A few weeks ago, one of my teachers asked us to write a reflection on what it means to be human. Today, I thought I'd share my response with all of you.
Humans are capable of pursuing knowledge, empathy, and communicating- we know this. But as we concluded in our class discussion, these characteristics do not make us unique from a seemingly infinite number of other species.
What does, however, is the way we think. The level of sophistication humans have that other species simply do not. We can communicate extensive ideas from arbitrary scratches on a page and share information across the world through a series of zeroes and ones. And though other species can communicate in their own way, they cannot nearly contend with the complexity of human potential.
And as weird as it sounds, I think being human means that we choose to believe in our own humanness. We choose to acknowledge each other as complex beings and choose to acknowledge those around us as fellow human beings. A big part of this is the fact that humans have this ability to self-actualize. We’re able to form ideas of becoming something other than what we are and then working to become that. I think it's this human curiosity that allows us to ask the question “what makes us human?”. And as humans, we are capable of thinking higher thoughts and then questioning why we think them. What does it mean to exist? To be aware? The answer is neither given nor self-evident, but I believe the ability to contemplate these unanswerable ideas is what gives sentience meaning. Ultimately, it is what makes human consciousness unique.
Well that was a bit different from my usual posts :) Hope you enjoyed. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions or requests for future content- seriously, I'd love to hear from you!
Until next time,