What Defines Humanity?
hu-man-i-ty (noun): the qualities or characteristics considered as a whole to be characteristic of human beings
As I was trying to figure out what I would want to write about on a blog, I kept coming back to the idea of “just about being human”. But then I was stuck trying to figure out what that means exactly.
Every time I attempted to define humanity, I came up short. I scrapped this idea and that, until I finally hit on something that suits me: Questions, Contemplation, Wonder. In short, the question was its own answer. We are distinctive in the animal kingdom because we ask questions and we wonder about our place in the universe.
Why are we here?
What is the purpose of life?
Are we alone in the universe?
Is death the end?
What does it mean to be human?.
But mine is only one possible answer. It’s the one answer that works for me, and even at that, it may not be the answer that I stick with for the rest of my life.
Here is what some other people said:
3 people’s first response was Opposable Thumbs.
Lynn: humans can grow their own food, they produce (put objects together in order to create something new) and manufacture
Donna: we have the ability to express ourselves – complex verbal and written communication
John: I would say probably one of the big things, even some animals can do this on a lower level, is to be able to reason at a higher level. And even with animals, I don’t know whether it’s so much that they’re able to reason, or if it’s a learned habit, a learned response.
Terri: Animals can learn, but they act on whatever the instinct is, or the learned behavior. But with people, they can make a rational choice to do or not do, and know the difference between right and wrong.
Tom: An evolved level of consciousness; with a consciousness comes the knowledge of death (which is the downside of that).
Rebecca: Advanced thought. We have the ability to document, we have histories. People are integrated (in contact, trade, communication) with people from all over the world.
Logan: People can be cruel or remorseless when they need to be. People with our advanced thoughts can find more complex ways to screw over the weaker ones.
What do you think?
Skip on over:
A few items of interest:
- Levels of Consciousness (psychologytoday.com)