Separating Human From Animals



How do human beings differ from animals? Naturally they differ in physical structure or form, but the fundamental difference lies in how they live. Animals live in the present, following fundamental instincts or drives. Irrespective of how excellent a sheep dog may be at herding sheep, even such a skilled animal would never visit the bank to secure a loan to build a new dog house.

The lion of the African plain kills and devours its prey, eating until its stomach is full. Once the lion’s hunger has been satisfied, however, it abandons the kill where it lay, making no attempt to salvage any of the meat for later use, regardless of how much may remain. And this isn’t due to lack of refrigeration or storage facilities for their kind. Lions would naturally make no provisions at all to store food for the future even if they possessed the means to do so. Animals, then, are spiritually equipped to live only for today. They never exert themselves to achieve hopes, dreams or goals for the future.

Human beings, on the other hand, do not live merely for the present. They possess ideals, hopes and objectives and make efforts towards the future realization of these ends. It is human to always strive to improve one’s present circumstances. When things do not go as we had planned or wished, we worry, become frustrated or reflect upon our own behavior. It can therefore be said that ‘worry’ is a quality unique to human beings. What distinguishes the human animal is that it lives with worry and anxiety about the future.

It follows, then, that a person who lives without hope or without a dream is not really living as a human being should. The life of such a person might be compared to that of an animal – eating, sleeping or just lying around, or living with no sense of purpose and then eventually dying. Such a way of life is not much different from that of a barnyard pig or wild animal. When one can live wisely, aiming towards the future while exercising self-control, he can rightly be called human. A foolish way of life, lived only for the moment or only for today, can be regarded as animalistic. Especially when you posses the ability to decide and act as you will.

Human beings strive to remain undefeated by any kind of problem in order to be able to overcome any difficulty and to turn that into a tremendous asset. No matter how a great problem we face, every human being has the potential to tap within their own lives the power and ability necessary to flourish. In addition, since life is a constant challenge, it is important to always have a specific goal or direction towards which we can challenge ourselves. When we aim at a real goal or objective, we can lead the most fulfilled kind of existence. With a clear sense of purpose, we should challenge ourselves to practice to achieve our goals.

These factors namely- hopes, expectations, goals; might all seem positive when compared to simple beastly mind, but they have their own significant impact which is more often negative when the aforementioned factors become unfavourable as imposing expectations, high hopes, unattainable goals, fear of failure, criticism and other such regressive elements.

So how do we, as humans with ideals, hopes and goals tackle this situation? We will cover that in the upcoming posts.

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