We are a unique species…..
Are we the centre of God’s creation? In all our thinking and discussions about life and the universe, we seem to assume so. We have convinced ourselves that the array of living beings in the universe makes up a neat hierarchy. At the pinnacle of that hierarchy is the human being.
At the lowest rungs of creation are minerals. Then come the mosses, fungi and plants. Plants have only a sense of touch. Singlecelled and multi-celled microbial organisms feature the next stage of development. At the next higher perch are the reptiles, mammals, birds and animals. Finally, at the apex is the most evolved form of living being, the human, the most advanced and the most developed among all living creatures, the supreme glory of all creation.
Greek philosopher Aristotle proposed the interesting idea of a vital principle that guides the development, functioning or evolution of an organism or a hierarchy of beings. It was this vital principle that resulted in life-finding expression first as unicellular and multicellular organisms, then as plants, thereafter as birds and animals, and ultimately as humans, as sapient and sentient beings.
According to Aristotelian theory, humans are the most evolved form of thinking and feeling beings so far. What is more, we alone have the potential to grow and evolve into the spiritual dimension.
But what precisely, if anything, sets us apart from other living creatures? Is it the faculty of reasoning, the fact that we are rational? But reasoning does not and cannot teach us anything new. Socrates was a man, a mortal being. Therefore Socrates is mortal. You can see here that there is no new truth that the third and concluding statement expresses that is not clearly implied in the first two sentences.
The conclusion of any piece of syllogistic reasoning does not enable us to learn anything new other than what is already contained in its premise. You have the same limitation with inductive logic where you arrive at general truths from particular examples. [Yes! very true.]
The mind grasps reality by establishing relationships between entities that it perceives newly and the perceptions that it carries from the past.[Yes! very true.] Psychologists and neurologists explain that the human brain is large because a major part of the cerebrum is concerned with associating different perceptions and memories.
Newton formulated his celebrated laws of motion and gravitation by intuitively hypothesising a link between the fall of the apple on his head and the motion of the earth around the sun. But by the same token, the human mind is basically anchored in the past. Therefore, it pulls you back from letting yourself go completely with the flow of living reality here and now.
The distinguishing feature of humans lies in our capacity for self-awareness. Other living creatures may have the ability to perform a greater variety of tasks, or may have developed superior sensibilities in certain areas. But we alone have the capacity to look at ourselves and be aware of ourselves.
We can attain knowledge. But what is unique about us is that we can also get to know how we could attain that knowledge. A human being is like a computer that can see how it has been programmed and thereby transcend the programming itself.
Source – Indiatimes