So as the title says, what does it mean to be human?
We all start out in the same way, a tiny creation formed by our parents during a moment of sex, sometimes we are created out of love and sometimes we are a horrible unintended accident, but no matter if you were wanted or not, loved or not, cared for or abused as you grew up, those circumstances do not define who you are or what it means to be a human being.
Scientists can sit you down and detail out exactly what your body is comprised of and how it functions and point out strengths and weaknesses but is that all you are? Are you defined by the building blocks of your body?
A poet may weave pretty words and ideas into graceful and artful definitions of humanity but are you defined by their ideas or your own?
A warrior or criminal or athlete may define their humanity by their physical prowess and how they stack up to others, is that you?
I have given a lot of thought over the years about society and how we define ourselves and our lives, and how some never seem to find any real balance or happiness in their existence. But the thing that sticks out about human beings in my mind is our capacity to see evil in those who do not see things exactly the same way as we do. Today there was a story attacking those who have religious beliefs, others are about how evil those who do not share their political views are or how crazy it is for some people to shove transgenders into the mainstream, or maybe eating meat is evil or wrong and
Windmills are killing birds, etc. We can look into the things we talk about and most of the time it is about the things we do not like, or even hate. Look at what we see in the news and what we discuss in our circles of friends and and what we see on sites like this one and most of the time we seem to be driven mostly by our negative side, the one looking to find fault and excuses to hate.
I have a saying I have used for over 35 years now, "If all you are looking for is the negative, you will always find it even if it not there."
Humanity seems to be defined individually by what we hate, that is what we put our energy into with the most enthusiasm. The many wars in our past and the degree of ugly our last American election inspired should help to support that notion.
But hate is an emotion, and human beings have many emotions, some may call them passions but they are what in my mind defines us as human beings. We are the emotion we choose to prioritize in our lives. It is like the old story of what wolf do you feed? The good wolf or the bad wolf? It really is that simple in my opinion.
I remember one of my earliest memories with working with others was picking tobacco leaves in the middle of summer at 14 years old and there was an older guy who was famous for always being happy, always had a hello and a pat on the back, always helped others when his work was done, always tossing jokes and playful teasing with sometimes complete strangers and one day I asked him if he was always as happy as he looks and he told me that happiness was a state of mind and you make a choice each day to be the person you want to be. Even when you are hurting and having difficulties in your own life you can still make the choice to be happy. Now this is hardly a new concept in the world but it was new to me but I never fully embraced this concept until many years later when I was doing some volunteer work in Colorado at a children's cancer wing of a hospital. Now I can tell you that I was filled with dread not knowing how I would handle the situation and I was imagining a horrible and depressing and gloomy couple days because cancer is certainly a horrible reality to face especially when it comes to children right?
I was so guarded and mentally prepared for the most emotionally difficult times of my life and ready to do my best to show support for what I assumed would be children at a very dark moment of their life. And while there was most definitely a dark reality hovering on the air, instead of sad and gloomy and depressed children as far as the eye could see, we found ourselves dealing with happy and playful children who were excited to spend time with us as we did shows and played dress up and face painting and we had a beginner balloon artist that was breaking as many balloons as she turned into animals and the popping balloons seemed to be a bigger hit than the animals to be honest, lol.
It was spending time with those kids that reminded me of what the old guy said to me about happiness being a choice we make but also sadness and anger and hate etc is all what we choose to make important in our lives.
So what does it mean to be human? Well in my humble opinion being human means dealing with our emotions because it is our emotions that make us human. They drive our lives and our relationships and control how we see each other and everything else to be honest. Our emotions are the glasses we look through to see the world.
But, that does not mean our emotions serve us very well, even loving someone can turn on us and cause us great pain when the object of our love does not love us in return. And there is no doubt wallowing in hate will give us nothing but pain in return. So how do we as emotional beings keep those emotions from leading us down a bad or wrong path?
Sorry, that is an answer human beings have not found yet, but I do not know if we really want the answer, because then we stand a chance of being cold robots incapable of feeling anything, and that would surely destroy humanity because the only thing that makes us truly special are those emotions, good and bad.