What are the qualities that distinguish us as humans? The question is simple the answer requires a lot of thought. To be human is to be an individual with unique thoughts and traits. Humans are spiritually and socially different from the rest of the created world. The traits that define a human to me are the ability to plan, to communicate, and the capacity for reason.
Animals don’t have the ability to plan because everything they do are justified from inherent behaviors. An animal that hibernates in the winter, or spends all fall storing food to survive in the winter, even flying south to stay warm in the winter are examples of animal behaviors that are instilled. As humans we have the ability to think and plan in time. It's an amazing aspect of the human mind to think in terms of past, present and future. We have aspirations to achieve; we set goals and organize ourselves relative to time. When was the last time you saw a gorilla or chimp open his calendar and make an appointment?
Humans have the ability to create languages. Human beings comprehend connections between large numbers of words, including the ability to learn languages, even so-called animal languages. Humans have built elaborate cultures including language, norms, skills and art. It is important to note that the language referred to is the complex language. Language can be seen in animals however it is hardly the complex language that you see in humans. Take the use of nouns and verbs, the gender words of the French, the intonation found in Chinese, and the combination of writing systems found in Japanese.
The human mind gives us capacity for reasoned thought. Instinct isn't the driving force that determines our behavior. This ability leads us to search for meaning in our individual lives as well as meaning in human life as a whole. Libraries are full of the works of authors searching for purpose in life. Every culture produces its own religions, myths and philosophies. We even have a need to...