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From the third-millennium Old Kingdom of Egypt , belief in an eternal afterlife of the human ka is documented along with the notion that the actions of a person would be assessed to determine the quality of that existence. A claim of dominance of humanity alongside radical pessimism because of the frailty and brevity of human life is asserted in the Hebrew Bible Genesis , where dominion of humans is promised, but contrarily, the author of Ecclesiastes , bewails the vanity of all human effort.
I’m a Soul, Man: One Psychologist’s Reflection on Human Nature
Protagoras made the famous claim that humans are "the measure of all things; of what is, that it is; of what is not, that it is not". Socrates advocated the ancient adage for all humans to " Know thyself ", and gave the doubtlessly tongue-in-cheek definition of humans as, "featherless bipeds" Plato , Politicus. The dominant world-view of medieval Europe, as directed by the Catholic Church , was that human existence is essentially good and created in "original grace", but because of concupiscence, is marred by sin , and that its aim should be to focus on a beatific vision after death.
The thirteenth century pope, Innocent III , wrote about the essential misery of earthly existence in his "On the misery of the human condition" — a view that was disputed by, for example, Giannozzo Manetti in his treatise "On human dignity.
Reflections on the Human Condition by Eric Hoffer | Waterstones
A famous quote of Shakespeare 's Hamlet II, ii, , expresses the contrast of human physical beauty, intellectual faculty, and ephemeral nature:. The Enlightenment was driven by a renewed conviction, that, in the words of Immanuel Kant , "Man is distinguished above all animals by his self-consciousness, by which he is a 'rational animal'.
In the early twentieth century, Sigmund Freud dealt a serious blow to positivism by postulating that, to a large part, human behaviour is controlled by the unconscious mind. Various attempts have been made to identify a single behavioural characteristic that distinguishes humans from all other animals.
Such questioning is not in vain as the threats are multiple, whether they concern our earthly situation in the boundless universe or even possibilities of the human being itself being transformed. NewSpace also provides an opportunity for us to question ourselves about our own vision of the future of humanity.
The original ark, Earth, does not move. At the very time when the scientific community was discovering the first utterances of what would later become the Big Bang theory and developing a vision of a universe with exorbitant spatio-temporal dimensions through frequently heated debates, the philosopher was clearly not disputing the revolution that Nicolas Copernicus had caused in the world of knowledge and ideas, four centuries earlier.
The Earth does not move, he articulated, because it is not, for humans, a vessel like a ship, an aircraft, a land or even a star can be and we could now add a spacecraft or an asteroid.
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