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Who I Am: Scientific and Religious Prerequisites of a Human Being

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“Who am I?” is an existential question that has perplexed the minds of all humans, from the least educated to the brightest minds humanity has ever witnessed. Even the most elite thinkers such as scientists, philosophers, and religious theorists haven’t been able to come close to unraveling the mystery of this abstract subject. The question has triggered these latter thinkers to succeed in their respective fields in order to probably reach the ultimate truth about human existence. However, none of them have reached common grounds, and this subject has created a long-living controversy.

First of all, according to the famous Charles Darwin, humans are descendants of less evolved animals and that originates from certain genetic mutations that were essential to the survival of the new breed. This process is known as “the natural selection”. Each descendant known to be more resistant to natural factors is selectedto survive. Based on this theory, humans are more resistant than their ancestors, therefore, they are able to survive the harsh conditions present on our planet. Science – specifically, biology – considers the human as a genetically coded creature, whose every characteristic is featured in one of his forty-six chromosomes. The human body is composed mostly of water, proteins, fats, carbs, bones, and DNA. These molecules define the various physiological systems, through which any human being operates, being: Cardiovascular (which supplies the cells with oxygen and nutrients), Nervous (controls the body’s mobility and connection with the outer world), digestive (supplies nutrients to the bloodstream and performs excretion), Urogenital (assures human continuity through reproduction as well as filters the blood from waste), Respiratory (supplies bloodstream with vital oxygen), etc.

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Psychology, on the other hand, sees and assesses humans through their minds, which have the capacity to reason, make decisions, and interact with other minds. This ability is what makes humans stand out from other species sharing their world. According to Sigmund Freud, the human mind is divided into the three following parts: the conscious mind, subconscious mind, and an unconscious one. The conscious mind helps us direct our focus and imagine what is not real. It also helps us be aware of our surroundings and any events that occur in our environment. Therefore the human is mostly an imagining force, by his imagination, the human spirit detachesfrom the real and flies through a world full of inventions and creations. This is the desire for autonomy, the desire to be differentiated from his physical surroundings.

The subconscious mind contains short-term memory as well as information about our daily life such as certain behaviors and habits. Human behavior and thoughtreveal the presence of inner forces that are precisely oriented towards a goal: the tendencies. According to Condillac, human desire and orientation are the results of experience and sensitivity whereas Ribot affirms that tendencies are motor manifestations and a movement at his base. This being said, we can assume that the human isn’t totally in control of his actions but reveals a certain passiveness. And lastly, the unconscious mind stores all of the old memories and past experiences as well as beliefs. It also harbors all of our innate emotions which make up humans. In fact, memories define who we are. A person who has lost his memory would havealso lost his own identity. Briefly, the human is not a tangible body, but rather a collection of thoughts, behaviors, beliefs, and emotions, all governed by the brain’s central unit.

Lastly, religion perceives the spirit and the body as complementary components of the actual human, who was created by the only God on the sixth day of Creation and He said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the Earth.” (Genesis 1:26). The Holy Bible explains that God made man from dust and breathed life into his body and so Adam and Eve were created who became the ancestors of the current human population. Religion believes that humans must nourish their spirit as much as they do to their bodies and this is done through prayer and ethical behavior. After all, the human body is dead without a healthy soul.Furthermore, we must not neglect our bodies which are temples for the soul and they must be respected: any attempt to harm the body is considered a sin towards its Creator.

Who am I? The very fact that we can ask this question says a lot about us. Am I an ape or a civilized caveman. Am I the knowledge of my ancestors or the ignorance of my particular self? The entitlement of the past or the ambiguity of the future. An assembly of atoms resulting from the so-called Big Bang, or the son of God. I am a lover, a son, a brother. I am a seeker of emotions, seeker of knowledge. Nothing can define me, I define myself. I am a doctor whose job is to heal my patients. I am notGod, but a small instrument used by God to fulfill His will. “Remember Man, For You Are Dust And To Dust Shall You Return”.

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