else is dim, sounds like a new brand of laundry detergent . . .


Sounds like humanists/rationalists/objectivists, to me. With a better marketing strategy...


yeah, right, humanists are slackers drinking sludge at a ratty coffee house; brights share soy lattes at starbucks.


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