What it is to be Human

Courtesy of Sandeep Jaitly @ NASOE:

The body is socially constructed; and in this paper we explore the various and ever-changing constructions of the body, and thus of the embodied self……The one word, body, may therefore signify very different realities and perceptions of reality…..(Synnot 1992, 43)

It has been said that in order to understand life and society, we as people must first understand ourselves. Who are we as a people? Who are we as individuals? Who are we as humans? These questions all present themselves when discussing a topic such as this. I believe that it is indeed important to ask questions such as these, and also as important to answer them. All of this assuming of course, that there is one specific answer. My problem begins here, in that I do not believe that there is one defined answer to these questions. As you will see, many “great philosophic minds” have different views and beliefs relating to these questions, and it is my job to sort through these different beliefs and discover…… What it is to be human

It seems that for ages the human body has been studied and inspected. However, literal “inspection” only takes us so far. As humans, we all know that there are parts of our “being” that are intangible. Take thoughts, dreams, and things of the like. We know they exist, yet they are unable to be inspected scientifically (to any valuable degree at least). The distinction between beliefs begins here. How one views this intangible side of life with respect to the tangible, is the factor that defines one’s beliefs.

There are several ways in which one may view the body. A dualist is one who views the body and mind, or tangible and intangible, as two separate intities existing together to form one being. The principle of “Cogito, ergo sum,” or in english, “I think, therefore I am.” The “I” meaning the mind, and “I am” meaning the body. (Synnott 1992, 92) The tangible side of the person being bound of course, by the laws of biomechanics and gravity, and theintangible being bound by nothing but the laws of reasoning. “…..the body, from its nature, is always divisible and the mind is completely indivisible.” (Descartes 1995, 70) Continue reading