It is widely known that we belong to the biological family of primates called hominids. As shown in the video titled “What Makes Us Human”, what sets us apart from other primates are three distinct traits: bipedalism, language, and tool making. These traits define us as modern humans. We are designed to stand and walk upright on our legs (for most of us), communicate through language such as sounds, gestures, or symbols, and we create tools and learn to exchange materials.
Another distinguishable trait for human beings is our capacity to cooperate with others. We are imperfect, dynamic beings. Every one of us is a human in progress, with positive and negative qualities, strengths and weaknesses while also having areas of improvements or acceptance.
As complex beings, some if not most of us, have complicated emotions and pasts or those before us have experienced them affecting succeeding generations. Almost everyone has experienced generational traumas, whether passed down directly or indirectly, such as emotional or physical neglect, physical, mental, verbal, or sexual abuse, substance dependency, codependency, depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADHD, or learned behaviors and the like; a part of the human experience.
One of the distinguishing traits of humans is our capacity to cooperate with others, notably ingeminated as we move forward with this reality in mind. As we navigate through life, some of us are in a constant state of progress striving to become better versions of ourselves. By cultivating our ability to cooperate with others, we can truly set ourselves apart from other primates. This requires acknowledging that we are all human in progress, and by doing so, we can continue to grow from there and for some of us, reach self-actualization.
In considering our standout strengths, we must ask ourselves: do we want to be like the other primates that do not know how to cooperate, or do we want to live up to our potential as humans and cooperate with others? The choice is ours to make.
What Makes Us Human. Video. Herrero, Hannah, et. al. National Geographic. September 27, 2022. (n.d.).
What Makes Us Human. Duke Magazine. Bliwise, Robert J. November 13, 2019. Fall 2019 Issue. . (n.d.).
I’m impressed with this reflecting for many of us on who we want to be. Are we self-actualizing or are our unresolved traumas, repetitive behaviors, rigid thinking showing up when we refuse to show up as grown ups by cooperating with each other that sets us apart from other primates. That would mean those of people who are berating, refusal to work together, actively listening to other sides are lacking demonstration of cooperation, one of our unique traits. We need to recognize we’re in progress on a shared platform and go from there.
I think this is something that everyone needs to read and it affects us all. It might have some of us looking inwards and doing the hard work to show we’re apart from the other primates by how we act, what we say.
I think this is something we all need to take a step back and consider. If we’re cooperating with each other, we’re elevated beings and if we’re not, we’ve got work to do. Either way, we all need to work at it.