The Essence of being human - part 1

The Essence of being human by P.K. Odendaal – February 2019

Part 1 - Basic human values.

This article series was conceived as a single article centred on basic human values, but as I pondered the richness of being human, the subject has grown out of all proportion with my limited mind, and into proportion with our human divine calling to be like God.

I never could have thought that to be human was also to be divine. Humanity was always such a basic and simple concept for me until I started applying my mind to all the ramifications and implications of what it entails to being human.

It now has become a quest for me to touch the finger of God, as so vividly and inspiringly portrayed by the painting of Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel where Adam reaches out to touch the finger of God.


That is our calling, but that is not where our journey will start although it is bound to end there.
Our first exposure to the essence of being human will therefore be to understand basic human values like compassion and kindness and work our way up to divinity where we shall address our divine calling of forgiveness, unconditional love and creativeness.

It is again late at night as I write this - the perfect time for peace and quiet to consider the greatness and abundance of life. No, not our own greatness, although we are the pinnacle of creation, but the incredible gift of life and everything connected with it.
It is such a pure and holy thought, unspoiled by contamination of sin, desire and knowledge - totally distanced from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Indeed, it can be termed the Lust of Life, a name used for a film about the life of one such human being and child of the Universe, Vincent van Gogh.
It is thus with great humility that I take this excursion and pilgrimage into this holy domain where we might even touch the face of God - an honour beyond my wildest dreams.


Of necessity I will start off with a very basic concept or axiom: 'I do not mind or care what you call me; I care how you treat me'.
I have been called many things and names in my life, from idiot to brilliant and all things in between, without me objecting to any of it, or accepting any of it, because I have these flashes of idiocy, foolishness, ignorance, arrogance, narcissism and epiphany. Well … that is perfectly human, and that is what I want to be.

These things are so simple, basic and easy to do and we do not need to be counted amongst the intellectuals of the world to indulge in that. We need to be basic humans to indulge in these basic things.
Science has taken us down this garden path of the tree of knowledge so that we have forgotten how to be human. Humanism has taken us down this garden path of secularism to strip us of our divine calling. Philosophy has taken us down this garden path of chaotic and confused thought to prevent us from seeing with our senses. Contemporary custom has taken us into a virtual world void of emotion, love and reality.

Shall we ever be able to step back enough or regress to become human again?
All I want in life is to be a human and to be treated as such - with kindness and compassion. I might add a lot of other niceties or nice to haves like respect, love, empathy, appreciation and charity, but on closer inspection I find that they are all included under kindness and compassion. Why are two such simple traits or notions so difficult to achieve? Can they be achieved at all in the coldness of our present civilization? Shall we not go back to the Victorian era of respect and kindness without the cosmetics and superficiality?
Yes we can and it is deceptively simple. Just do it.

We should because it will save millions of lives and let us live in peace. Think of a world where we may treat each other with kindness and not with violence, jealousy and vengeance. A utopia, yes, but still it is possible. God did not say an eye for an eye to teach us revenge, but to teach us kindness and forgiveness so that our eyes will never be taken and killing humans will not be in vogue as it is now.
Let us start by singing that beautiful song from Beauty and the Beast: 'Human again':

When we're human again
Only human again
We'll go waltzing those old one-two-three’s
We'll be floating again!
We'll be gliding again!
Stepping, striding as fine as you please
Like a real human does
I'll be all that I was
On that glorious morn
When we're fin'lly reborn
And we're all of us human again!

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