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We're Only Human

Some questions demand answers. Others, well, they prefer to lurk in the background and haunt the world for a while. They’re always there, concealed by the cover of more pressing matters, but they’re there nonetheless. Humanity also has a knack of walking on eggshells around these questions, because for some odd reason, there’s this preconceived notion that there’s no ethical answer to them. As it seems, one of the most infamous and frightening of these questions is the age-old inquiry as to what defines a human being. Somebody’s going to have to lay the explanation out on paper at some point or another, so why not here and now?

Some idiot out there’s probably screaming out that a human being is merely an organism belonging to the Homo sapien species, a creature that walks on two legs, has opposable thumbs, and has basically taken over the world alongside the rest of his or her species. Unfortunately, that definition is the superficial one, and it barely even scratches the surface. The real question at hand is, simply put, what does it mean to be human in all the ways that really matter?

The first attribute all humans possess is the capability of emotions. Yes, animals and the like have emotions too, but not to the full range that only humans possess. This range extends from happiness to sorrow to rage, also including guest appearances from love, hatred, envy, pride, anxiety, inadequacy, terror, annoyance... And the list goes on and on. The most basic emotions are happy, sad, and mad, in which all others more or less stem from, and without these emotions, their would be no such thing as humanity. Humanity in and of itself is basically just the expression of emotions, which allow us to bring change to our world. Without hatred, there is no love, and without love, mankind would not be able to bring about its one redeeming quality in this cruel, cold-hearted world, and that is to make our dreams and visions for tomorrow come true.

That brings me to my next point. Humans are not humans unless they desire. Not to dream - to not wish for anything - is something only a god could do. It is merely human nature to constantly yearn for something, and whether or not that something is actually attainable is trivial at best. Some people fantasize of a world where evil is simply a myth, and all is at peace. That is a wish. Others have tantalizing daydreams of a life filled with the love and adoration of all who inhabit the land. Others still hold their paracosms of domination and supreme power very near and dear. No matter what the dream is, humans all over the world have some sort of wish they would give anything and everything to make a reality. I’m not even sure that wishless people exist; if they did, they’d most likely be mindless, thoughtless fools without any sole purpose to fulfill in this world.

Now, there are many more attributes that distinguish the humans from the non-humans, but the very last one to be listed here is by far the most important of them all. As restated by many people in many different ways, nothing in this world is completely black and white. The balance between good and evil is much the same, even down to how it is expressed in each and every individual. Keeping this in mind, it is possible for the balance to be so overthrown in one person that, at mere glance, it may seem like the scale is tipped all the way to one side, when in reality it is not. Unfortunately for these unlucky souls, a human’s good-to-evil ratio is a fine line, and just one step to the side can transform a mortal into a monster or a god.

True humans have a perfect balance where good reigns over evil, with sporadic moments when the darkness overshadows the light and evil intentions rise to the surface. A true human tries to suppress these urges - and fails more times than they succeed - and makes up for every slip up by restoring their balance. There are some people, though, who are born with the ability to override their natural balance, and walk over the precarious bridge into the purgatory that isn’t quite human. Serial killers, for example, do not have the right to be called humans anymore. They have journeyed deep into the depths of sin and darkness, their souls withering away into the twisted hearts of the monsters within. Yes, they have other humanistic qualities, such as desires and emotions, but they are far too twisted and unbalanced inside that they are practically a new species entirely. They are the polar opposites to those on the other side of the spectrum who have given up evil intention to live a life without any malice or malevolence at all whatsoever; therefore, they’re achieving the closest thing humans will ever know as a god. It does not go without saying, though, that these people, too, have some “badness” residing within, a remnant of the fact that they, too, were born into this world as a flawed human being, just like everyone else. The only difference is that they escaped the lies that all humans tell, the blame that all humans place on each other, and the knowledge all humans subconsciously possess that they are intermediate creatures between angels and demons.

Frankly, it all boils down to the fact that being human is not a physical thing; otherwise any ‘ole monster in our imaginations with the appearance of a person could group himself with our unique species. No, being human is something that runs deep to the core of our very existence, a force field that shelters us from the monsters that plague this universe, and separates us from the transcendental beings whom we worship unceasingly.



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