General Question

Bocci's avatar

What does it mean to be human?

Asked by Bocci (64points) June 4th, 2009 from iPhone

What does it actually mean to be a human and alive in the year 2009 on an abundant and fragile planet, with memory and possibility, with people like ourselves and different, with affluence and squalor, hope and despair, with mountains and rivers and trees, with herons and cyborgs, music and urban noise, with art and TV and infinite space?

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36 Answers

asmonet's avatar

It means nothing. Meaning is just something us funny little apes attribute to things to make ourselves feel important.

Be a good person, appreciate the beauty and the pain around you and thank your lucky stars.

That’s all there really is.

cyn's avatar

it means we have the power too do anything we want, we’re just not that smart…well some of us(humans)...

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

So what you’re asking is “What is the meaning of life?”

We spend so much time and energy on trying to figure out why things are and not enough time appreciating the fact that they just are.

Why are we alive in 2009? A random series of highly unlikely cosmic events all led up to this.

Blondesjon's avatar

It means you have the ability to rationalize anything.


Bocci's avatar

well I guess you could narrow it down to that. I was more thinking about how we as humans contribute to the world. I am a bit lost in my own question. But I was thinking more about our actions in relation to all of the aforementioned in my question than about the meaning of life

asmonet's avatar

See first answer.
Fits both.

Ivan's avatar

Largely the same thing it meant thousands of years ago. You are a member of this species.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

One example:
Believing your educated reasoning brain can overcome repulsion and want to lay down and have sex with an obese person that you once were passionately in love with… and not being able to do it.

AstroChuck's avatar

As soon as I am I’ll let you know.

asmonet's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence: What the hell does that have to do with anything?

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

@asmonet: it’s just an example of having all the greatest things the modern world can offer and still be at the mercy of nature.

ubersiren's avatar

It seems you’ve somewhat answered it in your description. Complex emotions, intelligence, spirituality, higher consciousness to exalt above our id or animal urges.

asmonet's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence: That’s entirely subjective. If we’re aiming to define humanity… we’re going with objective truths about us all.

Not intermittent personal hangups.

wundayatta's avatar

If you’re going to write poetry, write for a poetry journal. Here, it’s just lost on everybody.

This place is for questions, not poetry. We are far too prosaic for you. We shoot to kill, not to try to see the bullet fly.

PS, you see where is says “great answer” just below here? Press that link once or twice ;-)

Juliana1217's avatar

Dude, As the late , great, Ronald Reagan said,
” I find that the answer to almost any question can be found in the Bible.
What it means to be human is that we are made in the likeness of God. We have a soul. We are the highest form of mammal on this earth. We have intellegence. We (hopefully) know the difference between good and evil. We can worship our creator——which is something animals can’t do.

asmonet's avatar

^You know, if you believe in that stuff.

And you’re Christian on top of believing in a God or Gods.

So very narrow.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Juliana, my dog worships me like a god, so I have to disagree with you. Of course, if she had opposable thumbs, I might not be quite the ‘cat’s pajamas’ in her view.

This is a repeat of another question from a few months ago. To that one I answered, To be human means watching someone you love with all your heart as they lay dying and knowing there isn’t a goddamn thing you can do about it.

YARNLADY's avatar

It means that we were born with a certain set of genes that are unique to us; nothing more.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Did someone say “the meaning of life”? Michael Palin has the answer!

kenmc's avatar

Like everyone said, it ultimately means nothing, but I like this quote:

“It’s a sad and beautiful time to be alive”

Bluefreedom's avatar

It means you’re a sentient being amidst others like you who are all occupying an overpopulated sphere that is being destroyed by the aforementioned sentient beings. Some are just a little more industrious than others in this regard.

asmonet's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: Animals do that too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It means whatever it means to you
to some it means having flaws and making mistakes
to some it means responsibility
to some it means a relationship to a god

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@asmonet, but we have no idea if ALL animals are conscious of death in the way that humans are. I don’t assume that animals are conscious of their ultimate demise. I think that is a distinctly human trait. I doubt very highly that my MHC look back at their lives and tell each other that in x number of months, they will be gone forever.

CMaz's avatar

It means live for today. “I think therefore I am”. Still figuring, should take the blue pill or the red pill?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz did you know I can not swallow pills?

CMaz's avatar

You take the blue pill and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill and you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
I guess you will not be getting a visit from Morpheus.
What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz oh no I know the stories behind the pills, I was just making a joke – though I actually can’t swallow pills

CMaz's avatar

I know, I know… ;-) I got a bit too deep.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz really, that’s what you think is deep? my my

CMaz's avatar

Deep into the Matrix, you have no idea how boring this day is. TGIF

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ChazMaz you should tell me in pm

CMaz's avatar

Oh, are we doing this again. lol

asmonet's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra: Many primates have been observed mourning over carcasses of their family members and friends. And in some cases, they have committed suicide shortly after the death of one they were close too.

But animals feel as much as we do. It’s arrogant to think otherwise.

For one example Koko mourned the death of the kitten All Ball she cared for like her own young. And was aware of things ‘going to sleep forever’. Another gorilla who lived with her for many years, Michael, is believed to have attempted to relay the story of how his mother was shot in front of him in the jungle.

Just because Koko couldn’t name the concept to our satisfaction linguistically does not make it any less real or diminish her understanding, she mourned and understood death.

I’ll try to look for some more stuff about primates and their own mortality. But, there’s a good chance I’ll forget. Fair warning.

Zuma's avatar

To be human means being involved with Humanity—cultivating your own dignity, and nurturing the rights and dignity of others; cultivating your own welfare and prosperity without neglecting the common good; realizing your potential for good; minimizing your potential for evil; living within the limits of your mortality and gifts without surrendering your autonomy to another person, idea or God. Being human means living in equality and solidarity with your fellow man, refusing to exploit a natural advantage or seeking a supernatural “edge” over your fellow man. Being human means constantly struggling against ignorance, prejudice, arrogance, and injustice.

For starters.

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