• Question: What makes us human

    Asked by J-Dog to Aaron, Abbey, Keith, Natalie, Pete on 16 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Keith Franklin

      Keith Franklin answered on 16 Nov 2015:

      Wow – not an easy question, and there is no right or wrong answer to this one.

      The easy answer is that we have defined the word human to describe what we already are, so we are human because we call ourselves human.

    • Photo: Aaron Boardley

      Aaron Boardley answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      I suppose this question means what is it about humans that is different from everything else?

      I think the answer is there when you look all around you. Organising ourselves into massive society – not just small clans. Complex technology.Mass communication including verbal and written words. In fact, I’ve read that human development really took off when we invented language – so perhaps it could be said that language makes us human?

      Other things that distinguish humans is walking on two legs, having larger and more complex brains than other animals, and the fact we wear clothes and use fire to cook foods.

    • Photo: Natalie Garrett

      Natalie Garrett answered on 17 Nov 2015:

      This is a very philosophical question, really.

      You could argue that what makes us human is our DNA, that our genetic makeup is what defines us as this particular species, and we can place our species among the evolutionary tree of the rest of all life on earth. Therefore, what defines us as being human is our physical characteristics as a species.

      Or, you could argue that being human is more than defining the physical characteristics of an animal, that it’s more to do with our brains. Some people might say that what marks us apart from other animals is our unparalleled ability to think and communicate and change our environment.

      However, perhaps being human is quite a different matter than merely our cognitive abilities, or our genetic makeup. Some might argue that being human is about showing compassion when you don’t need to. You can logically assess a situation, you can act according to what will ensure your survival as an animal, but being human is about helping others even when it is of no benefit to us, just because it’s the compassionate thing to do.

      What do you think makes us human?