Human beings are not only unique but different from other forms of life. The evolutionary process that has shaped life has immensely transformed how people relate with the world around them. It is the ways in which people relate with the world that makes them inimitable from other living things. Notably, the increased technological sophistication, globalization, socio-economic convergence, political relations and other features makes human to be different from other forms of life.
What really makes human beings different from other forms of life? Studies have shown that, even though humans have a lot in common with other animal species, the biological, genetic, mental and sociological status of humans makes a significant difference. Unlike other animal species, humans have been able to advance in religion, literature, art, technology and are in a position to make more complex decisions. The following section seeks to respond to the question on what makes humans human by analyzing a number of themes. These themes include why there is a human family in the global context, technological developments and the human condition.
While there are billions of living organisms on earth, none has strategically developed a family or a form of “citizenship” as human beings. While all animals have a sense of belonging, the case of humans presents a unique picture of a family. Studies have shown that, the creation of one human family has not only been fostered by the search for common values in life, but also by the need to make man different from other animals (Rushworth,pp.3-4).
Unlike other living things, I believe humans have the ability to move to a new dimensional concept of citizenship. The self consciousness and intelligence possessed by humans is enough to utilize human diversity as a primary tool for creation of one human family that spread across the planet. This is something that is unachievable in the kingdom of other living organisms. I believe the reason is very simple: humans have access to information that can help them to conceive of morality, change situations and circumstances and reach an agreement on certain matters (Rushworth, pp.9-13). Therefore, human beings can actually unite and form an innovative dimensional concept of citizenship where every individual is part of the whole system. Even though it’s a utopian concept, the case of United Nations, European Union and other international organizations elucidates the possibility of a new consciousness that can transform how people relate to one another (Boulding, p.59).
Secondly, the occurrence of conflicts defines human relations across different societies. Historically, conflicts have been witnessed at the local, state and international levels. In many cases, ethnic conflicts have grown to be the source of greater economic, political, social and cultural disruptions to people across the societies. However, unlike other animals, human beings have devised different ways to reduce, manage and solve conflicts at all levels. The ability of humans to think and plan in time has made it possible for them to consciously handle situations that are otherwise problematic. I believe that, peace is a function of the intelligence and self-consciousness of humans. In other words, the world can never have peace if humans do not learn to make it a safe and secure place. It is true that, humans through technological advancements have contributed to the emergence of new threats such as biological warfare, terrorism, Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), global warming among others. There is no doubt that, these threats are real. The evolution of humans from primitive and fractious tribalism to the highly evolved modern individual signifies the power of change possessed by humans (Boulding, p.61).
Therefore, while humans are a risk to humanity itself, there are ways in which they can actually save the world from such threats. As mentioned earlier, the formation of a new type of citizenship where there is one human family can help to bridge the social, economic, political, cultural and technological gaps that have contributed to inequality, unequal distribution of resources and isolation. I believe human security, improved social welfare, peace, social, political and economic developments depends on the ability of humans to focus on the 99 percent similarity and use the 1 percent difference to make the world a better place for all living things. The society should move to a level were acts of violence such as war, genocides, murders and even any form of discrimination are strictly treated as wrong and one that deserve collective efforts by all humans to collectively find peaceful, amicable and working solutions (Boulding, p.63).
Another reasons why humans are humans is based on technological developments and sophistications. Few decades ago, technological machines such as computers were unimaginable. Generational changes from baby boomers to the millennials have witnessed greater technological changes that have seen transformations in the social, economic, political, and cultural spheres of people. It is apparent that, technological machines such as computers have contributed to the imminent changes in the lives of young people and the old alike. On one hand, technology has been employed to make life better for human beings. This is based on how technologies are used to increase efficiency, reliability, effectiveness in the production and distribution process thus making life much easier for people. On the other hand, technology is perceived to have outshined humans (Kotkin, para.6.). I don’t know whether this is true, it is subject to debate. It is said that, in the advent of technological advancements such as the internet, people are losing control of themselves and act in ways that appear to be incomprehensible. This means that, unlike the baby boomers who worked hard to make it in life, the millennials as the “screwed generation” keep hiding behind a computer screen. The Turing test is among some of the notable experiments carried out to measure the ability of computers to outshine human intelligence (Christian, para. 8)
Therefore, while humans still remain unique, powerful because their highly level of self-consciousness and intelligence, technological changes present a challenge on how humans will respond to issues in the future. For instance, although people have the ability to make computers, such machines have revolutionalised how people perform certain activities. In this case, the changes brought about by technology may intrinsically challenge the human mind (Christian, para.4).
The human condition is another theme that explains why humans are human. The psychological, biological and highly social nature of humans within the social context of our lives makes us unique. Humans feel the pinch of war, hunger, among other excruciating situations. They also have the ability to experience emotions such as peace, joy and conversely despair, pain and depression. I tend to imagine that, while the unique human condition has been shaped by biological and genetic compositions of our species, culture takes center stage in defining these relationships (Warner, para, 3). My culture defines who I am, so do yours. Culture is what makes Africans, Caucasians, Arabs, French, Chinese or even Americans to be unique in their own ways. Therefore, the ways in which people use culture in their lives determines how they relate to other humans and the environment at large. Culture influences our adaptability, our relationships, our thinking and our development.
Boulding, Elise. Cultures of peace: the hidden side of history. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse Univ.
Christian, Brian. Mind vs. Machine. Retrieved on 4th October 2012 from
Kotkin, Joel.Are Millennials the Screwed Generation? Retrieved on 4th October 2012 from
Rushworth, Gary. What makes a human a human? Pelham, NY: Benchmark Education, 2011.
Warner, Judith. The Why-Worry Generation. Retrieved on 4th October 2012 from