What is Man?
“There are depths in Man that go down to the lowest hell, and heights that reach the highest heaven.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
I’ve come across various takes on the question of “What is Man?” These include:
More specifically, Homo Sapiens sapiens. Homo meaning man, and Sapiens meaning wise. I find a certain irony in this name.
Man as a species of rational and narrowly self-interested actors who have the ability to make judgments toward their subjectively defined ends. A.k.a. Homo Averiticus. I don’t buy this one at all.
Man as a species shaped by biological processes such as natural and sexual selection.
Man as a species of story-tellers (and listeners). A collection of “individuals that develop a group consciousness around a problematic situation and act to solve the problematic situation”.
Yes, we tell and listen to stories. But as a defining characteristic? Hmmm.
Man as a species that is taking control of its own evolution. See this article and related TED talk.
When Heraclitus looked at Nature he saw not stability or permanence, but incessant flux and transformation. This is a perspective in which I find much comfort. Man as a species forever part of Nature, of the Cosmos or wider universe, forever becoming something. Not a human being, but a human becoming.
I also like the implication that everyone is capable of becoming more than they are. A species of Infinite potential. A species with a growth mindset (cf. Dweck).
Would you be willing to consider how you see Man as a species? And how that colours your world, your relationships and your life?