Living in our modern education system and capitalist society, can leave me wondering whether the differences between human beings and animals are simply a matter of degree and diplomas. In this view, I fear that mankind would come to forget its purpose to live. Luckily, philosophers have identified many ways in which human beings differ dramatically from animals. Unique human qualities and traits can set man apart from the animals by kind, not just degree.
From a conscious outlook, I’ll demonstrate how different we are for many reasons, including the spirituality of humans, our complex language and most importantly our consciousness and understanding of the universe around us. The Man’s Spirituality Human beings have a characteristic spiritual and religious nature. The majority of us, humans on Earth, follow some form of spiritual or religious truth. Most human beings have religious beliefs and worship a god and which involves some religious ritual, as going to church. The pursuit of spiritual beliefs (e. g. God, karma and predestination of our existence) is a defining characteristic of mankind and is proven in such common habits as prayers and superstition.
On another hand, even non-believers follow questions regarding life’s true signification and purpose and they are concerned by what they consider to be of ultimate importance and value. Man is also the only specie on planet Earth that is familiar of his forthcoming death. This acknowledgment brings us individual anxiety and gets us to reflect about any form of divine/powerful influence in our life and the possibility of immortality.
Animals, on the other hand, can be very smart and have various abilities. ‘’Recent studies in cognitive ethology have suggested that some non-humans engage in manipulative and deceptive activity, can construct ‘cognitive maps’ for navigation, and some non-humans appear to understand symbolic representation and are able to use primitive language’’ (R. Zucker 245). However, they don’t seem to show any sign of spirituality or concern with ultimate issues of life as we do. Communication/Language Human beings possess unique intellectual, cultural, and communication abilities.
Humans are thinkers, capable of abstract reasoning. They are able to apply the logical principle of no contradictions, compared to animals whose acts are based on instincts and impulsions. Human minds alone develop opinions, formulate arguments, and recognize universal principles, lucidity, and truth. Only human beings wonder why the physical universe corresponds to abstract mathematical theorems. In other words, animals tend to see an object as it is, instead of analyzing it and trying to see further the actual object. ’Human possess aesthetic taste and appreciation for more than just practical purposes. People distinctly create, recognize and appreciate beauty.
This aesthetic taste and value extend to art, music, film, literature, and the natural world itself. ’’ (R. Samples 185) Humans transmit their nonconcrete emotions using complex symbols and verbal sounds that we call language. This language is complex and flexible and has many variations; it can be verbal or written. Language attends to network the entire humanity and it creates our human culture and our public institutions.
Some might not recognize this, but we have a profound need to communicate with each other and we accomplish it through a refined intellectual procedure. In distinction, animals also communicate and have many other impressive abilities but they do not seem to work with sophisticated intellectual process to complete a task. They also don’t seem to ask themselves philosophical questions. Consciousness of Time, Reality and Truth As human beings, we are aware of time, reality, and truth. We study the past, e identify the present moment and we foresee the future. Humans live their whole lives conscious of the limitations of time.
However, we also desire to surpass time; we have fantasies about living forever. Philosophical people question themselves to understand whether their interpretation of reality fits with the reality itself. Human beings despise lies; we have this desire to understand everything that we can, leading to the establishment and development of many of subjects that are shown in school (e. g. , science, mathematics, philosophy).
What is real, what is true, and what is lucid are vital questions, but only for us. While animals can have a strong instinctive sense of time, for example some animals are more accustomed to the changes of seasons, they don’t have any aptitudes for intellections about time and aren’t conscious on a very high level. ‘’A lower animal’s attention is fixed on the world. Its perceptions are its beliefs and its desires are its will. It is engaged in conscious activities, but it is not conscious of them. That is, they are not the objects of its attention.
But we human animals turn our attention on to our perceptions and desires themselves, on to our own mental activities, and we are conscious of them[…]’’ (Korsgaard, 93) Animals do give the impression to be conscious of reality but do not seem investigate into philosophic and analytical questions. In conclusion, these differences between human beings and animals may seem obvious to some of us, but people who are not aware are being indoctrinated into compulsive consumerism and become passive citizens misinformed by the mainstream media channels.
They are being enslaved the same way we treat animals in factories but only with better living conditions for occidental countries. The ongoing dispute over CISPA in the U. S and Spain’s population being oppressed while manifesting against their government represent just two examples of important world issues, they are many more to come. Good reasoning can help bring clarity to these significant issues and prevent us humans of acting like animals. Please help to keep our humanity.
Courtney from Study Moose
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