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Pure Heart

What Makes Us “Human Beings”? – Part 3

Yes, I mean it. I don’t see any difference between the creatures called human beings and the rest of the creatures on earth. If there is any difference, it is perhaps only in the words or names we decide to use. For instance, we conceitedly call ourselves “human beings” and call other creatures “dog,” “snake,” or some other name that we choose for them.

And as stated in Part 2, some people argue that we are human beings because we have the ability to develop and use language. For me, this is not a convincing argument at all. If language is a means of communication – and that is an important definition to pay attention to – then we should not say that other animals do not have the ability to develop and use language because they do. A hen does communicate with its chicks; a baboon does communicate with its baby. We should not arrogantly look for some special definition for the word “language” to make us better than or different from God’s other creatures.

The point to remember is that human beings have their languages, and other creatures have theirs.  If the use or development of language is what makes the creatures called “human beings” human beings, then, for me, all creatures are human beings, for all creatures have the ability to use language. A mother can communicate with her children, just as a hen can communicate with her chicks.

Before ending , I wish to add another point. There are those who say that we are human beings because we have the ability to learn (or understand) and to speak various languages. In other words, a Grebo person can learn to speak Lorma, Swahili, Japanese, French, English and so forth.

This is an interesting argument because it shows our ignorance as human beings. Many Liberian traditional hunters will say that a leopard can speak the language of deer to the extent that the leopard could impersonate as a dear and catch it for lunch in the process. How does the leopard know that the language it impersonates is that of the dear, if it does not have the ability to learn or speak other languages? Why do certain parrots speak English and other languages so understandably, if they don’t have that ability? Why does a dog understand and wig its tail when its master says, “Come, Frisky,” and remains lying when the same master calls it a completely different name, say, Pastor Junior Mary? If other animals lack the ability to understand other languages, why does a dog jump at a trespasser when its owner says, “Catch it?”

Look, folks, just as the creatures called human beings have their languages to communicate, other creatures also have theirs. Just as some human beings have the ability to speak or understand other languages, other creatures also do. Calling our means of communication “language,” and calling theirs some stupid name does not change anything. Their language is their language; our language is our language.

Da na fi-yah comin’ from my mou’h. You like it, jacko; you na like it, Jack-o’-Lantern. Da me say so-o, my people.

Seriously, my people, aren’t these points to ponder?

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