What makes a human being human?

What makes a human being human?

20 August 2020 402 views

by a (Re)searcher

These and other (Re)flections are part of a series of writings by young people from around the world taking part in the (Re)Search in times of COVID-19 initiative.

"Like an archer letting go off the arrow"

What makes us human? At first I was overwhelmed with the question, then I became somewhat annoyed by it, it felt too broad, too huge, but really it was also very small and somewhat self centred. Then I realised my mistake, I was actually trying to answer a question when it really it isn't, for the question is also the answer.

What makes a human being being human is ultimately the ability to ask thy self that question, to make life about "us". It's an aspiration, it is an ongoing process that always lives in the future and never the present.

Human being, humanity, humane; it's an aspiration, not something you can define, because as we grow we shape it, change it, transform it. When we define what's around us we remove our selves from it, we analyse it as an object, detached from us. But we can't do that when we are the center of the question, for all we can see is a bi-dimensional reflection, flat and very much subjective to the point we are standing in.

We don't have enough distance from us to be able to see the whole dimension or all the dimensions and I don't even know if it is something we should seek. But I guess we all find our ways, some seek the answer secluded and away from the rest of the world, inside themselves, and others seek the answer in everyone they meet and interact with. Does humanity dwell inside or outside, or both, or neither? Is it something we can actively seek, or is it something that comes to us when we let go , when we don't look at it? Like the archer closing thy eyes in the las fraction of a second before letting go off the arrow....


There's something obvious that comes back to me when thinking of what makes a human being human - thinking.

How have I been able to completely change me life in just 4 years through an active and intense process of thinking? From a young man trapped in the "normal" way of living in concordance with societal norms to the one that now thinks of self awareness, self reflection, how to influence each other to reach a higher self and how to explore the potential of community.

It feels like magic how this is an ability having the potential of transforming the world I am living in. From my neighbours' children back in my village in Romania which I considered just some other children being around, to the moment when I realised that they will be the future of this world and I need to do my best in having a positive impact in helping them become strong individuals for a future healthy society.

From having a partner, being committed to the relationship and forbidding myself to feel for someone else in a romantic way, to learning about freedom and truthfulness to one-another. From being a conventional farmer destroying the nature, to planting trees and - recently - saving wildflower seeds to grow new ones for the biodiversity.

From selfishly thinking at improving myself and gaining skills (which I now consider necessary), to becoming aware of what I've been learning and now reaching people to maybe improve their lives as well.

Few other examples I can not recall right now, but what is clear is that all these wouldn't have been possible without the people I surrounded myself with, the ones I met on the way, with their intention to make me feel, imagine and see, with their compassion and love, sharing the best they had, the best they knew; a sense of community.

At this stage in my life, this is what I see what makes a human being, human. I do not ignore the part where people are miserable and harmful though, but let me concentrate on the bright side and discover the tools that would allow us to subtly make our lives better.

Image by one of the process' participants (Italy, 36)