What does it mean to be human?

Topics: Human, Meaning of life, Thought Pages: 5 (1606 words) Published: November 19, 2014


What deems an individual as being “human”? It could range from the relations a person has with others, to contributions an individual has dispensed to a certain field. The most imperative note to be taken when wondering what proclaims a person to being human is that every individual’s definition of a “human” is different. While lives are lived, people are constantly growing and changing. Some might find purpose in life just by focusing on helping themselves; creating the best “me” they can be. While some might find their purpose through helping others, putting their focus on their external environment, rather than their internal. In Treatise on Laws, Book 1 translated by Francis Barham, Treatise on Sacred Doctrine written by Thomas Aquinas, and The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius are where these examples are displayed. The excerpts from Treatise on Laws, Book 1 that was translated by Francis Barham display many opinions regarding the Nature of Law. In order to figure out how an individual is human, men and women need to follow the standards of the nature of law. “We will discuss the true objects of thought and action, for which we were born and sent into the world, and the beautiful association and fellowship which bind men together by reciprocal charities: when we have fathomed these grand and universal principles of morals, we shall discover the true fountain of laws and rights.”1 In order to be human, the individual needs to be aware of the set of laws and with these laws the person will either do the right or wrong thing. If the wrong action is committed against the set of laws, then there will be consequences. Humans are a unique species of men, women, and children, with a superior mental development. There are several diverse characteristics displayed in individuals determining what it means for them to be human. “They therefore conceive that the voice of conscience is a law, that moral prudence is a law, whose operation is to urge us to good actions, and restrain us from evil ones.”2 To be human, mistakes will be made, trust will be lost, and forgiveness will be found. If an individual decides to perform an evil task, they can hopefully have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. Then, it could cause them to begin performing deeds of a better nature. Being human does not mean that flawlessness is the greatest; imperfections make up a true individual. If the individual is able to learn and grow from his or her experience, then any mistake can be deemed worth wile. “Whatever definition we give of man, it must include the whole human race. And this is a good argument, that no portion of mankind can be heterogeneous or dissimilar from the rest; because, if this were the case, one definition could not include all men.”3 This quote states that all individual men are still a part of the human race. By definition we cannot be separated out as individuals. This quote is false because each and every human being is unique in their own way. There is not just one definition of what a human is, because people are constantly changing. Men and women were all created equally, however this equality does not mean that each human is composed of the same identity. Thomas Aquinas who wrote Treatise on Sacred Doctrine, talks a lot about the conscience of man. The question is whether conscience should be considered a power or not. ‘"Conscience is a correcting and guiding spirit accompanying the soul, by which it is led away from evil and made to cling to good."’4 People make decisions everyday, regretting their actions and wishing their conscience overpowered their evil doing. Everyone makes mistakes, but with mistakes, comes forgiveness. If man never made mistakes, then the world would never change. The world would constantly be repeating the same things over and over again. Individuals learn to forgive and forget, which is a necessity in order to be human. Those are just two of the several natural occurrences that are...
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