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Posted by Phil.o.sofir on September 25, 1999 00:10:13 UTC

: : *** I would like to hear differing perspectives on the subject of what we are. It is my opinion that we are animals, and that we have developed a very complex mechanism which allows us to multiply our chances of survival. : : I have found those who belive in a supreame being who also believe that we are still a form of animal, and I have found those who reject the concept of a supreame being but maintain that we are something that could not have developed from any other animal forms. Of course then there is the general we are created as we are by a supreame being, and also the evolutionary theory that explains that we came directly from the first forms of life which branched over and over again, thus making us related to all forms of life on the planet from very recent branches like the primates to the most extreame distant reletives such as single cell life. : : I tend to agree with Darwins theory of evolution because it has the most physical evidence supporting it, and seems to be the most probable. : :

: bzrd, you could say that we start out as animals. As an infant is just that an animal. What distinguishes us from animals in later development is the use of the symbol. As Leslie White once said, "The symbol is the universe of humanity..." The use of symbols converts us from animals to humans. Language is the most important symbol humans have created, i say created because, of course, we designed it to aid our existance. By attributing sounds and words to different meanings and ideas we separate ourselves from the animal. If we remove our language we destroy the human social culture. Look at Helen Keller, for example, she was at first unable to grasp any concepts, that if you spell the word w-a-t-e-r in her hand it symbolized the good feeling wet stuff that you drink, and shower with. But it is that which separates us from animals that allowed her to realize that those hand signals stood (symbolized) what we call water. The ability to make symbols is the most powerfull one we have. Let x = 5 and it does. Let red mean stop and green mean go, and it does. Animals are incapable of creating and using symbols and thus they are separated from the human race.

***You do have a point, in that our extreamely detailed language and symbolism allows us to have much more control than other animals. But this is a matter of degree, not total difference which 'sets us apart" for virtually every animal has language and symbolism, it just is not as developed as our own. Virtually every other aspect of ourselves is like that of animals. It is nice to think that we are somehow superior to all other forms of life, yet we do things in such extreames that we become less a partner with our creator (the elements, earth, sun...) and more a threat to our host, random violence, warfare, pollution, these are natural products of life and contribute back to the entire cycle of life, but we over do it, partly because of our belief that we are justified and/or created for domination and total control over all the earth and its life. An analogy using biblical acconts could be that God/the creator (earth/sun...) created the heavenly host/angels (life and man), all was peaceful/natural (life cycle) until some of the created rebeled (man tried to become/create God) and was barished from heaven (a natural earth) to live in eternal suffering/hell (polluted/unjust world) where God (earth/nature) looks away from the outcast demons (life out of control/man) to allow them to destroy themselves, with nuclear, biological, and pollution (excessive wastes), knowing that even if this selfish creature of its creation destroys itself and every thing else, in time, life will begin anew, and will be different. Here is a neat quote:

"The atomic catalysm has occured. All life is extinguished save one leaden silt where, long inured to radiation, persists a small colony of algae. They percieve that life exists in them alone and that two billion years must proceed for them to return to yesterday. They come to a single, unanimous conclusion: Next time, no brains!" -I.L. McHarg.

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