[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Defining human?

Mar 07, 1998 06:44 AM
by K. Paul Johnson

Mark wrote:
> We are more animal than we think. Not that that's a bad thing, just a
> fact. A lot of what we take for granted as being "Human" isn't at all:
> it's animal or vegetal or below. Manas is the defining human attribute.
which sounds a lot like theosophical orthodoxy, but doesn't ring
true to me.  To define manas in a way that would exclude the
cognitive processes of animals is difficult to imagine.  Parrots,
for example, have been shown to understand and be able to name
colors, numbers, greater/lesser, various substances (wood, metal,
etc.).  Higher apes can use language to express feelings and
desires but also to describe objective reality.  Dolphins, whose
presence I'd never been in until recently, radiate something that
simply *knows*-- looking into their eyes is quite different from
any other animal encounter I've had.  And elephants have
recently been shown to be have religious behavior, in the form of
elaborate funeral ceremonies.  All this suggests to me that
"manas is the defining human attribute" is hubris, whatever HPB
and her Masters said.

[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application