What Makes us Human
Watching the Olympics makes me wonder about the practicality of it all. Why would someone sacrifice many sources of pleasure simply to be able to run, swim or walk at a certain speed, perform acrobatics that will not have an impact on how the world runs or be able to lift weights that won't be lifted in our daily lives.
The behaviour of human beings on many occasions is irrational and different from most primates although not entirely unique. From a scientific point of view, we have extremely similar genes to even a fruit fly. In a very interesting Ted talk, primatologist Robert Sapolsky argues that we are very similar in behaviour to animals and that there are very few ways in which human beings are unique.
He provides proof that animals behave very similarly to humans: monkeys make tools, baboons kill members of their own species out of competitiveness and kill in an organised manner, bats can practice revenge, chimps have empathy and have distinct cultures in different groups.
But why do humans spend their days playing chess, watching plays, talking about love or torturing ourselves into painting a picture or writing a book? Human beings are the only beings that carry within them the power of imagining and therefore creating. We can feel stress by thinking a thought with no real danger in front of us. We can feel love by simply imagining scenarios that make our hearts beat with our beloved miles away from us. We can work so hard on making others happy in an anticipation of the joy we get from serving others.
Sapolsky argues that the thing most uniquely human about humans is that we look for the impossible and do it. The more the thing seems impossible to do the more important (and rewarding) it is for humans to do it. That is a real eye-opening reason to celebrate the uniqueness of the human consciousness. Our ability create beyond reality from the pure focus of our imagination.
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Weam is the founder of Namaste. She had started a very deep and intense spiritual journey at a young age having refused to continue to suffer with the common challenges of her generation: depression, anxiety and being lost. She insisted that there must be more to life than the constant rat race she was in