Human Condition

“The human condition is defined as the positive or negative aspects of being human, such as birth, growth, reproduction, love and death.”

Throughout the span of the human life, there are experiences that are shared across borders, cultures, and languages.  These have happened to every human born and will continue to be for all of mankind. At the very base, these things are as listed by Carnevale: birth, growth, reproduction, love and death.  However, these are not the only things that span across borders; there are more nuanced trends that we see shared as well, such as a desire for relationships and social interaction, an appreciation for aesthetics, sports and games, and feelings of morality, to name a few.  What makes the human condition interesting as a topic of study is how these things are interpreted and viewed cross-culturally. No two cultures share the exact same views on any of these topics.

These differences and beliefs can also be studied through local practices, religions, and myths.  Joseph Campbell explores the commonality found throughout myths and legends all over the world. He is a very interesting author whose works helped lead to my better understanding of the human condition.  His book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, talks about the path that can be applied to most any hero or heroine’s tale. It’s an effective way of comparing stories from different cultures.

I agree with Carnevale on a very basic level but I think it’s a little more complicated than her initial analysis leads to believe.  Fish and birds grow and reproduce and die, so what separates them from us? At its very core, I believe the human condition is about our ability as humans to self-evaluate and reassess ourselves as individuals, along with our ability to think creatively.  We can use these tools together to create and expand on what’s come before, whether that be in the sciences or the arts. This incredible and heavy responsibility has fallen on our shoulders and we’ll need to tread carefully to imagine new ways to be more conscious.

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