THIS IS A POLL. FRANCISCO FRANCO IS STILL DEAD.

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

How do you measure a human? Now I mean this seriously (Jeff) so no cock jokes (Jeff) and please try to keep things serious.

What makes a person a person? Can a human be less than a person? If so, how? Can a human be better than others? How? That sort of thing.

Comments

radiosilence95's picture

Well you could go with the

Well you could go with the scientific approach and say that a human is a being with two arms, two legs, sentient thought, kidneys, a spleen, anatomical stuff like that.

But if you wanna go with a more philosophical approach, a human is measured by thought. What separates us from animals is our ability to think, and not just in terms of solid facts, like 2+2=4. The umbrella of thought extends to emotions, problem-solving, empathy, anything. Our ability to think is so very complex, whereas with animals it's all instinct: eat, procreate, survive.

I'm not really sure if a human can be less of a human. Is a murderer less human because he is condemned by society and has committed atrocious acts against his fellow human? I don't really think so. Even if you're a serial rapist or just a complete asshole, you're still a human being. I might even argue that the serial rapist, the asshole, and the murderer are more human than the rest of us.

In terms of society we're definitely not all equal. In society people are deemed or have the appearance of being "better" than others. But I think in the grand scope of things, if you ignore the social bullshit, we're all the same. Human. We all have thoughts and feelings and noses. So I guess, going back to the statement I made about murderers and rapists possibly being more human than the rest of us, that would be a statement made in terms of society. Socially speaking you are supposed to suppress your darker parts of your humanity, but those criminals have not. They have surrendered to the temptations that make us just as human as our good parts. But, in terms of that grand scheme, the universe and cosmos and stuff that is way beyond society, we're all equally human.

I just woke up so this might not make any sense at all.

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

I was going to say something...

Then it came out so disjointed that I'm just going to say 'I agree with the majority of that.'

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Tycoondashkid's picture

i have something to say

if we say a human is separated from animals because of our ability to communicate ideas, think and build stuff then Chimps are also separate from the Animals, Chimps are building stuff now

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

Nothing new

Being above humanity doesn't have to do with tools- ravens, crows, and other members of the Corvid sort are capable of using tools and are actually more intelligent than many apes.

As far as our knowledge can show us (and we can never go on any information beyond that which evidence suggests, otherwise it's just blind speculation), chimps are not nearly as intelligent as humans. Gorillas are, as I recall, a bit more intelligent.

In my personal opinion on what makes something more than an animal, I believe that a creature's ability (and actions due) to aspire beyond simple instinct and hormonal reactions. After all, emotions are chemical, when you get down to it, and it's important to move beyond emotions. I think that to be more than an animal, one must wish to be better than what one is.

I'm not entirely convinced that humanity as a whole is above animals, because I don't think that most humans even try to rise above themselves. Let alone chimps, given their habit of raping, killing, and cannibalizing other groups of chimps for no particular reason. And frankly, the other chimps may well be lucky if it's done in that order. Humanity's similar habits convince me that it's not much better.

Sorry. That was a long one that only answered one question. :P

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Tycoondashkid's picture

ok

what about dolphins who put themselves at risk to save humans or the few gorillas who saved young children who fell into their pen at a zoo?.

but technically speaking, humans are animals, we are part of the animal kingdom like all animals are just smarter and more commutable in certain ways but animals can do that too, Parrots can teach their children human words and Dolphins are believed to share stories and Gophers are believed to have their own intricate language being able to tell the difference between a tall, muscular, white male with a red shirt and a tall muscular man with a orange shirt

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

There's a difference between intelligence, instinct, and rising.

Nurturing is a natural instinct, especially for social animals such as a gorilla or a dolphin. Parrots speak, but do not understand. And yes, homo-sapiens is animal, but is that the same as human, or something better than human? I'd say no. Many animals can see things and interpret them, but that is not sapience. I'm not so much talking about intelligence as sapience. If you want something really close to sapient, try a raven, or a gorilla. They're close. But something is missing. That same something is missing from most humans as well- at least, in my opinion.

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Tycoondashkid's picture

Humans may be intelligent but here something

a person is smart, the individual is smart
People are stupid, a group of humans aren't as smart as the individual
this is for the average person of course

a human (singular) can be a great but humans (plural) can go to animal instincts and we still act on a very Primate thing, War.

although, i like to think if humans evolved with mind closer to that of a Bonobo than a Chimp, we would be a better species, Bonobo's take the phrase "make love not war" to a high level and are on average a very calm species even in large groups when something inside the group goes terribly wrong

elph's picture

Intelligence vs sapience

I think the average reader will understand these two words to be essentially synonymous. If you're exploiting an essential distinguishing nuance, it would be helpful were you to explain.

