Are we human?

What does “being human” mean exactly?

 

Humanity is the quality or state of being humane, which means being marked by compassion, sympathy, or consideration for humans or animals. (merriam-webster.com)

Sadly, not all of us have these qualities. Albert Einstein said: “It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom”, he was obviously right. There are ideas that have been engrained in our society so deeply that it is impossible to change people’s opinion on the matter

 

Racism has been around forever. There has always been some people who have felt superior or more deserving than others just because of their skin color. There is a big chance that slavery is what started racism but contrary to conventional thought, all people have at one time or another been enslaved. Slavery was present in periods like Ancient Egypt (3000 BC), the Akkadian Empire (2300 BC), Ancient Greece (500 BC) or Rome. Of course, the one period of slavery we all know about is the one that started in the 15th century. The Transatlantic Slave Trade is what everyone learns about in school, they teach us about the millions of Africans that were enslaved or the horrible conditions they had to live in but no one tells us that after 600 years, we can still see the repercussions of this trade. The minorities are still persecuted and the white man still holds all the privileges. Slavery might not be legal anymore but that does not mean racism is a thing of the past. African Americans still have to deal with mass incarceration, gang violence, poverty, unemployment, police brutality and many other problems I have probably never encountered because, I am white. I will never understand why it is so hard for people to admit that their skin color does not make them superior to someone else. If we stick to the definition, the people that do not understand this concept are not compassionate or sympathetic, they might be humans but they are showing no humanity.

 

The same goes for sexism. Men are physically stronger than women, we get it. Society is built to serve biology and only women are capable of giving birth. If your only source of protein was a beast that could kill you faster than you can blink, who would you send to kill it? Not the child or the pregnant woman, that is for sure. Could you see a woman steelworker working within a week of her due date? Or maybe as a coal miner? Probably not but that does not mean that she is not capable of doing these things. However, it became normal for women to spend their days in their house, doing less complicated tasks like washing the laundry by hand, maintaining their own cow for milk or cleaning the soot on the walls that was caused by the fire. As history advanced, technologies that could take care of these tasks were created and when it became easier for women to have a normal life again, people had forgotten why they did not have one in the first place. The idea that women were inferior to men had grown on people and to think that a woman was capable of doing a man’s job was irrational. Of course, that is when the joys of sexism appeared, women were discriminated because of their sex that supposedly did not make them smart enough or strong enough. Women were not allowed to vote, to have a bank account or a credit card, they could not hold powerful positions or gained less than men. We are still facing some of these issues nowadays, on average, women earn less money than the usual man worker, in some countries they have very few rights or are not allowed to go to school… The list goes on and on but the problem here is that some people do not realize that no matter what our sex is, we are still human. What makes a person less human is the way they judge someone else. We do not chose how we are born. Excluding someone from a society, discriminating or mistreating them just because they are different makes us inhumane.

 

We are all born with the same rights. In the US, these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, we have this tendency to see ourselves either as an individual or as an individual that is part of a small community. We cannot think of ourselves as one individual because we are seven billion people on earth, we do not live alone so our own happiness should not be another person’s misery. We are all part of one community: the human one. We must learn to live in harmony with one another without disrespecting anyone because of their skin color, their race or their sex. There is one race and it is the human one. In order to be part of it, we must be humane which means we have to be compassionate, sympathetic and considerate for one another.

The role of men and women in society

A man’s body is more powerful than a woman’s. A man has less nerve receptors in his skin, which makes him feel less pain. His skin is 25% thicker, he has stronger bones, more muscles, less body fat and better clotting ability which makes his wounds heal faster. He is also blessed by testosterone, which impacts his behavior. It makes him more aggressive and competitive than women. For this very reason, men can start or manage businesses easily, they are built for it. Women do not have these abilities.

Since men are stronger, they are also better athletes. The professional sports area wants nothing but the best so it is normal that the majority of the best athletes in the world are men (and no, it is not because women were only allowed to compete in the 20th century).

It even makes me sad that this equality movement has allowed women to be in the military. They are not strong enough. They will either get killed or get their male partners killed while they are trying to save them. Some liberal mouth-pieces will say that women have better endurance than men, since they burn fat as energy or that men’s muscles tend to fatigue more easily than women’s but I say that it is nonsense.

Men’s brains are 13% larger than female’s. Even if no differences have been found in men and women’s IQ, regardless of brain size, a main’s brain is built to systemize things, analyze, construct and explore. That is why men are always fixing cars or fixing things around the house, they are good at it. Of course, women can never do that. The proof is just right in front of you: only 18% of computer science graduates are women. No, teasing in high school, the lack of encouragement and the media stereotypes have nothing to do with it. If you ever watched The Big Bang Theory, you know that only the “nerdy white-guys” can be good at science, not women.

