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Nature of Humans, Consciousness, and Mind. Maybe the 3 biggest enigmas of our time. Certainly stumping science, philosophy and religion. Here’s what they are.
The nature of humans, consciousness, and mind, together, represent the major singularity of humankind. Human nature defines humankind and consciousness as well as mind are the overriding elements of humans. Of these two, the human mind represents the scientific focal point, particularly in the mind-body dilemma.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 1.1)
Let’s start identifying the meaning of some basic concepts.
Sam’s Comment. This blog post is a rewrite of the introductory first chapter of the book Audit of Humankind. I’m almost completed editing this book and realized the explanation of these three elements: the nature of humans, consciousness, and mind was not clear. Since writing the original book some years ago, and after writing Origin of Humankind which delves into the Bible, I feel my understanding is enhanced. When I reread the original post, it needed some serious work. Here’s the result. The nature of humans is a vital point to master, so let’s get it right. You can see the remaining chapters of this Audit of Humankind via this link.
Nature of Humans – Human Nature
The nature of humans has two parts. First, human, denotes a man or woman of the homo sapiens race. In 2021, visiting a zoo, anywhere in the world, we visitors can easily distinguish humans from animals. I’m referring to contemporary human beings because as soon as we get into any other homo genus we’re into the prehistoric and there, things get blurry. We will clarify this controversial issue later in Origin of Humankind. Human in the nature of humans refers to the essence of humankind.
Second, nature, in the nature of humans, pinpoints our fundamental characteristics—beyond standing upright, possessing a large brain and communicating via language it includes our ways of thinking and feeling; that humans possess naturally. When you see a horse, dog or cat, you recognize it instantly because of its nature, its natural defining features. When we talk about a woman with feline characteristics, it refers to her grace of movement. We’re applying a natural trait of a cat to a human.
King Richard earned the nickname LionHeart because his major accomplishment of being a great military leader characterized him. Frank Sinatra was the Crooner from his singing style. You have Ivan the Terrible and William the Conqueror named for what they did innately. They had those skills, inclinations both naturally and with added development. It is the nature of humans to be intellectual and emotional. Nature in the nature of humans refers to the characteristic accomplishments of humans.
At a given point in time, I might decide to add the following comment to The Explanation Youtube channel.
Because of the nature of social media, and reactions to this type of controversial subject matter, comments are closed on this Youtube channel. Your comments are welcome and you may contact The Explanation using the contact page at the website.
Referring to the nature of social media immediately calls to your mind an image of what it is. You can associate with this announcement and have no doubt about the nature of that media. Just how devastating wrongly oriented comments can be. It’s a well-known characteristic. The idea is not to eliminate contact, but to have a say in what appears where.
Like the nature of social media, the term nature of humans refers to the defining characteristics of humans. Now let’s break it down and see specifically what those traits are.
Consciousness – Qualities that humans exhibit
The Cambridge Dictionary defines consciousness as “the state of understanding and realizing something.” The Oxford Living Dictionary defines consciousness as “The state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings.” “A person’s awareness or perception of something.” And “The fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.”
The key concept to the second element is awareness. At this beginning point in our explanation retain the last definition above, a person’s awareness of themselves and the world. Put in other terms, a human becomes aware of their own humanness and their immediate world.
With awareness of humanness, we are going to show the parallel between the human in nature of humans and this consciousness of being human. The first step to being human is this consciousness of the existence of self in a world with others and the objects around us and beyond in the world.
Every human ever born has this quality of awareness which grows as a human being ages and matures. In Inventory of the Universe, I compared animal and human intelligence. Animals do have a limited awareness, but human awareness of themselves, and especially the world around far outstrips anything to do with the animal kingdom. This is due to the presence of consciousness in humans.
In this blog post, we are turning over the pieces of the puzzle. What it is to be human. The key piece is the nature of humans. The contours of that piece include consciousness and next, mind. In the book Origin of Humankind The Explanation shows exactly what this piece is, where it comes from, where it resides and why humans alone possess it.
The mind is third of our trio of key characteristics of humankind. Once we realize awareness characterizes humans, we see that there’s an immediate consequence. Being aware of ourselves activates being aware of our human capabilities. Being alive and awake tells us about ourselves.
Here’s a short-list of traits humans become aware of: cognitive aspects such as imagination, perception, thinking, intelligence, judgement, language and memory, as well as noncognitive aspects such as emotion and instinct. Humans realize they can activate each of these faculties and many others to impact their own selves and the world around them.
The activation of these human qualities on oneself, others and the material world around us is only possible because humans possess a mind. Awareness of itself is only possible because humans possess a mind, giving this third entity the prime spot of describing the nature of what it is to be human.
