Inherently, humans are animals, and exactly alike their brethren in all but one way: humans are capable of much higher mental sophistication, which carries with it the capacity to be far more intelligent. Capacity does not equal willingness, however, and many humans do not utilize this ability. The simplest humans arguably have more in common with apes than they do with the most intelligent of their own species.
In modern times, a number of sociobiology professionals have published material focusing on the animalistic and instinctual characteristics of humans, with the goal of highlighting that humans are “only animals.” A bottom line which is by default entirely true of humans–by and large, a human raised by wolves will be a wolf. The information and stimuli they experience in childhood shaping just how far they will evolve beyond their primate nature.
Unfortunately, the conditions many humans are raised in, even in modern developed societies, are not ideal for cultivating intelligence. The result is that the majority of humans display more pronounced animal characteristics than one might expect, specifically for those raised in technologically advanced cultures. Much of the time, humans do not control themselves with intellect and reason, but are themselves controlled by base reactions and bottom level instincts. It is true then, that many humans are little more than animals.
But it’s dishonest to focus only on the animalistic in humans. It ignores the difference that separates humans: the capability to develop advanced intelligence. Perhaps only a small fraction of humans take advantage of this, but it is there for all. Even the smartest animals, on the other hand, irrelevant of what environment they are raised in, have nothing or almost nothing in the way of higher level, developed, intelligence.
While animals don’t have a choice on the matter, humans do. By ignoring this key difference and placing humans in the same category as animals, one is encouraging and justifying animalistic behavior in humans. This is not an acceptable attitude. An animal centric view on humans is a cloaked assault on the human race, and actively helps to hinder its progress. We were animals, we are animals–but we don’t have to be animals.
The human brain is not a gift from god, it’s an inconsistent creation patched together haphazardly, and even in the best of people its systems do not always work together smoothly–but it should not be compared to the brain of an animal. The physical difference may lay only in complexity, but the practical difference is far more impactful.
An animal and loving it
There are many who understand that they are behaving like an animal, and greatly enjoy doing so–such as an aggressive alpha male who can dominate nearly anyone to their will. The alpha male is a dying breed of human animal, however–the world is evolving past the genetic and environmental lottery, and this sort of animal is finding life more difficult by the day. For the time being, in regards to the alpha male, it is good advice that you try not to be this type of animal yourself, and that you don’t let this kind of animal walk over you. Just as you would not let a gorilla tell you what to do.
Navel gazers, are another kind: these animals spend their time contemplating mankind’s doom, the pointlessness of existence, the relativism of everything and thousands of other empty philosophies. They do nothing but rot away, and encourage millions of others to rot with them by publicizing their useless philosophies (usually while enjoying the creature comforts provided by those working diligently to improve the world).
Religion is an interesting deviation. Although it appears to be encouraging people to rise above their base instincts, its practical application is lacking; religion dictates not that people overcome their humanity, but that they drop habits and behavior that are not harmful and not counter-productive, all the while discouraging productive pursuits. It encourages people to remain animals, but domesticates them, and then tells them to put a muzzle on. Few can become powerful and intelligent beings if they’re doing it for God. Upgrading one’s consciousness means not being the slave of biology, or religion.
Moving past monkeyhood
Nobody nor anything is perfect, but forward thinking people strive for perfection, knowing that it may be impossible but insisting on getting as close as they can. And in doing so, they help to bring the human race as a whole one step forward.
It doesn’t matter how humans came to be, what they did, what they are inclined to do, or anything else—what matters is what they can do. Many have put great effort into being all that they can be, making progress, breaking new ground, and moving themselves and the human race forward. Many others have decayed and spread decay, then died and decayed further. Strength and progress are not achieved by apathy or pessimism, but by proactive action.
There will always be those who insist that humans are animals and must embrace their true nature. Transcending animalistic tendencies is not an option for everyone at this time. Power through intelligence doesn’t have room for aggression, desire to dominate (or vice versa) and other animalism. But these are principles that many humans are thoroughly habitualized and addicted to. Generally, only around 5% of people are able to overcome ingrained addiction.
Regardless, the common paths of strong arming or allowing one’s self to be strong armed are nearing their last days, it’s just a matter of hopping off the wagon, or going over the cliff with it.
Don’t be an animal. Don’t justify your failures. Your humanity is not an excuse.