What is unique in human compare to animal?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:36 pm

The most important difference is our invention and use of complex symbolic language that we use to communicate with each other; essentially, it is our skill in communication that sets us apart. We use it to pass ever-increasing and complex information down from generation to generation who can further refine and expand on it.

With speech, the older generation can teach the new one how to do clever things that the older generation learned in their lifetime, thus bypassing evolution via genes. With writing we've created a library of knowledge that no other animal can ever come close to. And now with telecommunications, this knowledge has the potential to be available to every human being on the planet. We can talk and think about things that are not only not present (temporally and spatially), but also ideas that are completely abstract such as good and evil or right and wrong.

Of course some animals can do some of these things but to a much less profound extent. There is a vast gulf between humans and animals on this level.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 2819
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Dec 17, 2013 7:49 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:I think Humans have a unique and overwhelming tendency to think they are much smarter than they really are, when in fact they are destroying the planet, killing each other, and treating one another like shxt. And now they have the nerve to try and say this is what makes them better than animals, when they really should be studying animals to see how much wisdom they can learn from them. For instance the idea that animals cannot practice Dhamma, complete rubbish. Its humans that can't practice or understand Dhamma, it seems to come quite naturally to many animals.


So it is your desire to become (and remain) an animal?

Humans have the capacity to do stupid things like what you mentioned above, but they also have the capacity to do good things. Animal life is a woeful state. Even a domestic animal is always guarding his territory and in competition with other animals in the house. Animals do kill each other, sometimes for food, sometimes for competition over resources, over a sexual partner, for leadership, etc. If they had the brain (humans have) and the capacity, they would do just as much harm to the planet as we do. We have higher intelligence, but it doesn't have to be used for unwholesome purposes, it can be used for good.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8016
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby greenjuice » Tue Dec 17, 2013 9:54 pm

I've been wondering myself about how Buddhism answers this question. We humans have the five aggregates, also manas and citta are named. Which of these an animal doesn't have, or an animal has all of those but some are different then their counterparts in humans? What does the Tipitaka say- where is the difference between humans and animals?
User avatar
greenjuice
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:17 am

Humans have got a lot of mileage out of their opposable thumbs, its the brains that seem to be lacking, sure we can accomplish impressive things, but ask whether those impressive things are good for the planet as a whole, and our brains go on strike.

Take attachments, make a list of your attachments and a list of your pets attachments, which is longer, who is more likely to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, who is more at peace with their environment, etc. Who has less needs, wants, or desires???
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 860
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Wed Dec 18, 2013 12:32 am

Hi Lyndon
Why don’t you see the potential and positive side of human?
SarathW
 
Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:09 am

greenjuice wrote:I've been wondering myself about how Buddhism answers this question. We humans have the five aggregates, also manas and citta are named. Which of these an animal doesn't have, or an animal has all of those but some are different then their counterparts in humans? What does the Tipitaka say- where is the difference between humans and animals?


A) Buddha said that to be born as a human is a rare occurrence.
B) Some info:

7. Tiracchàna = tiro, across; acchàna, going. Animals
are so called because as a rule quadrupeds walk horizontally.
Buddhist belief is that beings are born as animals
on account of evil Kamma. There is, however, the possibility
for animals to be born as human beings. Strictly speaking,
it should be said that an animal may manifest itself in
the form of a human being, or vice versa just as an electric
current can be manifested in the forms of light, heat, and
motion successively—one not necessarily being evolved
from the other. An animal may be born in a blissful state
as a result of the good Kamma accumulated in the past.
There are at times certain animals, particularly dogs and
cats, who live a more comfortable life than even human
beings. It is also due to their past good Kamma.
It is one’s Kamma that determines the nature of one’s
material form which varies according to the skill or unskilfulness
of one’s actions. And this again depends entirely on
the evolution of one’s understanding of reality.

P270
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/abhidhamma.pdf
SarathW
 
Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby chownah » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:01 am

Embarrassment.
Dogs for example will wash their genitals without a thought as to who is watching........will you?
chownah
chownah
 
Posts: 2639
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:27 am

Studies have shown that extremely flexible humans tend to do the same, Chownah!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 860
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby binocular » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:41 am

chownah wrote:Embarrassment.
Dogs for example will wash their genitals without a thought as to who is watching........will you?

