Why do we need the word "Being" to describe who we are as a species?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/human%20being
Isn’t “The quality or state of having existence” self evident? Why do we need to state this obvious fact? Why aren’t we just “Humans” like every other species?

I suspect this may be a language arts question more than a philosophical one - though philosophy and language are completely intertwined.

Perhaps “being” is a placeholder word, like “it” for something we wish to refer to as an existing “thing” (another placeholder word). I don’t know if human was a noun before it was an adjective, but used as an adjective, it would need an object, like “being”. ‘Feline’ or ‘canine’, used as adjectives, also need objects … is it a canine tooth? canine paw print? canine law-enforcement unit? … we could say canine dog, but that would be redundant, like “human person”. So ‘canine’ and ‘human’ became the sufficient nouns in their own regard as well as retaining their use as adjectives.

But it could be an interesting question as to why “being” has only ever been applied to personages such as humans or angels or things that are deemed to be at our peer level or above. There probably is anthropomorphic significance in how that language has developed.

[There is further discussion (and speculation) about it here on Stack Exchange.]

1 Like

Our species name is Homo sapiens sapiens.

2 Likes

Are there any other ‘beings’ whose identifiers start out as ‘Homo Sapiens …’ but end in something else?

[I guess any other candidates are all extinct by now … but I just don’t recall hearing the phrase homo sapiens preceding anything else in common usage - even when referring to extinct species.]


Homo Sapiens leads us back to the same definition.

Yep but still it is common parlance to answer the question “what are you” with “a human being”. If you happen to have any idea how that came about I’m all ears, not that there should necessarily be any special back story. Perhaps “beings” was a popular way to speak of living organisms at one time and “human being” was just a way of being more specific*?

I suppose when i call the vet to make an appointment and am asked by her receptionist what kind mine is I could answer “a canine being”. But I doubt if that has ever happened.

*For that matter I wonder if the common meaning of the word “specific” comes from its use in biology, or vice versa?

1 Like

The word “being” has more than one definition.

Google

noun

  1. existence.

"the railroad brought many towns into being "

Similar: existence living life animation animateness aliveness reality actuality essential nature lifeblood vital force entity esse

Opposite: nonexistence

  1. the nature or essence of a person.

“sometimes one aspect of our being has been developed at the expense of the others”

Similar: soul spirit nature essence substance entity

The phrase “human being” is using the word in the second sense. The idea is that there could be those with the nature or essence of a person but who are not human. We would, for example, refer to an angel as a being, or God as a being.

We are frequently referred to in this way. We use “human being” when we seek to emphasize this diference. We do not consider animals to be persons. Language is a definite difference and this is the substance of the human mind. So there is a difference.

2 Likes

Mervin and Ted @twh2407.

I do think that this question does have some interesting aspects. First let me say that it is perfe3ctly proper to call a person a human or a human being.

This question caught my attention some time ago when people more often than today I think refereed to God as the Supreme Being.

We know that being refers to the basis of existence. Philosophers said that things have existence because they have being, which in some real sense is analogous to atoms or physical existence. However, when Life entered the universe it was clear that there is more to being or existence than the Physical. This is usually called the Mind or Rational.

Humans and God are Rational in “nature” so they are called beings. Humans were created by God in the Image of God to explain shy they are Rational. It is a much better explanation than by being created by evolution which is physical, rather than rational.

The problem with this is that this Mind/Body does not really fit into the world as we know it. The world is not divided between the strictly physical and the strictly rational, but between the physical, which is governed by the rational laws of nature, the biological which is physical, but is also sentient, so is rational, and the human/spiritual , which is physical, and can think, so is also spiritual.

The huge gap between Humankind and the rest of creation is gone, although there is still a gap. Dualism no longer works and being doe not exist. God’s Creation is composed of relationships.

1 Like

Based on my life experiences, and research, the meaning of the word Being is the key.

https://www.beinghumantheory.com/

I’ve always understood “being” as an entity that is sentient, sapient, and possesses inherent moral rights. For example, an alien being would be an alien species that we recognize as having sentience and intelligence as compared to an alien bacteria or alien plant. In cases where humans are mistreated by society or a government they might say, “but I am a human BEING”, with extra emphasis on the BEING. They are trying to say that I feel emotion, I can think, and I should be treated in accordance to basic moral principles.

2 Likes

With all due respect to our beloved and long standing institutions - If we fully accept and never question the status quo of our existence, we will never progress, guaranteed.

It is also very true that if we refuse to examine and question how we think, Western Dualism and “being”, we will fail to move beyond the confusion of our times.

1 Like

God transcends being and is not a being amongst beings. Being and non-being, and also being and nothingness are aspects of philosophy.