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

:P

I thought I did explain. What I mean by sapience is essentially the ability to feel conscious ambition to be more than what you are, and more importantly the actions based on that ambition. I had hoped I'd made that clear in earlier comments, but I suppose sometimes I think I say things but I don't.

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Bosemaster42's picture

I think your right,

With regard to a great deal of humans not rising above themselves. It's only human to think we are above animals. We still don't understand the complexities of the human brain. I don't believe all emotions are chemical,though. Chemicals released by the brain, as well as, glands can trigger varied emotional responses. Some emotions are false.

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

What I mean is

Emotions don't come from somewhere outside of the physical body. The mind is ruled by the body, because they are one and the same. No dualism. That's what I meant. I think that all emotions are real, because what's real is what's happening. I don't think you can feel anger without feeling anger- the body commands it.

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Bosemaster42's picture

Yes,

they come from within. Mind and body are supposed to be one in the same. Emotions become real because we(our minds) give them power. I didn't mean they didn't exist, it's not easy an easy practice, but anger can be controlled. Fear is a much trickier emotion. Every human has the capacity for good and evil. To be a better human, I believe, requires a higher state of consiousness.

jeff's picture

Hmm...

You sort of boxed me out of the discussion. ;-(

---
"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (http://youtu.be/Z0FrcTX6hWI)

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

Hmm...

Call it preemption. ;)

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

angel syndrome's picture

Meta-cognition separates the

Meta-cognition separates the human being from the animal. We are aware of our awareness, and also have the capacity to reflect on it afterwards.

The distinction between "person" and "human being" is complex and rather unclear, but I would say personhood places an individual in the context of a culture and assigns classifications and roles. Any biological being as defined by Radio in the first comment is a human being. In some cultures, a person is a person by simple virtue of being a human being. Slavery, on the other hand would be an example of a human being treated as a non-person.

A "better human being" is a very vague idea. We have all evolved to have different traits which are desirable (or not) in different situations, such as physical strength, eloquence and beauty, to name a few.

If these sort of personality/physical traits are taken out of the equation, the capacity for critical thought and advanced meta-cognition could bring to a "better" human being. The philosopher questions his own meta-cognition to enhance it, and by doing so, advances the rest of the world when his knowledge is shared.

~ Side note : with all the tools at our disposal to communicate, why does so little of this communication seem to be an exchange of ideas? Do these tools oppress us or liberate us? What are they promoting? ~

Perhaps "better" should be defined more thoroughly. Is it more desirable? More pleasant? More useful ? (and useful to whom?)

jeff's picture

People might disagree...

... but I'd argue a baby is a human being at birth, but it takes a bit before they start becoming a person, which seems to have some cognizant thing, some uniqueness, some personality (duh, it's in the word!), etc.

---
"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (http://youtu.be/Z0FrcTX6hWI)

Bosemaster42's picture

It's reasonable to assume,

a human requires development. I don't believe a child is any less a person than an adult. The adult has more experience and knowledge.
The child is inexperienced and emotionally raw.

Bosemaster42's picture

Yes,

I have to agree meta-cognition is a separating factor. 'Better' is clearly up for debate.
On your side note, Ultimately I think it promotes mental laziness. I can't say it oppresses because there's always choice. I think the internet is a great tool for obtaining information quickly, but that's about all. This site is actually the only one I use to talk to people. I spend a great deal of my time working and taking care of our house.

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

Hm

I am being unclear, I'm sorry about that. I usually only talk to the same people repeatedly, so I tend to assume people know what I mean.

In any case, all of this is my own opinion.

A better person is a person who has surpassed other people in the field(s) they are in. This doesn't mean in a worldly way, even, I tend to see potential and acting on potential as equally important. Olympic athletes, for example, are perfect models of better people, because they've risen above the rest of the world in many, many ways of their own.

On Jeff's note, I think a baby is human, but not a person. Same reasons.

I'm being very unclear here and I can't really seem to make the words come out straight. I might actually write a journal to explain what I'm trying to say sometime. *gasp*

I do enjoy this discussion.

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

Bosemaster42's picture

It would be welcomed.

I can't wait for part two.

swimmerguy's picture

I tend to measure people

first by what standards they hold, then by the gap between their standards and their reality.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt5ghXdq6Z0&safe_search=on

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

And thusly

I'm measured pretty badly. XD

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand

elph's picture

Standards set too low...

...or, the gap too wide?

Perhaps We Should Leave's picture

Gap

I don't always fit the things I think should be. But then again, my standards are very high, so not many people reach them.

* * *
You'll see him in your head, on the TV screen
And hey buddy, I'm warning you to turn it off
He's a ghost, he's a god, he's a man, he's a guru
You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan
Designed and directed by his red right hand