Having a nasty disease eventually tends to strip people of any sense of embarrassment ...
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby greenjuice » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:06 pm

I've looked in that Manual of Abhidhamma all instances that mention animals, and it seems that even though the Abhidhamma "dissects" in detail what makes up a human, it does not explain where the is the difference between human and animal. I remember vaguely that sowhere it was mentioned what is the differencee between an awake and a sleeping human, as in the sleeping one doesn't have his four nama aggregates manifestated or used or something like that, does anyone know about that? Maybe that instance could be used as an analogy for this question.
User avatar
greenjuice
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:56 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:00 am

We separate human from animal in a conventional sense.
This is something like we are trying to separate the mountain range from each peak and trough.
I think we should see a range of consciousness instead of separating each being into categories.
Then we can see how some human got animal characteristics and vice versa.
Our consciousness is much older than the current world system.
This is explained in The Path of Purification.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... on2011.pdf
:)
SarathW
 
Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby ES06 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:19 pm

lyndon taylor wrote:Humans have got a lot of mileage out of their opposable thumbs, its the brains that seem to be lacking, sure we can accomplish impressive things, but ask whether those impressive things are good for the planet as a whole, and our brains go on strike.

Take attachments, make a list of your attachments and a list of your pets attachments, which is longer, who is more likely to be addicted to drugs or alcohol, who is more at peace with their environment, etc. Who has less needs, wants, or desires???

But which one knows ways to let go existing attachments?
ES06
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:31 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Zom » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:44 pm

Answer is so simple. Wisdom.
User avatar
Zom
 
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri May 08, 2009 6:38 pm
Location: Russia, Saint-Petersburg

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby lyndon taylor » Wed Dec 25, 2013 1:48 pm

You can't second guess animals and know what and how they are thinking, so I think its best we give animals the benefit of the doubt and honestly say we don't know if they can practice religion in any way similar to us, its rather prententious of a species that is rapidly destroying the planet to claim all superiorities from animals that have lived on this planet much longer than us, with much less damage to the environment.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 860
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby Kamran » Wed Dec 25, 2013 6:44 pm

I believe the development of language in humans changed the way the brain works compared to other primates. It led to thinking using symbolic representations and concepts, a sort of virtual reality, and the idea of the self.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
User avatar
Kamran
 
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:14 am

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby santa100 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 4:10 am

What is unique in human compare to animal? the capability to build anything AND to destroy everything..
santa100
 
Posts: 1517
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby no mike » Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:32 pm

The capacity to overcome instinct and conditioning.
User avatar
no mike
 
Posts: 177
Joined: Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:16 pm
Location: south carolina

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Thu Dec 26, 2013 10:35 pm

santa100 wrote:What is unique in human compare to animal? the capability to build anything AND to destroy everything..


Hi Santa
Can you give bit more information.
I have seen documentaries that animal build and destroy their nest with anger.
:)
SarathW
 
Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby santa100 » Fri Dec 27, 2013 4:42 am

SarathW wrote: Hi Santa
Can you give bit more information.
I have seen documentaries that animal build and destroy their nest with anger.


In terms of what's wholesome and unwholesome, our capability has extended far beyond the animals in BOTH directions. There were the Buddha, Mother Teresa, Dr. Jonas Salk,.. AND there were Genghis Khan, Pol Pot, Hitler,..We send men to the moon, build schools, hospitals, or vaccines that can save many lives and yet we also make enough nuclear weapons that can obliterate the whole world many times over. We're definitely unique in terms of intelligence and capability. But in terms of wisdom? from what's been happening, at best it's a 50/50 ignorance/wisdom mix..
santa100
 
Posts: 1517
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: What is unique in human compare to animal?

Postby SarathW » Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:33 am

Hi Santa
I see your point. What I am looking for is whether there are any characteristics which find only in human.
Why did Buddha say that human life is so rare and important?
SarathW
 
Posts: 1986
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

PreviousNext

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests