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 Humanity? 
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Orbweaver

Joined: Jun 25 2007, 12:54 pm
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Post Humanity?
Here is a bit of a puzzler for people.
It's something I've been considered for a while but never really solved.

What is Human?

How do you define human and humanity?
I mean are those shells that the characters keep finding human? Then there are the survivors and I believe at one point nanofog which people had uploaded themselves into were mentioned. Do they still count?
Or how about Edgar, he is a robot but he appears to think like a human?
Along similar lines you have the Bellasirius people.

Just one of those things that sits in the back of your mind and niggles.

CT

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May 12 2008, 2:42 pm
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Wolf Spider

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What an interesting question. Consider, were some of the great (?) villains of history really human? Or were they merely human shaped animals? Perhaps a human is defined by his or her qualities rather than anything else.

Love the question.

Ken


May 13 2008, 8:38 pm
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I've always considered the defining characteristic of humanity to be the capacity for empathy

(Sorry it took a little bit to get back on this, I've been taking a break by working on more Tarot cards ;) )

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May 13 2008, 10:32 pm
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Wolf Spider

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Actually, I suspect that you'll need something more. For instance, conscience. My various dogs (large) show signs of empathy. Of course they also have very short memories and no conscience where the rules regarding food are concerned :).

Ken


May 14 2008, 2:33 pm
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Orbweaver

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My general view was that the ability to think they are Human is the key point.

But until we get AI (or aliens but I reckon we'll hit AI first) we don't really have anything to measure ourselves against.

CT

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May 15 2008, 6:58 am
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Here's another one to think about...

The Threllichock?

How human would you consider them? How human would you think that they are becoming?

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May 15 2008, 2:42 pm
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Wolf Spider

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The Threllichock - of necessity - view the world differently than the humans do. They certainly have some human characteristics, empathy being one of them. However, unless your are looking for a "value of human" that is outside of biology they aren't it. When you are dealing with people, they (we?) still assess others using "dresses like me, walks like me, talks like me". This is universal throughout the animal kingdom - not just with people. And yes, we should be better than that. But as a global group, we're not. I think you have to include this in whatever definition you come up with.

See what happens when you get me thinking? I get all kinds of contrary.

Ken


May 15 2008, 7:00 pm
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Orbweaver

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Hmm... I think we pretty much need to start separating Humanity from Homo Sapiens Sapiens (Wise man, an arguable definition if I ever saw one).

On genetics I'm not sure if even the survivors would count as HSS now, they certainly seem to have changed. Possibly even from the point their ancestors left earth.

As for Humanity it is a pretty abstract ideal really, we just named it after ourselves for a) Ego and b) no other equivalents.
If we assume that Humanity includes empathy, compassion and some form of self-awareness then I would say the Threllichock are becoming more 'Human'. Though how self-awareness would tie in with their original hive mentality I'm not sure.

Kens point raises another interesting side to it. Should we be trying to look at it objectively. Does having humanity mean being part of humanity? (Godamn English, why does it insist on having multiple meaning for the same word?)

CT

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May 16 2008, 2:02 am
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Wolf Spider

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Some other things to consider: besides empathy, other human traits that should be considered (outside the physical) would be the survival characteristics of self interest, greed, generosity, and so on. Not just the "good" ones should be considered. I suspect that "human" and "humanity" are related to us rather than an alien creature.

If I may suggest, perhaps we should be talking about compatibility rather than humanity. Example: the people in Requiem are all to willing to kill. In fact, it is very difficult to bring yourself to kill another person - the news not withstanding. I believe that this story is about the descendants of Homo Sapiens and probably a (slightly) regressive version at that. Are they compatible? Yes. Are they human? Maybe. Do they have humanity? Ain't seen much yet.

Ken


May 18 2008, 6:17 pm
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kenm wrote:

If I may suggest, perhaps we should be talking about compatibility rather than humanity. Example: the people in Requiem are all to willing to kill. In fact, it is very difficult to bring yourself to kill another person - the news not withstanding. I believe that this story is about the descendants of Homo Sapiens and probably a (slightly) regressive version at that. Are they compatible? Yes. Are they human? Maybe. Do they have humanity? Ain't seen much yet.

Ken


You know, I love it when people notice little things like that.

Requiem has always been a nihilistic tale at heart....though the word that probably better describes it is Anomie

I ran into the idea years ago when I read an article on Strain Theory. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strain_theory_%28sociology%29

The Wikipedia link above is a pretty good starting point.

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May 19 2008, 8:42 pm
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