Monday, April 20, 2009

The Uniqueness of Humans

Sometimes I sit and wonder what makes humans so unique, so different from other animals. Is it our appearance? Is it our rationality and intelligence?

I think most people would say it is indeed our intellectual abilities that distinguishes us from other species. And I think there is a lot of validity to that viewpoint, but I feel that the answer is partly inadequate. That perspective assumes that other species lack intelligence.

Chimpanzees, as studies have demonstrated, are intelligent creatures. Even pigs, known for living and eating filth, have impressive intellectual abilities. It is widely known that an adult pig is smarter than a 3-year old baby.

My point is not to diminish our intellectual skills by comparing it with other animals. Instead, my goal is to get us to realize that there is something more unique and special about us which distinguishes us from other animals.

Humans are emotional.
Humans experience a range of emotions: pain, regret, fear, anger, sadness, happiness, to name a few. And the way that humans express these emotions is equally unique.

We express our sadness through tears; our happiness through smiles. And when facial expressions cannot adequately explain our feelings, we turn to art
writings, drawings, songs, and dances.

In their own way, these art forms capture the complexity of the human experience and human emotions. Words with deep meanings and symbols reveal the abstractness of human thought. Colors arranged in vivid patterns across a canvas capture the depth of our emotions. Rhythmic and lyrical, music captures the love and pain, the joy and despair of life; it captures
the essence of what it means to be human. Movements, whether they are slow or fast, sensual or forceful, metrical or unpredictable, powerfully express the most complex human emotions.

Without emotions, there wouldn't be art. And without emotions, life wouldn't matter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Perhaps you should refrain yourself from using words such as “unique” and “special.”
There are many things that, indeed, distinguish us from other animals. Nevertheless, I do not think they make us special in any sort of way. Each and every species that is out there followed its own evolutionary path. If they did not develop a writing system, or can’t draw, it’s because it doesn’t serve a purpose in the environment in which they live.

By the way, you should definitely question the “rationality” of human beings a bit more!

Oh, and though, as you may have already noticed, I completely disagree with this blog,

I kind’a-sort’a love you ;]