A man’s place is outside the home. A man should be out hunting, working, achieving, exploring, building things or fighting. Yes, men are warriors and fighting is crucial. Woman, if you see your little boy outside fighting or wrestling just let him be. If he wants a gun for Christmas, buy it for him. Because that would not encourage violence at all. You just need to respect your boy’s God-given need for conquest.

A man’s abilities make him bound to be the primary provider for his family. God has even wired him so that respect is his first need. Women should never disrespect their husband; they should never have a more successful career than their husband because that would destroy their marriage. I know I said that women cannot be more intelligent than men but in the very rare case where it happens, the woman in question should put a stop to her career. If she doesn’t, her marriage will crumble or she will never get married. That is because men are not attracted to smart women. It is also the reason why divorce rate is still close to 50%.

There is this great book called “Men are like waffles – Women are like spaghetti” by Pam Farrel. It shows that men see problems clearly, like the different squares on waffles while for women… it is just spaghetti. Women can multitask and men cannot do that. Really, they can be talking on the phone, holding their kid and they can still manage to close the door with their foot. I will admit, this is amazing. And this is the reason why women should stay in the house to cook, take care of the children and clean while men should be outside solving complex technological, scientific or political problems.

That is just how it works.

 

 

If you agree with everything you just read, I suggest you go watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeEe8QasV5s&t=16s

If you do not agree, congrats! You are a normal human being.

 

Yes, women are not as physically strong as men and yes, women can carry a child and men cannot. Either way, it does not matter. Nowadays, in developed countries at least, women can manage businesses, they can play sports, they can work in the military or in science and they should also be respected. Women can have jobs, own their own houses, their own bank account, hold powerful positions and still manage to have children and take care of the household. Women can do exactly what men can do, even though society is still struggling with this idea. The same goes for men, they can take care of children, they can cook, do the dishes, wipe the floor or wear pink. We need to stop creating gender roles. There are still some things we need to fight for to obtain complete equality but that does not mean that one sex is inferior to the other. The truth is, men cannot exist without women and women cannot exist without men. It is up to us to change people’s minds on this matter.

We need to take action to make people understand that men and women do not have distinct roles in society. We all have the same role and it is to support each other.

The impact of technology on (future) society

future-city

 

Close your eyes and picture the world in a hundred years. What do you see?

 

Most people would think about a revolutionary world where robots are walking down the streets and highly advanced cars flying above us. We naturally acknowledge that technology is constantly progressing and we must learn to live with this progress which, is supposed to make our lives easier. But the thing about progress and technology is that these two also have an impact on us. And thus, on our society.

How will technology impact society in the future

I will focus primarily on scientific technology for this subject.

 

 

 

The medical field is constantly progressing and discovering new techniques, drugs or ways to cure diseases. It’s a field that keeps evolving and discovering new elements so imagine what it would be able to do a hundred years from now. Our doctor’s appointments, surgeries or even our own genetics will change.

 

According to an article I read on fortune.com, technology will replace 80% of what doctors do. That’s because even after years of studies, doctors are still human beings and are bound to make mistakes. In fact, the shocking statistics published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1999 show that up to 98,000 people die each year due to hospital mistakes. Americans experience about 12 million diagnostic errors a year, the IOM report revealed. However, a 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety projected that medical errors now account for 210,000 to 440,000 US deaths annually, making medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the US, right after heart disease and cancer.  So if the new technologies could save those 210,000 lives, would you be against them?

Firstly, the website Profitable Practice predicts that in 2024, doctors will rely on wearable tech for real-time insight. This technology already exists and gives doctors information about their patient such as their heart rate throughout the day, the calories they have eaten, the miles they have walked… It will help doctors understand the patients’s lifestyle better and give them a treatment adapted to their needs.

Secondly, the website predicts that waiting rooms won’t exist anymore because patients would fill pre-visit forms online and thanks to the wearable technology, the doctor would have access to all the basic information needed.

Finally, up to 35% of consultations will be done virtually but this only concerns non-urgent situations.

I think that those developments are great and can save a lot of lives but let’s not forget that machines are created by humans which means that technology reflects us and thus, it isn’t perfect. Machines can crash, they can make mistakes and if we rely solely on them, then lives could be lost.

