What Makes Us Human?

The human brain is one of many systems that were developed by evolution, and we’re all the product of those processes, including many of the things we find important.

We’re all made up of cells, which are made up of RNA (ribonucleic acid), the components that make life possible. Some of us (and not all) have this same building block of life inside of us. You may be wondering what the “ribonucleic acid” actually contains; the answer is, it contains RNA and protein, among other compounds. All of it is made up of long strings of RNA and genes. The cells, molecules, and individuals that we call “people” are all very similar in one respect: the material is all there. But, when we think about “the human soul”, we must understand that it’s not so much about this material – it’s about the way we view it, interpret it, and treat others when they don’t conform to our views – or we become very frustrated, anxious, and negative.

One of the most common ways we view what’s “human” is through religion: through the belief in heaven or hell and the importance of “living good lives”.

Now, people vary greatly in their level of belief in heaven and hell, depending on whether they’re religious or not. However, we all have the tendency to believe that at the end of our lives, we will have “enjoyed” a good life, in a way that helps us live in more of a perfect world, and get to live an immortal life. So, we think we deserve to have a good afterlife; we think that the world is too harsh and that too many people are hurting too much. We tend to think that because we’re on earth at all, and for all intents and purposes, we’re a part of it, and we shouldn’t be able to go somewhere that is better than whatever we have now, or that will be better than our current world. So, some people are extremely angry, and others very hopeful, when they look outside of their country for another. I’m pretty angry right now. In fact, many religions tell me I’m supposed to be angry, to have a more positive outlook on life, and live a happier existence.

But this is a completely different thing than what the soul is. To me, it’s the most basic of human values that we can all agree on. The human soul, for me, is “life”, a living body made of living tissue, a being that lives for a longer time than any other being or species that has ever existed, one day coming to rest in a paradise created for it from the very substance that made it up… and then it’ll go to heaven (or hell – I don’t know any better), enjoying the same things I do: friendship, happiness, and a desire to learn more and help those around me. It’s the same as a human being that’s been brought up by a loving mother who gave the world to her and loves her very much.

These beliefs in “enjoyment” often seem “human”, or “humanly”, in ways that our thoughts and feelings don’t necessarily reflect, but they are, to my eyes, a part of what we consider “life”, or what we see as “good”. These spiritual thoughts and feelings, on the other hand, can easily become “theistic” and mean that people feel like God or some other higher being has decided to take care of them and put them in a better place than they’re in to begin with. And, many of these people have not seen a good afterlife; many, if not most, of them have a lot more problems on earth they are trying to solve, and they often end up very frustrated.

This is an important point: we have to be very careful about how we consider and speak about the human soul. It is very important to understand in order to avoid misunderstanding. When a human being is experiencing a positive spiritual life, this doesn’t mean the spirit will “be seen” by some other higher being or other living being.