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Alex Hutchins

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What does it mean to be human?

As a College professor, I start the first day of every class by asking my students this question. Needless to say, they do not know how to answer it, even though they have previously had psychology and philosophy courses prior to the Junior/Senior classes that I typically teach.

So, if students do not know how to answer this question right away, then my next question is, do the rest of us know how to answer this question right away or would it require some reflection?

Or, does anyone really care?

I am sure that it has different meaning for different people but would it also have different meanings for different cultures?

Does being human mean some different in Christianity than it does for Muslims or people of the Jewish faith or agnostics for that matter?

Do we need to prove that we exist in order to answer this question? And, while you are pondering this one, let me explain: I am talking about "I think therefore I am," but is this life "real" or is this life a metaphor for the life that we will all be experiencing after death? If this life therefore is not real, does it matter that we exist and furthermore, does being human have any meaning at all?

Are we human because we oftentimes do not practice what we preach?

Are we human because we can skillfully put down the thoughts and comments of others?

Are we human because we are arrogant or wealthy although I see the two as mutually exclusive myself?

Are we human because we have faith and hypocritically live out that faith in our daily lives?

Are we human because we are a racist and have found clever ways to hide why we feel that way?

Are we human because we have cheated on our spouses?

Are we human because we like to engage in wars all over the globe so that we can prove we are better than others, or stronger... while really wanting to impose our way of life on them?

Are we human because we cannot accept cultural diversity as the new norm?

What are your thoughts as to what it means to be human?


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    Jun 25 2013: I find it always very difficult to answer , the seemingly simple questions.
    However I feel we are human because of our endless GREED.
    • Comment deleted

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        Jun 25 2013: The fact that there is someone out there with more stuff than us actually makes us have greed in our minds and wish for material gain.

        The fact that when young we are told to achieve more than we actually can makes us want more.

        The simple wish to have this and have that to fulfill our desires makes us want more and more.

        These and many more factors leads to us being greedy and frankly speaking, its no ones fault.

        We just got to,
        Deal With It.
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        Jun 25 2013: And,I think we have a winner.

        I think what you say perfectly explains everything.

        The decision we make when choosing to indulge or constrain something is what makes us human or inhumane.

        This is probably the line between being a human and not being one but again the definition of being human is not constant, its ever changing and it varies from person to person.

        Wow.. this topic is seriously hard to understand.
    • Jun 26 2013: If you are saying that all humans are greedy, then I must not be human.
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        Jun 26 2013: I'm not saying it, this is what humans are.

        Greed is to acquire or possess more than what one needs or deserves, especially with respect to material wealth.

        Are you sure you NEVER wanted more than you need?
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        Jun 26 2013: Human being has 4 active limbs does it mean all human being are that lucky ?
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      Jul 4 2013: Selfishness.

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