Musing: What Does it Mean to be Human?

JanBrueghel the Younger

What does it mean to be human?

(Let’s “pretend” I’m really high right now)

The Human condition is perhaps the most complex thing anyone can ever attempt to comprehend. We are the complete product of a million and one experiences, none same as the other. How we think, what we do is pre-programmed without notice, and yet, becomes ours to deal with. On occasion, breeding success, on others, depression, violence, poverty, illness. The negatives hold the positives in a choke hold. That ‘is’ just the way it is, it is who we are… for there is none righteous, right?

I mean, this logic is very easy to believe, no? It means absolutely nothing to persons who have grown up in violent homes, poor neighborhoods, and still managed to make something of themselves however. How do we explain such persons then? Are they anomalies?

Think about this shit, if we’re saying that having multiple experiences become one is complicated, how do we even begin to explain hereditary traits, or worse, being “born this way.” How do we explain murderers, psychopaths, rapists, child molesters? Do we say that their actions were borne out of experience (what about those who come out better for it?), do we say it can be traced to some distant psychotic ancestor (how did the ancestor become what he became? How does the ancestor’s experiences become so ingrained that he/she is able to pass it down his bloodline?) or do we pin it right down to being born broken. Maybe it is just that, maybe we all do have our roles to play in society; Murderer, doctor, criminal, Teacher. I mean, there has to be a bad person right? There has to be a good person. There has to be someone to look up to, there has to be someone to look down on. What is a society without these things?

Being born free is being born vile.

I mean the only promised sanctuary of “only” good men is heaven. And I have always wondered how that’ll work. I mean are we (being bold enough here to say I will be part) going to have the freewill sucked out of us at the pearly gates? Or it’s going to be soooo crème de la crème that not one of us will ever envy or curse or fall to anger ever again? Is that how it is going to happen? What do these preachers mean when they say there will be no sin in heaven? I cannot bring myself to think that the absence of hunger will ever satiate the depth of our human. We will always be sinners. We will always be vile and dirty. It is what it is. It is who we are. No heaven, no god can ever change that – without yanking it away, of course. The existence of freewill is everything that makes us human. Until that is taken away, we will be what we are. I do not think God has a right to ask us to be perfect. It logically makes no sense. We can only do our best.

Falling back to track, my unsolicited opinion and conclusion is, MAYBE. Maybe we are a culmination of our experiences, it makes sense that we become what we are exposed to. Maybe we do pick up certain character traits from our bloodline. Also makes sense …. to an appreciable extent. Maybe we really are just born broken. Where being born broken means being born susceptible, where being born susceptible means being born with freewill, where being born with freewill means sin is eminent. It will happen. It has happened. It will keep happening. Maybe all of these things are true, maybe all of these things merge somehow. MAYBE.

I think there is no denying that the one thing that stands far above everything else however, is our power to reason and think for ourselves. That bit is undeniable, to be very honest. I think it is at the heart of what we are, what we were, what we will become. Freewill is everything chaley. Freewill is sin. Sin is Human. Human is …


In the end, we really only can do our best. I think we all try, but the something just is what it is …


Until we get a dictator god who really fits the description (not one who does it subtly?), until we are programmed to act and behave in a particular way, we will be human. Complicated by our knowledge of right and wrong as concepts more than as applicable practice.






Art Credit: Jan Brueghel the Younger – The Creation of Adam in the Garden of Eden

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