What Makes Us “Human Beings”? – Part 6
Yes, I mean it. I see no difference between the animals called “human beings” and the other animals. If there is any difference, then it is in how we have decided to call ourselves and call them – meaning, it is only in name. We call ourselves “human beings,” and we call them some stupid names – dogs, cats, rabbits, crocodiles, mosquitoes, etc. However, those who contend that we should be called “human beings” disagree that this is what makes us different. So what is it?
If this is not what makes us different, then maybe it is in our physiological makeup or structures. We have legs, hands, bones, visible eyes, and so forth, and we walk upright. Worms, for instance, lack these features. But those keen on calling themselves “human beings” disagree that this is what makes us “human beings” or what makes us better than other animals.
Having rejected these two ideas, those fond of arguing that we are human beings and that because we are human beings, we are better than other creatures made by God, come up with all kinds of unreasonable arguments to prove why we are considered human beings – development and use of language, emotions, caring spirit and intelligence. I strongly disagree.
Certainly, as written in previous articles, the use or development of language cannot be the aspect that makes the creatures called “human beings” human beings, as other creatures also have their own languages. And no selfish and we-are-better-than-them definition of language to suit us human beings will change anything. It is illogical to argue, in my view, that we are human beings because we are able to speak Bassa, Grebo, Kpelle, French, English, Chinese, Russian, Greek or Japanese. Dogs could also argue that they are human beings because they “bark,” and we can’t bark. In fact, I feel that dogs, baboons and other animals are human beings, too. You like it, jacko; you na like it, Jack-o’-Lantern.
Also, as stated in other articles, the possession and expression of emotions cannot be what makes us human beings, as other creatures also have and express emotions, too. Other animals can love, hate, revenge, be jealous, be happy, be sad, be angry, and so forth. So, emotions cannot be what makes us human beings, or what makes us different or better than other creatures.
Besides, it cannot be caring spirit that makes us human beings, for other animals also have caring spirit. Not only do they show affection but also protect one another or others from danger. They seek food and shelter for their young ones. They also share food and other items together. If it is “caring spirit” that makes us human beings, then other animals are human beings, too. Da me say so.
Similarly, there are those who say that we are human beings because we have what we ourselves coin as “intelligence.” But, like in the previous arguments, intelligence cannot be the thing that makes us human beings or makes us different from or better than other creatures because other animals also exercise intelligence. It is intelligence that causes a Japanese bird to take nuts from the forest, nuts that it cannot break open, and drops it on a busy street for cars plying that street to crack them before jumping down to pick up the cracked nuts and eat them. It is intelligence that causes a bird to build a well-designed nest. It is intelligence that causes the opossum to build its dwelling place protectively. Hence, if it is intelligence that makes us human beings, then other animals are human beings, too.
Da fi-yah? Da me say so. You like it, jacko; you na like it, Jack-o’-Lantern.
To be continued…
Seriously, my people, aren’t these points to ponder?