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Being Human Query

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What does it mean to Be Human?

What defines us as humans?  

My first thought was that being self-aware is a defining characteristic of humanity.  And my second thought was that elephants are self-aware.  Turns out that apes and dolphins are, too.

On the other hand, I know some people who are not self-aware.  At all.

  

I think what makes humans fundamentally different from animals

is the fact that we contemplate our place in the universe.

 We ask questions.

 

 We understand that we are alive, and we understand that we will someday die.

 

 In the meantime, we want to know how we got here, what’s the purpose of being here, are we alone here, and is there a here after this one?

 

 Being human means asking the question,”What does it mean to be human?”


Query this:

What Defines Humanity?

A few items of interest:

Elephant Self-Awareness Mirrors Humans

10 Finds That Define Human Evolution

Are Emotions What Define Human Beings?

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jacque M #

    Perhaps we are human because we spend so much time and effort (work so hard) to accummulate junk, more junk than our neighbors, more junk than we can ever really use, more junk than we can … you get the picture. Then we have to have a bigger house to hold all the junk, so we work longer and harder to pay for this junk, and have less time to use this junk or watch this bigger junk. Okay, I’m getting too close to my own addictions now.

    No, that can’t be it. Look at crows, they collect all things shiney and more things shiney, so it must be something else.

    I thought it might be guilt, but look at dogs, they show guilt when they get in the trash, or mess on the carpet.

    What emotion or ability does a human have that is not displayed somewhere in the animal kingdom?

    I believe it is the capacity for hope, we humans have the ability to hope.

    May 22, 2011
    • skippingstones #

      Haha – I see you’re still caught up in the one about stuff.

      But that’s a good point about hope. As I was thinking this one through and talking to others, a bevy of emotions were brought up as “belonging to humans”, and almost immediately discarded. For example, animals feel fear – or at least they experience the chemical reaction we know as fear. They seem to feel love, or at least devotion, and they certainly mourn. They feel jealousy. If we want proof, we only need to observe Louis defend his territory on Pop’s lap when Amanda is around.

      Are animals capable of hate or malice? Logan’s response was pretty interesting. I’ll try to go back today and include the various answers I got from my personal queries, so you can see what he said.

      May 22, 2011
  2. i like the thought..!

    June 23, 2011
    • It’s hard to pin down, though, isn’t it – what it means to be human.

      We’ll keep trying to figure it out! 🙂 You might like some of the Queries, too – see what people think about all different kinds of questions about being human.

      June 23, 2011
  3. Val #

    Birds ask questions too, they ask “can I have some food?” 😉

    I like your blog and have just subscribed. I hope to comment a bit more seriously later. But I’m not a terribly serious person, so don’t count on it…

    August 26, 2011
    • Hi Val!

      I ask that question all too often myself! I should be asking “where’s the treadmill?”

      Thank you for the compliment and thank you for subscribing, that was nice of you. I certainly love and welcome comments, but don’t feel obligated. I’ll admit that I am a sculker on several sites myself. And serious, funny, anything goes! I tend to wobble back and forth
      quite a bit here.

      I will come visit you soon!

      August 26, 2011
  4. Vicki #

    You bring up some great questions. I like your answer.

    January 15, 2012
    • I’m glad you think so! This is an old one, so I’m glad people are still reading it.

      January 17, 2012
  5. So true…makes one wonder where we really are on the evolutionary ladder!

    June 6, 2012
    • Sometimes I think we haven’t climbed up very far at all!

      I’ve had a lot of fun with these types of questions. I’ve got a new Query coming out tomorrow, about happiness, and like so many others, it leads me to more questions, rather than answers.

      June 7, 2012

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