What is the difference between Humanism and Radical Humanism?


Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. The term can mean several things, for example:

1. A historical movement associated especially with the Italian Renaissance.

2. An approach to education that uses literary means or a focus on the humanities to inform students.


3. A variety of perspectives in philosophy and social science which affirm some notion of ‘human nature’ (by contrast with anti-humanism).

4. A secular ideology which espouses reason, ethics, and justice, whilst specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as a basis of morality and decision-making.

However, Stalinist anti-human rule in Soviet Russia frustrated him. That led him to believe in the sublimity of humankind and made aware of the constraints of human freedom that are inherent in man’s own cognition. For his philosophical thinking he came to be known as a radical humanist. However, Sibnarayan Ray was profoundly influenced by the concept styled Beyond Communism, propounded by M. N. Roy.

The concept of radical humanism was conceived by M. N. Roy in his Basic principles of Radical Democracy which he shared with a few comrades including Sibnarayan Ray. One of the assumption was that party-politics was inconsistent with his ideal of organized democracy. It was ‘radical’ because] is rejected many of the traditional political and philosophical assumptions underlying the society of early twentieth century India; and it was ‘humanism’ because it focused entirely on the needs and situation of human beings.


Young Sibnarayan took part in Radical Humanist Movement launched by M. N. Roy in 1948 notably, unlike humanists, radical humanists aim to overthrow or transcend existing social arrangements. Radical humanists seek transformation, emancipation, and critical analysis of modes of domination.

They want people to reconstruct their view of reality and take appropriate action.” Ray said that it was not just religion, but politics which could stifle free-thinking and the spirit of inquiry. The human mind has a conflict in itself. It will either give in to an authority or ask questions. In order for a society to thrive it should follow the latter path. However, today, both rationality and the questioning spirit are on the wane. This is the reason we find so many people flocking to astrologers or buying precious stones and charms for good luck.

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