What does it mean to be human?

"At a time when the need to celebrate both our shared humanity and our meaningful differences is all the more painfully evident, the question of what makes us human becomes not one of philosophy alone but also of politics, justice, identity, and every fiber of existence that lies between." –Maria Popova 


The question of what it means to be human has been examined for centuries, by many people from many cultures, through the lens of philosophy, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, religion, and the arts, but the question has never been definitively resolved.


Discussion prompts

1. What do you think it means to be human? 

2. Civil rights activist Desmond Tutu stated: "My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be 

human together."  How do you interpret Tutu's statement? Do you agree? Why or why not?


3. Generate a list of concerns shared by human beings across time and cultures.


4. Generate a list of ways human beings record their unique perspectives of the world (e.g. by creating images on cave 

walls).


5. What activities do you engage in that bring you into contact with different aspects of your world? Which ones connect you 

to people from different cultural backgrounds and different belief systems?


6. How do you express your life experiences (e.g through cave painting)? 



Mpho Tutu: ubuntu 



Getrude Matshe TedTalk about ubuntu

Heads-up: This is a very informative and stimulating TedTalk, but may contain emotional triggers for some viewers.



Below: drawing from Chauvet Cave

















 

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