Question: On the one hand, we see that the person is part of nature, and everything that happens with him affects him. However, on the other hand, we place ourselves at the top of the pyramid as the crown of creation, something higher that stands above all of nature.
We are different than other creatures in intelligence, in our wisdom, and in the ability to plan and develop. We have a special addition that is not the same for any other part of nature. What place does the person hold in the system of nature?
Answer: Without a doubt, man is an integral part of nature. Our bodies belong to the animate level; all of its systems are like animals’, and there is nothing special about them. We produce children exactly in the same manner and take care of them like any animal.
A human begins where his thought, his education, and the power of his intellect, his intelligence, is awakened and developed from generation to generation, and along with the intellect, emotions are developed, the awareness of who he is and where he is. These questions are aroused in every generation, but with a newer quality.
There is a very great role for education here. In addition to development from the side of nature, we develop ourselves with the help of special systems within us, and we pass our scientific knowledge and experience from generation to generation. This is not like the survival experience that animals transmit to their offspring.
Humans transmit wisdom, scientific knowledge, and a perception of the world to their children. So, we are stronger than all of them and are ready to develop means that animals do not attain. The ape doesn’t know how to use anything besides a stick, and a human invents more sophisticated tools.
Animals are entirely activated by nature on the level of instincts and don’t ask where the orders that they obey come from. However, a human can ask why this is happening this way and is it possible to do this differently? He searches for how to leave unpleasant situations and achieve maximal comfort. It is as if he were guided by the same motivations as animals, but the animals act instinctively, like a machine. And even though many latent instincts and habits are incorporated in man and are transmitted from generation to generation, what is unique about him is that he learns constantly.
A human learns from an environment that influences him very strongly, and he changes according to the environment. Latent in him is the aspiration to leave the place where he is, to develop, to conquer new areas, to feel that he is in control, and to understand and exploit everything around him with his own powers. But we see that if a human being acts this way according to his desire, he must constantly escape from the troubles that he causes himself. As a result, he becomes more miserable, even though he is above all of nature.
We develop under the pressure of our egoism, which doesn’t exist among the animals. Animals act only according to instincts, and humans have freedom of choice: what and how to do something. So, it follows that in every situation in life, I have a possibility of doing something good or not good in relation to others, and clearly I make a choice according to my personal benefit. However, I must check carefully as to what exactly is beneficial to me. After all, a person is different from animals by also having the power of destruction, and he is capable of harming himself.
This destructive power is the control of our ego, and humans must fulfill the commands of this power even if they understand that because of it, they are sentencing themselves to a very difficult life. They must submit to this internal aspiration. They see that they are on the threshold of war, but they still cannot stop and are ready for death because their ego is stronger than their survival instinct.
An animal never goes against the survival instinct. A female is even ready to abandon her cubs to the mercy of predators to escape them herself. The natural instinct dictates that a greater and healthier part is more important than a small and weak one, and therefore the female must be saved first. That is how nature obligates animals to act in accord with the procreative instinct. However, a person can act completely differently. A mother is ready to risk her life to save her children, which is not typical of animals.
An animal simply fights for its territory, food, and continuation of the generation. But the moment that it feels that it is weaker than the enemy, it will withdraw without shame and remorse. These feelings simply don’t exist in animals. They have a normal instinct, as if it is some force working rather than the biological body. They simply gauge which is the stronger force, and the weaker surrenders. But a human is ready to fight for “truth” and “justice,” but all of these are expressions of his pride, his ego. The human must prove that he is justified, and with this he manifests his personal feelings.
Our body is no different than the body of animals. The human within us is our pride, envy, and lust. It is specifically these characteristics that differentiate us from the animal world. So the place of the human in nature is not like the place of the still, vegetative, and animate, and we instinctively distinguish ourselves from them. In addition, we can control other parts of nature: killing animals, putting them in a cage, domesticating them, and using them for food. Moreover, we absolutely dominate the nature of the vegetative and still, so we consider ourselves as being above all of nature.
But if we look at the human being, we see that what stands out is his envy, his aspiration for control and respect, characteristics that are irrelevant to the animal instincts, and so they elevate the human above everything. At the same time, even humans are managed by nature. After all, if I don’t know what will happen to me in the next moment, this brings me to the level of the normal animal. If I don’t control my future, even for the next moment, I already am dominated by nature.
So, I must clarify: Who am I really? The one who acts or the one who is activated? It seems as if I activate levels that are found above me. But I have no control over myself nor over human society. On the contrary, I am activated from above, that is, I am given the opportunity to control the nature of the still, vegetative, and animate, but I don’t control myself and what is above me, my fate and my future. In that, I am completely controlled.
This is the tragedy of the human who seems so strong and successful in all that he does. He possesses emotion, intelligence, a developed consciousness, and powerful means. After we developed to this level, we suddenly discovered that we cannot even touch what is most essential.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 2/23/14