Running Head: WHAT IS IT TO BE HUMAN?
What Is It To Be Human?
Alejandra De La Torre
Laredo Community College
WHAT IS IT TO BE HUMAN?
This article by Joel M. Charon explains the key qualities that differentiate us from animals. Though we are animals, many believe that there are differences such as humans having a soul and a conscience, humans being instinctive, and that we are the only animal that makes war on its own kind. Human beings are mammals, which mean that we are warm blooded, we give birth to live young, the female nurses the young, and we have hair covering parts of our body. The unique qualities we maintain are that we are social and cultural. Without those two qualities we wouldn’t be who we are. Humans need others for survival and culture arises from social life. Through the use of symbols, selfhoods, and mind we are able to figure out our world and develop ideas uniquely our own. So to summarize what a human is, it is a human being who is social and cultural in nature. Being social, he/she survives by depending on others, learning how to survive from others, and develops individual and human qualities through socialization. Being cultural is basically one who interprets the world according to what they've learned in society.
WHAT IS IT TO BE HUMAN?
What Does It Mean to Be Human?: Human nature, Society, and Culture More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle wrote: “The human is by nature a social animal.” You may be many things as an individual, but above all you are a social creature destined to live your life with other people in a society. Joel M. Charon (2010) explains the key qualities that differentiate us from animals. Though we are animals, many believe that there are differences such as humans having a soul and a conscience, humans being instinctive, and that we are the only animal that makes war on its own kind. Relationships with others lie at the core of human existence. Humans were conceived within relationships, were born into relationships, became genuinely human in relationships, and live their life within relationships. One cannot be a human all alone. What one thinks, how one feels, and what one says and does are fashioned by interaction with other people in group settings. It is the web of meanings, expectations, behavior, and institutional arrangements that result when humans interact with one another in society. We, human beings, are social beings. We depend on one another to survive. Without any social interaction our bodies may fail at developing our minds correctly. Part of this development includes using symbols and selfhood to think and explore new possibilities. George Herbert Mead called this the mind. All animals are of course born with a brain but not all with a mind. One must become social so that they can learn that they need others to survive. Socialization also creates our individual qualities. And social interaction is important for developing our essence: It creates our central qualities of symbol use, self- hood, and mind. Therefore, the three important points on being social are: learning from others to survive, learning our individual qualities, as well as our basic human qualities. WHAT IS IT TO BE HUMAN?
Humans are also cultural. Being cultural is acting and sharing the same views and acting as a whole. Culture is a set of ideas, values, and norms (procedures, customs, laws, morals) that people use as a guide to understanding and self-control. It is how we are able to know how to act around one another in a cooperative manner. Unlike animals, we are not born to know what to do and how we’re supposed to act. That is where culture comes in. With culture we are able to understand what they and others are doing and what we’re meant to do. Besides that, we also use culture for labeling. We see different class of people, rude people, dirty people, and heavy drinking people. This all divides our society...
References: Charon, Joel M., (2010). Ten Questions: A Sociological Perspective. What Does it Mean To Be Human?: Human Nature, Society, and Culture.
Mead, G . H. (1925). The genesis of the self and social control. International Journal of Ethics,35, 25 1–277.
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