  1. Is God a Being as a Person?

  2. What is the relationship of God to being , if any?

  3. What is the relationship of God to philosophy and science?

In the sense that God is a necessary existent? Yes. Thus we say that God is not a contingent being.
In the sense that the statement “God exists” has no meaning? No. Therefore “being” does apply to God. Otherwise what you say begins to sound like the rhetoric of theologians whose claims are indistinguishable from atheism – like those who equate God with being itself.

I disagree most fervently. The whole purpose of God’s creation is for others to exist with whom He can have a relationship. Again the only sense of truth in this is that God is not contingent, and I very much prefer this more precise terminology.

Something which you cannot avoid in any use of language whatsoever. You might as well go to the mountain top by yourself and meditate saying nothing. But this way of thinking is logically incoherent and pointless when it comes to participation in an internet forum.

Yes. I most certainly believe in a personal God – not a God who is limited to a singularity of personhood, but definitely a God is not in any way lacking in what a person has.

God is necessary being, first original being, and the source of all other being.

God provides most of the “divine breath” or inspiration.

1 Like

My perception of God is Infinite Intelligence, Knowledge, Intellect, Life. Love, et all. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscience. God permeates everything, so think in terms of Heaven on Earth. Materialism only can comprehend materially, so we try to fit some kind of form, shape or box that God would fit into. The reality is that materialism can’t comprehend, let alone constrain the infinite. Our 5 human senses cannot perceive (see) intelligence, we just see the actions, expressions, or lack of it. It is the same for our perception of God. Our Being comprehends and communicates intelligently and intellectually. Materialism completely fails because “material intelligence” is impossible, because ALL intelligence, including ours, belongs to GOD. Matter in and of itself, is as dumb as a rock. Except for intelligent life on Earth, created and sustained by God, this universe is nothing but a bunch of dumb rocks floating through empty space.

We need to stop thinking this temporal material realm, that we are just visiting, is our true reality. Stop thinking as a mortal human. Start thinking as the immortal, intelligent, child of God (Being) that we really are. Our true existence lies beyond the constrains of this mortal existence. These are all my own opinions of course.
https://www.google.com/search?q=mortal+definition&oq=mortal&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j0l3j46l3j0.4789j1j8&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I had heard the term “Dualism” but never explored the concept. Seems like a lot of parallels for sure. Thanks for sharing.

You should be asking – who is this guy, and where did he come from? and rightly so. Well the short answer is that I was fortunate to receive unexpected assistance at a critical time, that helped avert a tragedy. (see https://www.beinghumantheory.com/ for the whole story) I have been trying to understand what happened for almost 4 years.

Building complex racing vehicles, and trying to make a living running an auto electric repair shop teaches you many disciplines. Even in today’s world our personal vehicles are the most complex and high-tech appliances we own. Race cars amplify those these challenges because failure at high speed can injure or kill you. We never know the performance of any system until we stress it to the breaking point . The current world and national events of today are a vivid example of this. Space travel is probably the greatest triumph of this.

I searched for a scientific explanation for what happened to me, and not surprisingly, did not come up with much. So, I tried to use logic to understand what few details I had to work with. 1st thing that stood out to me was someone cared about that little boy, and had to be watching him at that specific time. Obviously, a family member cares the most about their family, so the logical person to me was a grandparent, or great grandparent, that had passed on. I also nostalgically thought maybe it was my parents, which was a comforting thought, but I was not doing anything risky, or out of the ordinary. But a 2-3 yr. old boy, they do impulsive things all the time, don’t they? 2nd, I surmise that divine intervention only works in this type of situation, when a human being can perform the task. The family member saw what was about to happen and could not stop the young man from running into the path of my truck. But with the advanced information they had collected, they could share that information with me, and I could react in time. In this rare instance, the family member cared so much that they ‘ broke the code of silence ’ and shared the information with me. As soon as I recovered from the shock of what happened, I immediately asked for an explanation – of course by then the connection had closed. The information was not directions on what to do, but ‘ what if this was to happen ’. That led me to the 3rd assumption, we have to figure out life on our own. My wife challenged me “well if this is true, why do planes crash”? That is a great question, but in most situations like that – If the pilot can’t save the aircraft from whatever failure has occurred, no person can crawl out onto the wing and repair the damaged engine or whatever the problem is. Also, we learn the greatest lessons, not from success, but from failure, from what not to do because it hurts. Also, according to this theory – no Beings were harmed in said hypothetical plane crash, only bodies were damaged or killed.

I know this is a lot to take in and comprehend, I question it every day myself. But if we believe the pretense of this forum and organization – the convergence of science and religion, we have to analyze in a responsible logical manner, demystify and re examining every thing we have taken for granted for so long.

I encourage critical examination of what I have presented - I want to know the truth, just like you. Please tell me what you don’t like, what bothers you. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. I am simply trying to jump start the conversations and help understand the science, mathematics, logic etc. of the unseen components of our existence. Thanks

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.