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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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  • Jul 3 2013: What does it mean? Simple, the ability to be happy. Everything boils down to this simple reason for being alive... Many things bring us 'joy' in life but things can be taken away, to truly be happy comes from within not from things that are outside that bring joy, although joy brings a certain kind of happiness that eventually fades, internal happiness comes from within and is a result of choice. Everything about being human is surrounded by our senses and our senses bring us happiness and our conscious awareness of such brings a sense of happiness from within that can't be lost except by choice, so yeah, what does being human mean to me and ultimately humanity? That of happiness and the ample chance to share love anything else does not emanate harmony into infinity in which we are a part of, we are infinity becoming aware of itself for a fleeting chance to be happy the short while we exist. We are infinity becoming happy to be alive.......

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