Robotic surgery is something that is still new but it’s also developing very fast. Here’s a definition I found on mayoclinic.org: “Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques.” Robotic surgery is used for small procedures and is usually more precise but let’s pretend that in a hundred, maybe two hundred years from now, robots wouldn’t need to be controlled by surgeons anymore. Would you trust a robot surgeon to operate on you?

All the technologies we’re inventing are for the sole purpose of saving or improving our lives but how far can we go with them? When do we stop?

Michael J. Sandel writes in his book A Case Against Perfection about the impact of genetic breakthroughs. We will probably reach a time where we could design our own children, enhance our performances, give ourselves talents we weren’t born with… a time where we would modify our nature, to sum it up.

I wouldn’t want to live in a society that superficial. In my opinion, genetic modifications are similar to cheating, unless they are used to cure diseases. They’re unfair and take control over things we shouldn’t have control of. Nature has made us the way we are, why would we modify what it created? In my opinion, a society that is utterly genetically modified isn’t aware of the value of life.

How would our everyday lives be impacted by all this technology anyway?

 

 

Future technologies could also have an impact on the most boring tasks of our day. We will soon be able to pay with our hand and we probably won’t need a laptop anymore, because it would be implanted in our brain.

 

Chips, whether they’re implanted in our hands or our brains, seem to be the trend of the future. I recently watched a Buzzfeed video on YouTube (see the link below) about a man that inserted a chip in his hand. This chip gives him the opportunity to pay with his hand and not carry a wallet anymore. Do you think that we will all be paying with our hands in the future? I mean, we already pay with our phones but I see this chip implant as a completely new level of privacy violation. It is an innovative and practical idea, but it’s not useful. We can live without a chip in our body. Furthermore, the process to get it in the person’s hand is clearly painful, so why endure all this pain for something that we could live without? This chip can also be used for other, more dangerous purposes. It could be a way for the government to track us or for instance, for hackers to hack our bodies.

Brain chips are also in the progress. An article on ibtimes.co.uk shows how those chips are created to enhance memory and treat Alzheimer. I believe those technologies are great when it comes to curing diseases but it won’t be long for this to get out of control. Soon, brain chips will be used to enhance normal people’s memories and before we know it, the new trend will be to implant a chip equivalent to a laptop or a phone in our brain.

Hypothetically, if this were to happen, society will be totally changed. Humans would be the robots in this case. We would think thanks to a piece of technology in our brain, we would be genetically modified thanks to the progresses of science and we would be paying with our hand thanks to a chip implanted in it.

 

 

I would like to conclude this essay by one of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” 

All the technology we are developing have their ups and their downs. When it comes to saving lives and curing diseases, technology can be a life saver. But society seems to be headed for a future where human interaction is greatly diminished. All the technologies that are being developed reduce our communication with the other. We won’t even have to speak to our doctor anymore!

Let’s say the brain chip implant will give us the knowledge of a laptop. It would mean that humans wouldn’t have to go to school or university anymore, the chip will give us all the knowledge we need.

But does it make us really smarter? Or will we be relying on this chip only because we are not smart enough? And if we come to be totally genetically modified, if we somehow find a way to design our own selves, what does it leave us with?

What will be left of human nature?

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

Brain chip implant article http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/brain-chips-human-trials-futuristic-implants-enhance-memory-treat-alzheimers-begin-1576618

Buzzfeed video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTBJ6OIGkzc

Fortune.com Article http://fortune.com/2012/12/04/technology-will-replace-80-of-what-doctors-do/

Predictions for 2024 http://profitable-practice.softwareadvice.com/doctors-office-of-2024-0514/

 

The impact of religion on society – Ancient Greece

 

Everything we now today about ancient Greeks is either from literature or representations on ancient artwork. What we do know about their religious beliefs is that they worshipped not one, but twelve gods and goddesses, the Olympians. They were polytheists.

Legend says that the leader of the Titans, Kronos, swallowed all of his children except one: Zeus who later overthrew his father and imprisoned him in Tartarus (our equivalent of hell). By doing so, he freed his siblings.

There are twelve Olympians in total, the most famous ones being Zeus, Athena, Poseidon or Aphrodite. Other than the major gods, there were also demi gods and minor gods such as Daphne, Hermaphroditus or Lasion.

