Man- a being in search of meaning, is how man is defined in Plato’s words. When we hear the word man, we automatically draw a picture of a human in our head. But what really does the term man mean? The simple answer to that question would be: a male human or man is a rational animal.
Man is someone who has feelings, is capable of thinking and can reason. According to an article from New Advent, man comes a German root (mann, mensch) which means to think. The general definition gives us the liberty to interpret the term in different ways. Whether one chooses to think of man as a human or as an animal is up to each individual. I personally think man is an animal with greater capabilities than most. Man is an animal that can think and act as a situation suggests. The term man can be divided in to different sections. There are the good and the evil, the knowledgeable and the ignorant. As different religions suggest, the good will have a prosperous afterlife, while the evil will suffer for eternity. The way society sees it is the knowledgeable as smart and the ignorant as dumb, this isn’t necessarily true.
A good man can be one that is always honest or that always does what is morally correct, or someone who is hard working and determined. These types of actions are rewarded by God, as the Catholic religion indicates, by letting you enter heaven in the long term, but in the short term by helping you out in other aspects of your life where it might be needed. Not everyone believes this though. You may believe in karma and always do well onto others so you will receive the same in return. Not only is a good man seen in a religious way but also in our everyday lives. In contrast to an evil man, a good man usually gets what he proposed himself.
An evil man, depending on ones interpretation of evil, can be the opposite of a good man or just slightly different from it. It can be an assassin, a thief, a liar, or anything that your religion or society considers wrong. Negative actions are condemned in the Catholic religion by being sent to hell. In society one who commits immoral actions is sent to jail. Man having the capability to think knows what the consequences for bad actions are yet he chooses to still do it.
Man is ignorant is something that Plato implies in Allegory of the Cave. In this story, there are some men in a cave who can only see shadows of certain objects and they guess what the object might be. Being in the cave signifies the ignorance of man. It suggests that man will act as they’ve been accustomed to and will not try any harder than that. Once out of the cave, knowledge is gained. Man begins to think on its own rather than depending on others or going with the same routine daily. After being out of the cave, as Plato says, man will not want to go back in.
Personally, I think man is a mixture of various traits there is no such thing as a perfect man. Everyone is different. Each person as an individual needs and thinks differently from anyone else. Two people might think alike but not exactly the same. It is seen everyday in the world, people arguing over a disagreement, do they ever come to a complete agreement? No, they compromise. Compromising is something man has the ability to do which distinguishes us from animal.
Man: good, evil, knowledgeable or ignorant, it all brings us back to its simplest definition, a male human or man is a rational animal. Anyone can construe this a different way. There is no exact or right definition to it.