What do you think really separates humans from animals?

United States
September 22, 2009 10:16am CST
Intelligence? Language? Opposable thumbs? Music? Art? There are millions of things that make us different from animals. But what, if anything, do you think qualifies as justification to say we are better than animals?
2 people like this
7 responses
@calai618 (1781)
• Philippines
22 Sep 09
Animals can also be intelligent but we humans have judgement. We can decide what's right and what's wrong for us based on laws, morality, personal standards, values, etc. So i guess judgement is one of those that separates us from animals. I can't think of anything else though because some can do music (dolphins?) and art (spider? can create beautiful webs?hehehe, etc). i said judgement because animals just judge by instinct most, if not all, of the time. they don't ave any other standards,etc.
• United States
22 Sep 09
The only difference I see between us and them is they are typically quadrupeds and we are bipeds. That makes our system of communication and perspective engagement with our environment uniquely ours,but it doesn't make us superior to them . Animals have rich lives and interpersonal relationships based on love and trust just like we do. They have conflicts with each other triggered by betrayal or aggression just like we do. They love their young and can love across species just like we do they love the same things that we do, peace ,play,fun, and challenges to overcome and excel at you might like a book called Wild Justice, the Moral lives of Animals,by Mark Bekoff and Jessica Pierce ,if this topic interests you
• Canada
22 Sep 09
I totally agree with you. Humans try to categorise and dehumanise as much as possible so they can justify their debase behaviour by deeming their victims as non human. It even goes as far as race where some humans deem other races as inferior so when they exploit them they won't lose sleep at night. We are all animals. Nothing we have done has proven we are different from animals. In fact, I see better social hiearchies in 'non human' entities such as ants and dolphins. So, to conclude, we are animals that walk upright. No more, possibly less.
• United States
24 Sep 09
I have observed closely a wide variety of animals and their interactions with humans and other species tell me that 'instinct is an amorphous word that essentially has little meaning. It is a word we use to separate us from them we say 'they' behave instinctively,but we behave rationally I say that rational behavior is behavior that fits and is appropriate in the situation at hand,using that as a definition most animals behave rationally,that is to say they use reason to interpret,and respond to their world they can't build computers or write down their thoughts,but we can't survive an Arctic winter with a baby chick balanced on our feet(like penguins in Antarctica do,for instance) So superiority is subjective in terms of us and them. As long as we decide what that means we will always win the so called superiority argument I hope that we do begin to change the dialogue when it comes to this topic ,since a more reasoned perspective on this can only result in a better life for everything in this world
@ishaaan (58)
• India
22 Sep 09
Human Already have So many separations, if a person is white in color he feels superior than a black person, not only this with a little more talent or religious knowledge human makes himself different from other. If you are asking of this separation than yes Human are better (As per Human thinking) But Actully We all are living beings, the difference is we have develop little faster than animals.
• United States
24 Sep 09
you are so right, this us and them thinking is what enables us to separate even our fellow humans into categories . Then we can justify marginalizing those who are culturally or politically different from us . I f we can learn to respect the soul of all living beings we would have a better world I think
• United States
30 Sep 09
I don't think there is a separation in the way you state it. Humans are animals. We evolved just like every other creature on the planet. We are governed by the same instincts that govern every living organism. Now, are we superior to animals? Yes. We are the dominant life form on this planet at the current point. Why? Well, opposable thumbs, high developed frontal cortex all have something to do with it. We are the top and bottom of the food chain. We are a species who has a primeval impulse to survive and in our survival we have surpassed all the other species on the planet. Is that carte blanche to destroy? Of course not. We kill our own chances of survival when we do that. But, there are perks to being on top.
@spalladino (17925)
• United States
28 Sep 09
What sets humans apart from other animals...and makes us superior...is that we have self awareness and, because of that, we have the ability to understand the world around us and to make decisions based on that understanding. This self awareness allows us to recognize our mortality, right from wrong, good from evil. It's also responsible for our curiosity and our search for knowledge.
• United States
26 Sep 09
It's the Spirit within us that makes us different from animals. Yes, we love our pets, we love the wildlife, but we have a special spark within that makes us different than the animals on the planet.
• United Kingdom
26 Sep 09
Well it definitely has to be our intelligence! We tend to think and ponder about a lot of things and I guess that animals don't really do this. There may be some similarity with chimpanzees but otherwise us humans have to be the most advanced species on our planet. With animals they don't think about anything they just get on with things. The more we study and grow the more intelligent we will become and the space between us and animals will forever expand! Andrew
• India
24 Sep 09
A really good question which often stumps most of us, but if we think deeply for some time, we might be able to come up with some surprising answers to bolster our confidence and self esteem. The following points are worth considering: 1. All scriptures confirm that God Almighty has said that Man is the zenith of all his creations. He could not have said this without some justification. What are these justifications which place us, human beings, on a higher pedestal than that of the other animal species? 2. The foremost unique human characterstic is one's concern for his fellow human beings and others including the animals. This human quality is in very wide display everywhere but unfortunately it does not get the publicity it deserves; in fact the negative aspects of life get so much over publicity that it almost drowns the sterling quality of this positive quality, that is, the concern for others. Few animals display this kind of concern for their own fellow animal creatures. May be they take care of their young ones, and that too, for a short period only till the young ones become self reliant. Other than that no animal displays any remarkable compassion for other animals. Wheras many human beings display a rare quality of "forget & forgive " in relation to even their worst enemies and even go to their rescue in times of need. This quality separates them from, and elevates them above, the animals. 3. Our thirst for knowledge is the other important attribute which separates us from the animals. But for this quality, mankind would not have achieved all the developments it has gained so far. This quality which is not shared by animals has always kept the pace for our overall developments which is miserably lacking in animals. It is true that we are also born originally as members of the animal kingdom, but because of our thirst for knowledge and our concern for others, we are constantly evolving our personality which distinctly separates us from our animal brethren so that in actual life we are progressively proving ourselves to be always better than the animals. So please don't lose heart! We are definitely superior to animals and only in that realization does our real progress lie.