What It Means to Be Human

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Brittany Irwin
What it Means to be Human
Human beings are very precious and unique creations. God crafted human beings in his image and likeness; each matchless person has his or her own physical features, thoughts, interests, likes/dislikes, etc. To be fully human means embracing God as our creator, the main source of the human identity, and following the path of holiness that he has laid down for human beings.

In Thomas Merton’s work of philosophy “The Inward Solitude,” written to a general audience, he lists the qualities of what he thinks it means to be human. Throughout this section of his text No Man is an Island, Merton describes how God is the source of creation and how human beings need to follow him but have the freedom to do otherwise. He says, “True solitude separates one man from the rest in order that he may freely develop the good that is his own, and then fulfill his true destiny by putting himself at the service of everyone else” (186). Merton believes that to be human, people need to put others needs in front of their owns. They need to act selflessly as God has taught them to act. In order to do this they must embrace “true solitude,” which is found in humility. Humans must want to do charity for the sake of others, not for selfish reasons such as trying to make yourself feel better about who you are. If a human acts solely through selflessness then he or she will reach their “true destiny.” This is when humans reach the ultimate stage that God has created them to reach. They follow his rules and live a life that completely serves the well-being of people around them.

The idea that human beings have the responsibility to take care of one another and their surroundings is descried in Blaise Pascal’s work of philosophy “Thoughts,” written to an academic audience. Pascal explains throughout this section of his text, Classics of Western Thought: The Modern World, how humans need to work to find God in their lives to obtain their true...
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