The God’s stories were quite complex, actually. Let’s take the mythical love story of Daphne and Apollo as an example. One day, Eros (Cupid) the God of love, was shooting arrows at flowers. Apollo made fun of him for using his weapons in such a way and broke his arrows. Not only did he break his arrows, but he also wounded Eros’ ego. The thing is, his arrows were small but could still harm people in a small way and the wound inflected by them couldn’t be healed. Eros took two arrows and dipped one in a sweet water that made people happy and in love and another that he dipped in bitter water that made people hate every person they used to care about. Daphne and Apollo were good friends and Eros decided to shoot Apollo with the sweet arrow and Daphne with the bitter one. Apollo started chasing Daphne but she rejected his love and begged for her father Peneus to release her. Peneus answered her prayers and changed her into a laurel tree, which became the sacred tree of Apollo.

So how did their religion influence their society?

It impacted every aspect of their lives. They used to have rituals for their Gods, they organized festivities for them but also their religious beliefs influenced their decisions not only in politics but also in medicine.

 

 

 

The Greeks built temples to worship their gods. Every god had a temple built in his name but the sacrifices and rituals took place outside. The temples were used to store the remaining of the sacrifices. Major and minor gods got statues dedicated to them, buildings and even fountains.

From what I read on ancient.eu, we don’t know much about the rituals, authors never went into explicit details about them maybe because they were too sacred. What we do know is that during sacrifices, people prayed while sacrificing animals that were always the same sex as the god which was being honored. The meat was then either burnt completely, cooked, eaten, offered to the god or taken away to be eaten later. A butcher or a cook killed the animal and a young girl had to sprinkle seeds onto the animal’s head, which is a “symbolic of life and regeneration at the moment of the animal’s death”.

The Greeks thought that you could communicate with the Gods at certain places, through certain people. Those people were called oracles. Oracles are supposed to predict the future and transfer the god’s message(s) to the person. People used to go and see them in temples to get some advice for their daily lives. One of the most famous oracles is the oracle of Delphi who gave messages from the God Apollo.

Not only did the Greeks celebrate their gods through rituals, but they also organized plays, games and sports events such as the Olympic games.

 

 

 

 

Heracles, son of Zeus and Alcmene created the Olympics to honor his father and to thank him for helping him during the war. They say the first Olympic game took place in 776 B.C. or at least, it is the only record we have. The Olympic games were held every four years (an Olympiad) in Olympia, home of the Gods, in southern Greece. The games were very different from the ones we know. Only Greek male citizens were allowed to compete and there were not as many sports as today. The victors didn’t get any money but they were crowned with leaves from a sacred olive tree, planted by Heracles behind the temple of Zeus.

There is also the Pythian Games that are less famous but they were also held in honor of a god, Apollo. They took place in Delphi instead of Olympia.

Of course the Greeks organized theatre plays to honor Dionysus, the god of festivities and wine. Actually, this is where amphitheaters come from, since they were built in honor of Dionysus, for the festival Greeks used to organize in his name. Their plays were in most cases tragic plays. They are even famous nowadays, I think every French student has heard of Oedipus, Antigone or Phaedra.

Obviously Greeks took Gods very seriously and not only did they celebrate them but they also relied on other more important issues.

 

 

 

Before the ancient Greeks started to really get into medicine, they thought that illness was a curse and health a blessing. During illness, they turned to the demigod Asclepius, who could heal and resuscitate people. Legend says that he didn’t only use his powers but also herbs and drugs to heal people. Healing sanctuaries were dedicated to him throughout Greece.

From what we know, Gods directly intervened in human affairs so of course they would intervene in politics. Without the ancient Greeks, we wouldn’t have democracy as we know it today. Even though the Gods had their place in politics at first, the Greek democratic system evolved in a way where only humans could take decisions without consulting an oracle. Although, people could still be condemned if they disrespected the Gods. For instance, the famous Socrates had to drink poison because not only did he influence young people but he also disrespected the Gods (he used to say that maybe not everything was linked to them).

People that had opinions similar to Socrates’ didn’t usually speak up and for obvious reasons.

 

 

To summarize, religion had an important impact on ancient Greek society. Almost every decision they made was influenced by their beliefs. It seemed like everything they did was to honor their Gods; their lives, their buildings and even their parties were dedicated to them. But despite the fact that they seemed to live only to serve the Gods, they were quite successful at first. They won wars, they were creative, smart and created what we call the first democracy. Even today, Greek mythology is still everywhere! It’s in movies, in books (Percy Jackson), in fashion (the brand Nike is named after a demigod) or even the days of the week (Lundi=Lune/Moon, Mardi=Mars…) and I can still go on.

We don’t have a lot left from that time but what we do have has somehow built our modern system.

Even though that empire collapsed, it still inspires us nowadays, so can we really say that religion has always a bad effect on society?

Fun bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_CTxlsCL7E