05 May 2011

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, at the CENTRO SEGOVIANO + Human Identity

Dear friends

Our meeting at the Centro Segoviano went very well last Sunday. In fact
we felt so comfortable that we finished right at 9pm a few minutes
before closing time of the centre. We were also told that this coming
Sunday we might be able to use the Tertulia room.
Hence, this Sunday we are meeting at 6:30pm at the Centro Segoviano look
out for the Clamores neon sign;
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
In the meantime our topic for Sunday is: Human Identity. In other words
what makes us human beings as opposed to another biological mass?
Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to finish off an essay, but I
did manage to write a few ideas before life caught up with me.
- At the biological level human identity is a causal effect of our
genome and dna.
- A special characteristic of human identity is that we depend for our
existence on learning from our experience.
- And even learning does not seem to be a sufficient condition for human
identity. But rather what matters for us is that we learn to be better.
It not enough that we find a solution to a problem but we strive to find
a better solution to a problem.
- Thus we learn to be better and continue to learn to be better, because
we know that to survive we have to adapt and change.
- Not all other biological systems might adapt the way we do. For
example, migrating birds might know how to cross continents but they don't
seem to know how to avoid hunters.
- Other biological systems might be more clever at adapting for example
bacteria and microbes. However it is questionable whether bacteria
survive and adapt because they intentionally seek a solution to survive
or because they can reproduce in such large numbers that natural
selection plus change still create enough survivors in a short period of
time; by human standards of time.
- Thus human identity implies a system that either individually or
collectively or both try to intentionally find a solution to stay
biologically alive. In other words humans are the only biological
systems (as far as I know) that also employ knowledge and intentional to
cope with the conditions of their immediate environment. As opposed to
waiting for natural selection and chance to do their work over eons of
time. It is much quicker to train dentists than to wait to develop
denture like sharks or elephants. In other words, we take shortcuts in
- Another characteristic of human identity is that humans do things that
are not of immediate survival application. We might have hunted for food
like most other carnivores, but we have learnt to cook our catch. Today
we don't hunt our food but grow it and process and elaborate it before
we actually eat it. Today we eat food in restaurants, use sophisticated
kitchens at home and prepare sauces to change the taste of foods.
- Our identity is versatile enough that is can be conveyed, transmitted
and established through various forms and media: Language, art,
structures, technology and Facebook.

from Lawrence, this Sunday meeting, at the CENTRO SEGOVIANO + Human Identity

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