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What Makes Us Human? | The Rabbit Hole
What, if anything, sets human beings apart from other species? More and more research in anthropology, primatology, and zoology points to the fact that, biologically and even behaviorally speaking, there is very little that defines humanity.
Even empathy and altruism, characteristics formerly believed to be singularly human, are now known to manifest in many non-human species. In this week’s episode of “The Rabbit Hole” on The Chopra Well, Deepak Chopra explores this fascinating question about the uniqueness of the human species. Perhaps consciousness, alone, is not the answer to the riddle, but rather the remarkable way in which it functions in human beings.

As Deepak describes, consciousness sleeps in minerals, dreams in vegetables, wakes up in animals, and starts to become self-aware in humans. In word, action, and intention we have the limitless ability to reflect and consider chain reactions. Other barriers may otherwise inhibit us, but no one can curtail our inner freedom nor the self-awareness that generates infinite vision. When we ask ourselves questions like, “Who am I?” and “What do I want?” we turn the mirror back on ourselves and see all dimensions of our existence. We can play with new identities, experiment with different lifestyles, and experience the whole spectrum of sensations, while simultaneously knowing that identity and experience don’t constitute the Self. We are so much more than the sum of our parts, AND we have the ability to recognize this fact.

Now, of course we don’t know that other animals lack this trait (and even if they do, it doesn’t make us “superior,”) but you have to hand it to human beings for really making the most of our consciousness. Let’s be sure to live up to the name.

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Write Your Comment


A conscious lifestyle isn't divided but integrated - you must embrace our
whole day in order to build a whole self. Routine is your psychological foe
and a drag on your brain. See it as such and become active about the
problem. One of the greatest hindrances in everyone's life is low
expectations, and nothing traps you in low expectations like dull routine.
By rising above routine, you can build a life that feels alert and alive at
every moment. The only tool for building such a life is self-awareness.
Lise Miley - January 23, 2015
We have been listening to Deepak chopra's babbling bullish for 30 some
years, and in my understanding he is still at the same first step level
when he had started his shenanigans. He needs to find a real master.
MYCOVEREDWAGON - April 30, 2014
I disagree with Deepak. I think animals have it figured out already. They know how to live in connection with the natural world. They need not question, they innately know. Imagine having THAT level of inner knowingness, that level of connection to the spirit of life. That`s far better than the trivial things that humans have to contend with on their way to enlightenment. Most humans are so far from that point and they are completely unaware of that fact; completely invested solely in themselves and cut off from the rest of existence as they selfishly tread on through life. Animals, in my modest opinion, are the superior souls.
LS - January 21, 2014
I think our egotistical self-awareness makes us think we are unique in this ability. Animals obviously have empathy, when a dog looks sad or shows compassion when its owner is down, or when one species of animal cares for another from a different species, like the turtle and the elephant. Why do we always need to compare ourselves to animals and other things of nature rather than work on ourselves to better at the things that we do that are helpful.
socjust - January 19, 2014
Deepak Chopra really makes me feel good about my life. He provides very
enlightening ideas about the meaning of our lives. Schools should teach his
wisdom to students in high school. If there was a required class for
students to take on this subject, then people would grow up with this
wisdom at hand and the world would gradually become a better place.
FieldGamers - November 15, 2013
Watch every chapter!
Anna Good - October 10, 2013
I could listen to Deepak all day! Always brings me back to reality :o)
Carli Stead - September 29, 2013
The human brain has this ability to be aware of itself, to reflect back on itself. this is our own self consciousness, which also has become our limitation, as we have become hynotized by the functioning of our own brains. The beauty of it is that we have the capacity to become consciously aware of the manifestation of creation, live it, be it. \nWe are entangled in the subjectivity of our own thoughts which we keep reflecting on, functioning from and this is our misery in being human.\nBeing human is a marvelous gift; to walk and talk with God as she creates. Genesis was not so very far off in its description of this and our forgetting of who we are.
blueflower - September 16, 2013