In the term nature of humans, the mind animates humans and thus describes their very nature. The mind is the nature in nature of humans.
The goal of this chapter is to give a concise overview. Nature of humans is to have consciousness, the possession of awareness of self and the world. But it is much more. Mind gives each human the capacity to act on their awareness and impact themselves, others and the world around them. This is what makes humans human and is unique to humans.
These three elements are intricately nested.
For definition and descriptive purposes we discussed each one of the trio individually, but they are an inseparable threesome. The composition of the nature of humans is consciousness and mind. Consciousness characterizes humans and is not possible without mind. Mind is the motor of consciousness and together they give rise to the nature of humans.
In this chapter, we’ll deepen these characteristics and witness how they identify humankind as a unique species. They set the tone for the rest of the book. We will not resort to science, philosophy, or religion to answer the question what is the nature of humans? There are too many contradictory theories and the intention of The Explanation is not to be the arbitrator. Our role is to turn over the pieces of the puzzle, set them right-side-up, show the contours and how they assemble together. We don’t start with the conjecture of other sources; we begin by establishing the pieces of the puzzle.
This book, Audit of Humankind, will whet your appetite with the down-to-earth reality of what it is to be human. There is enough evidence to define humanity. Since you’ve read these lines, you’re human, and I’m sure you know it. With all your foibles, weaknesses, strengths, health, and even mental issues, you’re still human. We’ll see many identifying signs.
The goal of The Explanation is to present a coherently assembled puzzle of what it is to be human. In Inventory of the Universe, we started by laying out, and turning right side up, the pieces, the components of the Universe. In Audit of the Universe, we saw the human impact on those pieces, including our physical bodies and cognitive minds. In this book, we’re turning over the key pieces of the puzzle concerning humankind. Exactly what it is to be human and our accomplishments as evidence of our humanity.
The mind plays the central role in all our thinking and activities. This is what we’re going to discuss. In the book Origin of Humankind, The Explanation explains why humans alone possess these attributes. What the role of the mind is and its origin. Subsequently, The Explanation reveals where to find the proper rules permitting us to manage our minds conveniently. Human nature, consciousness and mind are the three key pieces in our puzzle. We cannot assemble the final picture puzzle unless we determine the proper contours of these vital subjects.
Lumps of Clay
To help us grasp the role of our trio of stars, we’re going to use an analogy, a lump of clay. Yes, at first sight, there’s no comparison, but bear with me.
Did you know no two lumps of clay, even from the same batch, are identical? The composition of clay is minerals, water, and the remains of all species of plants and animals. The two main minerals are aluminum and silicon but can include iron, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium. Together with the plant and animal residues, all of them in various degrees, they present lumps looking similar but with slight differences.
Other properties are color; whites, grays, browns, and reds. Texture from smooth to rough, and porosity, the varying capacity to absorb water. No two lumps of clay are identical.
Once you’ve formed your clay into a vessel, you fire it anywhere between 650 to 1100 degrees Celsius (1200 to 2000° F). We use clay to manufacture cheap flower pots to luxury porcelain, simple bricks to magnificent finely sculptured statues. The sheer variety of raw clays is immense, and the products manufactured are multitudinous.
Plasticity is the key property of clay. The ability to mold it into a million shapes depends on the rigidity of the minerals and the amount of water present. It’s the malleability of clay that makes it such a widespread and precious commodity.
What has this got to do with the nature of humans, consciousness and mind? After all, I hope we’d all agree; clay is a non-living substance.
Clay and Humans
1. Like clay, the human body is composed of minerals. We discussed their make-up in Inventory of the Universe, Section 8, Bodies Alive. Suffice to say, no two human bodies are identical.
- All clay, no matter the varieties, is clay.
- All human bodies, no matter the varieties, are human bodies.
2. Obviously only humans can work with clay to create a myriad of items. But to do so, they must be aware of the qualities of the clay they choose, depending on the article they want to fabricate.
Please allow me to imagine and ramble a bit here. Suppose, just suppose, the water in the clay was alive. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but we’re imagining. The first thing the water would be aware of is its surrounding. Then the properties of softness, rigidity, colors, even the mineral composition of clay. Keep imagining, if the water could see it would visualize other pieces of clay in various stages of molding and even some pottery, plates and statues.
- Here’s the point, if the water were alive it would possess the quality of awareness regarding its surroundings.
- We talk about awareness for human beings who are alive. This is consciousness.
1. Together, all the organic and non-organic elements of clay and the awareness of the water (imagine) permit the clay to realize “I’m a lump of clay with certain properties and qualities.”
