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Sid Tafler

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Which attribute most makes humans different than all other life forms on earth?

Humans are the dominant species on earth. Or to put it more humbly, perhaps we are the species that has more impact on the planet, good and bad, than any other.
So which single attribute had made us more fundamentally different from all others over the last few hundred thousand years?
Is it our ability to make and control fire? Our legendary opposable thumbs? Our ability to communicate? Our social connections with other humans, or our spiritual explorations? Or some other factor?
Perhaps in your response you will demonstrate the attribute you chose by example.

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  • Apr 6 2012: Humans may be the only creatures capable of knowing the consequences of their actions. We make choices, and therefore have a say in the outcome. We may have certain instincts as all other creatures, however, I believe these instincts do not include harming others unnecessarily.
    As to the spiritual connection we must first define "spiritual". It is our ability to think (have thoughts) that "force" us to define everything we do; and in some cases justify our actions. Religious persecution comes to mind. Also the belief that our religion is the only "true" path.
    Sid, I bow my head to you as a very dear friend and an exceptionally enlightened human being! Thanks for this discussion. It will take millenniums to find some of the answers and then some!
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      Apr 6 2012: Gordon,
      Yes we often know the consequences of our actions, but I wonder if we can observe this in other animals as well. I think I have seen dogs who acted guilty after taking food from the table.
      We also know the future, such as the dubious knowledge that we will die in the future. Again I wonder if that is uniquely human, perhaps other animals know this as well.
      Human communication is very distinctive as well, but perhaps other life forms can communicate in ways we cannot understand, due to or own limitations.
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      Apr 6 2012: what about chimps creating tools to fit a particuliar agenda?

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