Because I am a Zen Buddhist and a socialist, many people assume I am a humanist, as they think Buddhism and socialism are both humanist. I think the opposite. The Buddhist understanding of interdependence precludes the arrogant view that is human exceptionalism. And if socialism is only for humans then it is not socialism, because it is still class-based, with bosses and bossed, exploiters and exploited.
Although I have criticisms of the book, I like the subtitle of Timothy Morton’s Humankind: Solidarity With Non-Human People. We need to see not just all clearly-sentient beings as people, but also rocks, walls, pens, machines, as people.
This evening I reread Sam Hamill’s poem The Orchid Flower. I corresponded with him for years, though we never met. He is among the people who have died whom I cannot bring myself to delete from my email contacts, for reasons I do not understand. When he died in 2018, I wrote this poem:
I wonder if what those who make Zen our lifelong practice have in common is that when we are young we experience what John Tarrant Roshi describes in his book Bring Me the Rhinoceros: “None of the usual solutions to life that were on offer meant much to me.”