In 1776 our American forefather’s formally declared to the King of Great Britain (and the world): “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights...“
In 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
Though few would contest the nobility of these ideals, most would probably agree that we’ve yet to fully realize them as a culture. In other words, human rights are not self-evident and inalienable. And human dignity can hardly be considered inherent when we so clearly continue to violate it.
Part of the problem is that we don’t have a clear idea of how human rights exist. Our current concept of human rights has evolved from an outdated metaphysics that has no bearing on the actual of work of advocacy groups and NGOs on the ground.
In this Olio we explore how Buddhism can help us arrive at a more philosophically robust concept of human rights that entails more than just theory, but also a set of introspective tools for realizing a human rights culture. In our analysis we'll also consider new psychedelic research that I believe may also contribute to this goal.