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I, human

6/20/2014

I stand perplexed by the notion of humanity. What does it truly mean to be human? Our nature often seems so fundamentally contradictory. It seems we continually try to justify our actions, find purposes and redefine our own views and philosophies in an effort to hide parts of our psyche from one another. We so desperately need not to be whole or not to exist as a single entity with a constant and consistent character, desires and wishes.

Perhaps this is due to a physical boundary. However, often times it seems to be psychological as well. Why is it that our thoughts, desires, goals and wishes are often so contradictory amongst themselves? With just a fraction of meta-thought one should observe an innate tendency to form simultaneous and yet utterly opposing urges, desires and thoughts.

I witness people, myself included, use terms “logic” and “logical” to describe or justify certain aspects of our behavior. The pinnacle of this illusive practice is the use of apparent “purely logical” attitude, mainly with those who claim the exercise of being neutral and non-biased. Human logic is inherently biased. It is not possible to be “purely logical”. Ironically enough, a large part of our society and idealism is based on this notion of neutrality. Our social structures, education and culture are based on an invented form of logic. A true form of logic, if one is even distinguishable from a human perspective, is in mathematics which is rarely employed as a problem solving tool in social situations.

An obvious issue I face when I try to apply the “pure logic” approach to life is in the depth of approximation of real logic I can reach. As a human being, I am inevitably biased towards being non logical. However, through logic I try to explain what it is to be human. A result I often come to seems to revolve around a decision a person reaching a perfectly logical state of mind would make. To establish what this decision might be I thought of what it is that pure logic would not operate with and that in our “deduction” clouds our judgment. True logic must not have any notions derived by social and, fundamentally, human means. Therefore, there must exist no concept of purpose, goal, reason or motive. Such logic would be entirely mathematical. A being that has reached such a state of mind, if a “mind” can exist in such a state, would probably decide that their existence is a result of a set of natural conditions that must unravel in a predefined way. Since a concept of choice would also be nonexistent in application of real logic, a purely logical being would probably decide to allow events to unfold without any intervention, realizing that no intervention is even possible. All of this is, evidently, based on an assumption that the universe is fundamentally deterministic, regardless of the fact that we may not be able to fully observe the laws behind this determinism (I will not delve into quantum mechanics here any further).

This, of course, generates another set of problems, one of which is the question of existence of a consciousness in a purely logical being. Something that operates on purely Boolean basis utilizing only deductive reasoning cannot be conscious. Assuming that everything in nature happens according to a set of predefined laws, then nature itself is purely logical. This further implies inexistence of any consciousness. Furthermore, this implies that if, as human beings, we perceive the existence of a consciousness, our notions of choice are merely an illusion. We do not have choice over our behavior.

This is where the point is made. If a part of this consciousness reaches a state where it operates based on pure logic, the most likely “decision” this purely logical entity would make would be to allow the natural events to unravel within the rest of the organism while passively observing them, since no choice, at least conscious one, can be made to alter any of this activity.

From a more human perspective, if one reaches such a logical state, the most logical next step would be either to leave that state and return to non-logical or to remain in it as a passive observer of oneself. Luckily, such a state is probably unreachable by a human being and even if we could see a glimpse of it, we would probably decide to drop back to humanity.

Our nature is what it is. Contradictory perhaps, when viewed through flawed and biased logic. Nevertheless, it has allowed us to survive for millennia. We are what we are because it was optimal for our survival. This is what we have evolved into. Our continual redefinition of culture, norms and ideals is merely a part of what we do in our attempts to redefine our nature. Perhaps striving to establish a norm of humanity is what it means to be human, and perhaps this is in itself a form of evolution.

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