What it means to be human

What it means to be human is a topic I discussed in great detail in a high school history class. In that class we formed a list of all characteristics, physical and mental, that differentiate us from other species. Some characteristics we highlighted include opposable thumbs, walking upright, our brain capacity, and our ability to utilize objects and create tools. In my history class our primary focus was ancient humans; however in our class we focused more on present day humans and specifically the technology we use.
Technology does not just refer to the latest iPhone or mac laptop; it can also refer to the stone ax or bow and arrow invented in ancient civilizations. It is an unfair to juxtapose whether humans rely more on the iPhone today or the stone ax of the past. Today humans say, “I cannot survive a day without my iPhone.” Which in reality is a statement of hyperbole. Humans of the past however, may not have physically survived without the use of the stone ax. Today it seems that the technology we seem to rely the most on is more for our pleasure and enjoyment; while the technology ancient humans relied on was essential for their living. Needless to say there are many present day technologies, equivalent to the ancient stone ax, which humans need to survive; however the majority of these technologies are taken for granted.
It is clear that what was considered technology in the past is not considered technology today because humans have gotten so used to the presence of these items. When I look at a light bulb I do not think of it as technology because it is something that is always there so I take for granted; however, if you asked a human 120 years ago, they would consider the light bulb the greatest technology the world has to offer. Today, I believe, technology is most closely related to the newest electronics, such as the 3d television or the wristwatch that has Internet.
Technology is profoundly changing who we are as humans; it is constantly leaving us wanting more. In present day society, I believe it makes us more greedy and competitive. People are always trying to get their hands on the latest technology because what they have already is not good enough. The company Apple can continue coming out with new products and new iPhone updates because people want the new technology; people are greedy. This then translates into competition because once one person has the new phone or update; their best friend then has to have it. We live in a world where people are always trying to compete and get what they do not have and technology has a lot to do with it.
What is means to be human today has a great deal to do with the technology we are able to utilize and invent. It is strange to think that the technology of today is only around because of the technology of the past, and the technology of the past was only created because of the physical characteristics of what it means to be human. What the humans of today take for granted the most are the reasons why we have iPhones and laptops. If we did not have the characteristics of opposable thumbs, being bipedal, and having a large brain capacity, we would not have the intelligence or physical ability to be able to invent and create the technology we have come to cherish today.

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3 Comments

  1. You mention brain capacity as a characteristic of being human. You also discuss how technology is changing what it means to be human. One example of this is perhaps being too reliant on technology is altering out brain capacity and changing the way we think. This inevitably is changing what it means to be human.

  2. To me, humans are evolutive animal on the Earth. We evolve with our physical parts and our IQ. In your writing, I like the example that your gave about the competition because that is how we are, greediness, honor, and money,etc. But however, what it means to be human does not always have to deal with technology. Our elders used their brain to invent something convenient such as turning electricity (naturally existed) into power for our electronic devices.

  3. being human is exactly how you describe it. Humans are humans because they have the capacity to think beyond what is rational. Humans are able to think with the use of emotions as well as personal connections to whatever they are thinking of or about. In my opinion what makes me human is the fact that I am able to make decisions because of my personal believes my personal connections with things that I care about things that I do.

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