Yes, I am serious about it. I really want to know what makes us “human beings.” Why do we call ourselves “human beings”? I want to know. Why aren’t we called baboons or crocodiles, but human beings? Sometimes I feel that I am a monkey or a dog. Is anything wrong with it?
Is there any difference between a monkey and human being, or a dog and a human being? I see none, except in terms of name or structure. Maybe we are using “human beings” because we just feel that it sounds better to us than the word “dog” does. Maybe we should be called catcowdog. What do you think, folks?
The funny aspect, at least in my view, is that we human beings, in our desire to portray ourselves as the best of God’s creation, devise all kinds of explanations and reasons and justifications to present ourselves in that manner. We feel and think that we are better than or different from baboon, for example.
In short, we look for reasons, examples, and other things to prove why we think or believe we should be called human being, and not monkey, worm or opossum. It’s funny, really.
In the rest of this article and subsequent ones, I will present some of the funny reasons and explanations and justifications that the creatures called human beings enjoy presenting to “prove” that are rightly called human beings and should be called human beings, not cat or dog. In the process, I will do my best to counter those arguments to prove that there is no difference between us. You like it, jacko; you na like it, Jack-o’-Lantern.
Let’s start with the first.
Development and Use of Language
Some say that we are human beings because we have the ability to develop and use language. In a sense, animals lack that ability. I disagree. All categories of animals have their own languages. The focus, in my view, should not be on the kind of language a group of creatures uses, but the fact that they use that language to communicate and get along with one another.
Human beings use their languages not only to communicate but also to indicate anger, joy, frustration, cheek, etc. Some of us use spoken language, while others use sign language. The point is that communication is taken place. The same is true in the case of other creatures – they use their own languages to communicate. It is not their business if we don’t understand the language they speak.
Our biased definition of the word “language” to be in favor of us human beings does not make us any better, and the word “better” is itself relative. One definition of “language” as stated by dictionarty.com is this: “a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition.”
The we-are-always-the-best-creature human beings that came up with this definition use the word “people” in relation to language, excluding all other creatures in the process.
Another definition in the same section says: “communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.”
Because we enjoy calling ourselves human beings, we tend to do, say and describe things to suit us. if that definition had been given by a parrot or baboon or an elephant, the terms “people” and “human manner” might not have been attached.
For me, and I assume for most other creatures, a “language” is a “means of communication.” If we ignorantly or biasedly call the language of dogs “barking,” those dogs may also be calling our language “pukastupi” or something else. Our calling the language of monkeys “chattering” does not mean that they don’t have a language, and it could also mean that those monkeys are calling ours “takikikaka.”
Because we do not understand the language of monkeys or ants or some bird, it does not mean that we should call that language a different name other than the term “language.”
To be continued…
Seriously, my people, aren’t these points to ponder?