MANKIND – THE HUMAN BEING – AN IMAGINARY DEBATE
Ambrose Bierce opens the debate presenting the worst aspects of mankind:
An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be.
His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth.
Dr. Edwin Zappe asks him:
Have you ever realized how extraordinary every human being
on this planet is? Really extraordinary,
including YOU, yes, indeed YOU!
Camus notes that:
Man is the only creature that refuses to be what he is.
Good old Plato shrugs his shoulders while saying:
Man is a being in search of meaning.
Thoreau observes that:
It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.Emerson agrees with him:
A man is what he thinks about all day long.
And so does Gandhi:
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
And Goethe as well:
Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.
Stephen Tong disagrees:
Man is not what he thinks, man is not what he eats, man is not what he gains, man is not what he behaves, man is not what he feels,
man is what he reacts before God!
Sartre is of a similar persuasion apart from the part about God:
Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.
Bertrand Russell is a bit sarcastic about it:
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
Menachem of Vitebsk protests:
Man is the language of God!
Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols!
Frank Lloyd Wright also disagrees:
Man is a phase of nature, and only as he is related to nature does he matter, does he have any account whatever above the dust.
Lynne McTaggart points out that:
The modern man has become a machine for survival, which is largely the result of work of chemicals and genetic codes.
Aldous Huxleyagrees with him:
Man is an intelligence in servitude to his organs.
Emerson is of a different persuasion:
Man is a method, a progressive arrangement; a selecting principle, gathering his like to him; wherever he goes.
Jung presents another aspect of it:
Man needs difficulties; they are necessary for health.
A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.
Saint Augustine also agrees:
This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.
Thoreau is doubtful about it:
The savage in man is never quite eradicated.
Nietzsche thinks so, too:
Man is the cruelest animal.
And so does George Orwell:
Man serves the interests of no creature except himself.
Bacon adds that:
It is easier for a man to burn down his own house than to get rid of his prejudices.
Elizabeth Gilbert makes a very deep observation:
Man is a demon, man is a god. Both true.
André Malraux notes that
Man is not what he thinks he is, he is what he hides.
What do you hide, if anything?
Erich Fromm agrees:
Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
Napoleon is a bit philosophical about it:
We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him.
A sense of humor is the only divine quality of man.
Charles Spurgeon advises the debaters:
Beware of no man more than of yourself;
we carry our worst enemies within us.
Diderot speaks strongly about it:
Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
W. Clement Stone thinks so too:
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Martin Luther King adds:
If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.
No man is worth his salt who is not ready at all times to risk his well-being, to risk his body, to risk his life, in a great cause.
Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
Jung says that:
Man’s task is to become conscious of the contents that press upward from the unconscious.
Plato’s reply is that:
The measure of a man is what he does with power.
Vivekananda noted that:
The man who reached immortality is not disturbed
by anything material.
Again Bertrand Russell is sarcastic about it:
The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice.
Schopenhauer is a bit sarcastic too:
Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.
Nietzsche presents another aspect of it:
In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
Emerson has the last word as he wins and closes the debate with:
Every man is a divinity in disguise,
a god playing the fool.
A man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer,
and shall pass into the immortal, as gently
as we awake from dreams.