2. Similarly with humans. Their awareness, because they’re alive, allows them to see themselves, their body and limbs, then their properties by experiencing interaction with objects (wood blocks, paper books…), their own bodies (thumb in the mouth, hand on face…) and the bodies of others (cuddling, bathed by parent’s hands…).
This awareness is human consciousness in action. Consciousness that grows and becomes more aware of itself, society, the world and the interrelationships.
Water and Mind
Imagine again that living water in the clay. It’s now aware of itself, “I’m clay,” it’s conscious of its viscosity, its composition, it’s seen the potential via other processed clay or finished vases and figurines. Now, the water is thinking, “I don’t want to be just a lump of clay, I want to make something of myself.”
This starts a thinking process involving its particular qualities, potential future possibilities. This is what I can become; “a pitcher fit for a queen, maybe for her favorite wine, then I could adorn her table every day. What a future that would be.”
The water would then have to acquire all the know-how and apprenticeship expertise to mold itself, the lump of clay into that exquisite chef d’oeuvre to receive the Queen’s approval.
Similar with humans. Once they’re aware of their surroundings and their own potential, they have to decide how they are going to fit their talents and skills to the society in which they will thrive.
With humans it is the mind, counterpart of the water, performing the analysis, the choices, the planning, the guiding of the members of the body, mouth, hands to accomplish the goals it sets.
The mind reasons about the nature of the physical body and mental cognitive capacities. It devises a life, professional, social, recreational plan to capitalize on the strengths and make something out of life.
It’s his or her nature to help, to play football, be an adventurer, etc., and we can think of all sorts of people who help others, play sports professionally, or are pioneers in their fields.
This is the pathway of being aware (consciousness) which only humans can do and reasoning, setting personal goals, based on one’s nature which only a mind can do.
The nature of humans is awareness (human) coupled with mind (nature).
Consciousness, awareness changes over time, often beyond our control. A baby, toddler, teenager, adult and senior have various levels of awareness. Health (schizophrenia, drugs, mood shifts), accidents, and life experiences cause humans to have mild, harsh, even fluctuating shifts of awareness.
Reasoning is also subject to all the vicissitudes of life. Stress, natural disasters, loss of a companion can upset one’s thinking ability, one’s mind.
The notion of plasticity covers all the minute-by-minute, day-by-day, year-by-year fluctuations and adjustments of awareness and reasoning, consciousness and mind, the nature of humans each of us possesses. It’s this ever-changing plasticity that makes us unique individuals. Also, unpredictable, mysterious and fascinating individuals of uncertainty and potentiality.
This book, Audit of Humankind, covers the life-drama that each human being, regardless of race, language, nationality, or gender plays out. This is the story of what it is to be human.
The nature of humans and book summary
The clay water analogy is not haphazard. When The Explanation reveals where the nature of humans originates and why each human possesses it, this picture will be more evident. For now, we want to remain objective with explanations that are clear and straight-forward. Unfortunately, few people point us in the right direction regarding explaining the nature of humans.
Let’s see how the subject matter of this book relates to the nature of humans.
First consciousness. Awareness is only one factor of being human. It is the primary key because it opens up recognition of the rest of the components of the whole human. This first Section of the book is the Singularities of Humankind. Each singularity pertains to a quality that only humans enjoy.
- Space time managers of their environment
- Creators of services and products
- Imaginators of all types of stories
- Learners and Acquirers of knowledge
- Choosers and deciders of their future
- Growers of their abilities and skills
- Rulers of life and accomplishers of projects
These are unique qualities characterizing each and every man and woman who walks the face of this Earth. We all know, to one extent or another, we possess these traits. It’s the awareness of our consciousness that permits this comprehension. When we begin to understand our physical and cognitive capacities, then we are AWARE. It’s a good exercise to write down your attributes, even discuss it with those close to you. Being aware of your particular strengths helps you prepare for your life pathway. You are human.
Second, mind. Once you’re aware of your strengths, its time to act on them. Your mind must proceed to planning and accomplishing mode.
Sections two through five explain more singularities humans should be aware of. But especially, their actions, what we are to accomplish with those characteristics that make us human. The achievements of putting into action our qualities are only because, as a human, you possess mind. You will be known by what you accomplish. As a human, this will be your nature. The nature of humans, or human nature.
- The keys to How Humans Function.
- The common denominator of How Humans Socialize.
- Humankind’s incredible accomplishments. How Humans Rule.
- The primary mental capacity of humanity. How Humans Reason.
Those four areas sum up the lifetime of every human being. Each person will be different in each of these fields. We’ll be human and have our nature. The nature of humans.
We can and must see these pieces of the puzzle to understand the story of humankind that is playing out here on Earth. Hopefully, when it is presented in this light, it will be easier for you to grasp what the nature of humans is and especially what your human nature is.
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