There is a whole host of perfectly acceptable dead people whom you never knew and who can still be of service. They are the artists and philosophers, scientists and visionaries whose presence is still felt long past their due date.
Humans are not the only animals to use tools, but we are the one species that has come to rely on technology more than any other. But the fruits of our progress towards ever more advanced technologies have been a double-edged sword.
On the whole, doubt often gets a bad rap. We don’t like it; we prefer certainty. But the ways in which we deal with doubt may reveal some insights into what makes us human and how to find your way in a life in which uncertainty will always play a part.
Humans are deeply social creatures—we can scarcely imagine a life for ourselves that doesn’t involve being part of a community. But a sense of community membership is much more than an objective assessment of which qualities “we” do or don’t possess.
The notion that things “happen for a reason” is a powerful idea. It is also a dangerous one. The concept of “agency” is so central to our understanding of ourselves and our world that we apply it even where there is no agency to be found.
I can tell a sauropod from a theropod and I know the difference between dark matter and dark energy, but I’m no paleontologist or physicist. Not by a long stretch. But I do so love listening to such specialists talk about what they do. Because I’m not one of them.
No matter how deeply we feel connected to a group that shares any given identity, the fact remains that on an individual level, we will always be more unalike than alike.