In 1876 the founder of the first Society for Ethical Culture, Felix Adler, said the following in his inaugural address: “There is a great and crying evil in modern society. It is want of purpose. It is that narrowness of vision which shuts out the wider vistas of the soul. It is the absence of those sublime emotions which, wherever they arise, do not fail to exalt and consecrate existence.” Adler’s hope was that Ethical Societies would inspire people to experience profound purposefulness, coupled with an expansive vision of humanity and a passion realizing each person’s worth and dignity—and that would lead us toward a richly humane and just society. How well does Adler’s concern reflect our concerns today?
Bart Worden, the new Executive Director of the American Ethical Union, will discuss this question in his platform address.