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Switch to Forum Live View Is Man A Mere Animal?
3 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2011 - 8:27AM #1
Seefan
Posts: 3,969

"You cannot apply the name "man" to any being devoid of this faculty of meditation; without it man is a mere animal, lower than the beasts."  (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 323)


 Is man a mere animal in the scientific sense of being part of the animal species or is he a separate species, above and separate from the animal?
Your thoughts would be appreciated ... 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2011 - 1:33PM #2
Lilwabbit
Posts: 2,907

Hi there Seefan!


Oct 27, 2011 -- 8:27AM, Seefan wrote:


"You cannot apply the name "man" to any being devoid of this faculty of meditation; without it man is a mere animal, lower than the beasts."  (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 323)


Is man a mere animal in the scientific sense of being part of the animal species or is he a separate species, above and separate from the animal?
Your thoughts would be appreciated ... 




Great question. Since "species" is strictly a biological notion, then strictly biologically speaking, man is indeed an animal species among others. However, as Bahá'ís we know that man is not merely biology. Therefore the term "species" does not exhaust all there is to be human. Hence, in conclusion, I would say that "species" is wholly inadequate as a definition for man (who is much more than just an animal) just as "an organism with the capacity of growth" is wholly inadequate as a definition for animal (which is much more than a plant).


Best,


LilWabbit

"All things have I willed for you, and you too, for your own sake."
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3 years ago  ::  Oct 27, 2011 - 2:15PM #3
Seefan
Posts: 3,969

Oct 27, 2011 -- 1:33PM, Lilwabbit wrote:


Hi there Seefan!


Oct 27, 2011 -- 8:27AM, Seefan wrote:


"You cannot apply the name "man" to any being devoid of this faculty of meditation; without it man is a mere animal, lower than the beasts."  (Compilations, Baha'i Scriptures, p. 323)


Is man a mere animal in the scientific sense of being part of the animal species or is he a separate species, above and separate from the animal?
Your thoughts would be appreciated ... 




Great question. Since "species" is strictly a biological notion, then strictly biologically speaking, man is indeed an animal species among others. However, as Bahá'ís we know that man is not merely biology. Therefore the term "species" does not exhaust all there is to be human. Hence, in conclusion, I would say that "species" is wholly inadequate as a definition for man (who is much more than just an animal) just as "an organism with the capacity of growth" is wholly inadequate as a definition for animal (which is much more than a plant).


Best, LilWabbit



Thanks LilWabbit.  I guess this is what you mean ...


Let us suppose that the human anatomy was primordially different from its present form, that it was gradually transformed from one stage to another until it attained its present likeness, that at one time it was similar to a fish, later an invertebrate and finally human. This anatomical evolution or progression does not alter or affect the statement that the development of man was always human in type and biological in progression.  (Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 358)


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2011 - 8:24AM #4
Kalzera
Posts: 260

EVen biologically I think both responses apply. Humanity is a species of animal, but it's also unique for its advanced written language, advanced oral communication, rich cultural history, and for its ability to self-actualize and think conceptaully and logically. I mean, scientists did found the entire fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, and archaeology just to study the uniqueness of man.

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 26, 2011 - 9:24AM #5
Seefan
Posts: 3,969

Dec 26, 2011 -- 8:24AM, Kalzera wrote:


EVen biologically I think both responses apply. Humanity is a species of animal, but it's also unique for its advanced written language, advanced oral communication, rich cultural history, and for its ability to self-actualize and think conceptaully and logically. I mean, scientists did found the entire fields of anthropology, sociology, psychology, neuroscience, and archaeology just to study the uniqueness of man.





Very good point Kalzera! Indeed man is unique among species, howbeit, some may disagree.  I think it's because of our dual nature being such that if we don't follow the Will of God in our lives we can become worse than the mere animal ...


God has created two opposing forces within man, the animal and the spiritual. The animal nature inclines him to the material world; self and passion and attachment to earthly things are the characteristics of the animal nature. To subdue these powerful forces, the individual has to develop and strengthen his spiritual qualities so that they can dominate his animal inclinations. Within the human being there is a constant battle between these two forces. If it is left to nature, it is inevitable that the material side will dominate.


This is because the animal characteristics are part of his nature and without any effort on his part will drive him towards the material world. When this happens, man may behave in a manner even worse than an animal. (The Revelation of Baha'u'llah v 3, p. 77)


 

Today the one overriding need is unity and harmony among the beloved of the Lord, for they should have among them but one heart and soul and should, so far as in them lieth, unitedly withstand the hostility of all the peoples of the world ... (Baha'i Writings)
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3 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2011 - 1:11AM #6
Kalzera
Posts: 260

"...if we don't follow the Will of God we can become worse than an animal"


Like when we invent Atmoic bombs and drop them to end wars; or force farmers to live on argicultural communes, effectively destorying their culture and community (Cambodia; USSR; Mao's China); or wage genocidal campaigns against minorities because it's easier to blame our society's problems on a scapegoat...


Yah, I can see that. It almost seems like a blessing that God hasn't gifted non-Humans with the ability to create weapons of mass destruction and intricate political systems that relegate power to the most hateful groups.


-- Kal

However men try to reach me, I return their love with my love; whatever path they may travel, it leads to me in the end - Bhagavad Gita 4:11

"Knowledge is a light which God casteth into the heart of whomsoever He willeth" - The Four Valleys; Hadith
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