What is being human? I propose that being Human is much more than the species of our birth. It’s about striving for that unique Human quality that sets us apart as a species. It’s about striving for greatness and compassion, intelligence and reasoning, humility and passion while leaving behind our baser instinctual selves for a loftier goal; the greater good of all life. Becoming human is about being better than our beginnings, being more than we are, being and acting unlike the animals that we are but to think and reason and strive for all of us, for all of life. It’s about enlightenment.
“We are no better than the animals.” We’ve heard that phrase before. Often it’s the beginning of a guilt trip or an even longer lecture. It’s almost like a mantra but it’s more of a meme. And I agree that we are no better because we are animals. And that is not a bad thing, as it’s often implied. The phrase is a ethical value judgment. Underlining it, is the idea that we should be better, that we shouldn’t just accept out condition, our fate. In not accepting this, we cause, we seek out change. This quality has us becoming Human. Seeking change. Embracing change. Seeking love. Embracing compassion.
Every species has compassion in some measure. Compassion is often confined to member’s within the species. For the offspring, for the mothers, for the injured and for sick and dieing. But it is extraordinary when one species renders aid and shows compassion to another member of a different species. It is even more remarkable when this occurs between competitors or even between prey and predator. It goes against instinct to concern one’s self with a different species, culture, religion, tribe or family. Even more so when no benefit can be seen.
We are capable of having compassion for all of life, being able to see our interconnected whole, becoming the caretakers of life, having the ability to cause change world wide. It’s a religious impulse…this sense of being more than what we appear to be, almost a sense of our evolution, a sense that we are becoming something that we weren’t before. Our physical attributes, tool making, language,has propelled us forward. But it is compassion that makes us Human. Often we are only Human for moments at a time. It is in those moments that we truly live, truly being Human.
But if you believe in evolution, then consider this: If Homo sapien is what it means to be Human then what will our next step of our evolution chain be? Will that species still be Human?
To Love is to be Human.