Are Humans, the Best of Life?
What is the difference between humans and other forms of life? Excepting perhaps, animals are always behind something real, and humans, after something abstract.
Why we Aren't the Best
The most popular view, I think points to intellectual pursuits as a unique part of the human.
But I can't understand this.
Whatever is attempted by humans, unless one is careful enough to take necessary precautions and have constant monitoring, the end will never be a success. (The vast multitude of publicity material, like posters harping on good, safe practices, I think is proof enough)
What is Good with Others
Whereas, whatever other forms of life attempts, unless some calamity occurs, will invariably end in success, that too, with hardly any need for precautions or supervision. Isn't this the main difference between humans and other forms of life?
I concede, the prevailing thought is to find certain unique abilities for humans that are not there in all other forms of life. Like a distinct voice box, the tendency to be oddly clothed or oddly naked, the ability as well as the propensity to control nature, abnormally long dependency/childhood, the ability to be imaginative, destructive, or creative, as one wishes, as well as abstract thinking. I have considered many of these while exploring the distinctiveness of the male behavior in general and its manifestation among the humans. The conclusion I could reach is, many a time, these behavioral traits become quite notable and deserving special attention, only when exceeding the limits of normal exchanges, or when ‘acting as a replacement for some other traits’. And such replacement is closely connected with ‘post mating agony’, as I have described in my books. But, in addition to this, whatever may be the cause, certain other differences also exist, between humans and all other species.
Take the case of food. Firstly, unless one takes care to find out, one can never know that there is a need to examine carefully, whatever is there to eat. And only when such examination is done, we can know whether it is fit for eating. More than that, unless one eats food chosen in a particular manner, one may land up with health problems and deficiencies.
In short, humans have no natural ability even for the basic activity of feeding oneself.
If we examine further such fundamental activities of life, it can be easily seen that, here also, as in the earlier case, we have no innate knack. We need external assistance, or monitoring, or both, even for one of the most basic functions of a species, procreation. And when it comes to the ‘trade mark’ function of humans, thinking, any letup in supervisory or overseeing controls will be felt immediately as irrepairable damage, that too, to the future of the species itself.
Why are we Acting as the Best
What one can gather from the above is that, in earlier days we have been giving vent to whatever natural talents we have, in various forms, both of thoughts and actions. This would have been resulting in skirmishes, wars, pestilence and total destruction. Over a period of time, other aspects of life, like spiritual initiatives, would have come to fore. Only by invoking such ideas in our thinking, we are able to channel our thoughts in a rather less harmful direction.
My doubt is, as a species, what are we naturally good at?
Is it art? Which is closely connected with beauty, which, philosophers say is but an excuse for making something desirable, overlooking its lack of utility.
If it isn't that, what else?
I think our ancient forefathers knew the answer. Or at least, they had the inkling that humans are not the ones at the top. For, if we study closely, all old religions and cultures, one can see that all the super natural beings and other entities of worship are nothing but animals and beasts. Isn’t it possible that the early humans installed as deities whatever they found magnificent, terrific or awesome? And they venerated these deities as good examples of superior techniques, for people to learn, imitate or follow?
It is possible that this lifestyle continued for many generations. That is how I think, we humans happen to have the full animal kingdom residing within our species. Whether it is one’s natural proclivity, choice of skills, dietary preferences, as well as, one’s qualities and abilities, there is no member of the animal kingdom, which cannot find a representative, hiding within the human race.
I think we need to change our ideas about humans, animals, or both.
..And This Also
We know how to treat rational people. Take for example a rational criminal, that is, a thief, a pickpocket, or someone like that who does engage in crimes, for certain reckon-able benefit. We always look carefully at a crime, examine the evidence, and mete out to the guilty, the most appropriate punishment.
But, think of an irrational criminal. Depending on the criminal's (irrational) excuse, whatever reaction the society may show, will vary. Mostly that will be some sort of approval, but sometimes may even amount to half-hearted opposition, if the said act is unmistakably dangerous to others. In case the excuse borders on things like religion, one can be sure of support, whatever may be the heinous acts one wishes to do, from some part of the society.
We just don't register any act as a crime, as long as it is irrational in nature.
Why don't we consider irrational crimes as crimes? Simple, anything irrational, benefits us a lot more!
But why have we left it so? And why we are yet not in realization of this. Also of other beings, who indulge in unregulated fights for rational reasons like food or mate, but move in unison for all other things. Aren't other beings quite clear about what they are doing?
How do we feel?
Animal kingdom needs a relook
Let me think of the answers from other forms of life, if asked, what they think about humans. “It is impossible to comprehend them.
Everything that is easy with us, like food, or shelter, is done in the most complex manner involving many a stage. Where, the intricacy continues to increase exponentially with each such step.
Everything that is difficult with us, like the complexity associated with mating, is notable by its absence.”
Perhaps one compensates for the other.