In the contemporary world, human beings are among the most powerful beings, having achieved dominion over all other creatures. This is considering that humans can be found all over the world, not only ruling over it, but also making use of the available resources. The exploitation of natural resources at an unprecedented level would logically mean that the diverse problems that plague humanity such as poverty, oppression, and illness would be a thing of the past. However, this is not the case, and it seems that despite the rapid progress that has been made by human societies, the problems plaguing a majority of humans have only become worse. The greed of the few individuals who possess the wealth to exploit resources has led to a situation where they make use of the majority to maintain and increase their wealth, both through manipulation and coercion. There are a number of steps that need to be undertaken in order to ensure that there is the advancement of the quality of life for all humans. Among these is the promotion of freedom from oppression, the right to life, community support, just laws, social cohesion, and the right to happiness.
One of the most important means of making sure that there is the promotion of humanity is through ensuring that there is freedom from oppression. In the contemporary world, there are a considerable number of countries that often oppress their own people. Oppression is an institution of the state, and it is one that goes against the natural order. This is especially considering that in the natural state, all individuals tend to fend for themselves and live their lives as they see fit. Furthermore, humans in the natural state do not often have conflicts with one another, and instead work together to ensure that there is the advancement of the interests of their own communities. Oppression, therefore, goes against the natural order to such an extent that it leads to the degradation of what is essentially being human. Human beings are individuals that have been designed in such a way that freedom makes them thrive while oppression not only degrades them, but also destroys their ability to achieve their full potential. One of the most significant examples of how oppression has a negative effect on individuals is seen in the story of Gilgamesh. This is a ruler who oppresses his people to such an extent that they cry out to the gods for help. The result is that they create a being like Gilgamesh, named Enkidu, who ends up matching him in a fight and from then on makes Gilgamesh a better ruler (Sanders 6). Therefore, freedom from oppression essentially means having a ruler or leader that has the interests of all his people at heart.
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The right to life is also an important factor when it comes to the advancement of what is human. This right is fundamental because individuals do not have the right to end the life of others without a just cause. In addition, the right to life can be considered important because most individuals, no matter their social class, tend to want to life for as long as possible. A result is that from time immemorial, there has been a fear of death, which has often led to a quest for immortality. The changes that take place in Gilgamesh following the arrival of Enkidu and the latter’s eventual death bring about a situation where he feels the need to achieve immortality (Sanders 16). His quest to achieve this objective and his eventual failure lead Gilgamesh to a situation where he accepts the dictates of nature. Therefore, even though death is inevitable, individuals should not be allowed to die before the end of their natural lifespan. Instead, they should be able to take pleasure in the life that they have because despite the trials and tribulations that individuals have to endure in the course of their lives, life is still often sweet. The right to life requires that individuals live in harmony with one another, because it is within such an environment that they can be able to secure one another against the violation of this fundamental right.
Being human should include the ability to take pleasure in life because it is the only way through which life would be worth living and enduring. Human societies need to come to terms with the need to end the belief that life is all about work and making ends meet, and should instead seek to promote the idea that life is first and foremost about pleasure. Deriving pleasure from the simple factors of life, such as seeing the sunrise and establishing initiatives aimed at leading to the advancement of an environment where everyone is able to achieve their personal fulfillment should be an essential aspect of being human. Such activities as a family spending time together can go a long way towards helping individuals to get to know one another. The Kama Sutra, for example, is an ancient text that on the surface deals with sex. However, it is so much more than that because it creates a perspective concerning how humans can be able to derive pleasure from their lives by removing some of the negative restrictions that society places on them (Kama Sutra 7). It is human nature to achieve the desires of one’s heart because it is a means through which to ensure that there is the derivation of pleasure from life, which makes it worth living. Thus, taking pleasure in life is fundamental in the achievement of the goal of improving oneself, which is an essential aspect of being human.
Human communities were originally formed as a means of ensuring that they provided one another with support against a world that was essentially hostile to lone individuals. However, the changes that have taken place in society have led to a situation where some individuals have gained or amassed more wealth and power than their fellows. Thus, while some individuals have all that they need in their lives, others are essentially deprived, despite the fact that they live in the same communities. The establishment of leadership and the exploitation of natural resources is the reason behind the social inequalities that have become prevalent in human societies. It is essential for human societies to ensure that there is the creation of means though which to support the less privileged in society achieve a quality of life that allows them to derive pleasure from it. When individuals provide support for one another, it becomes possible to have a society that is not only strengthened by its members, but it also allows them to establish a situation where they are able to live in harmony with one another. The attainment of human satisfaction should be the goal of societies (Ryff and Singer 13), because it will ensure that the exploitation of natural resources is conducted in a responsible way while at the same time allowing those who have excess resources to support those with less. In this way, there will be the achievement of an objective that is in line with what it means to be human.
Living in a just society is another important aspect of being human because it leads individuals to have a sense of security and allows them to achieve their potential. This means that there is need to ensure that the society works towards the development of just laws for all. Just laws ensure that there is the establishment of stability in such a way that allows for the creation of strong initiatives aimed at developing confidence in the legal system. An example of such an initiative can be found in the ancient world in the Code of Hammurabi, which promoted the establishment of a stable state. The Code of Hammurabi, which advanced the development of laws and punishments that befitted the crime, essentially “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” made it possible for members of his society to receive justice at an unprecedented level (King). Under such a code, which does not complicate matters in the same way as the contemporary legal system does, has the potential of leading to a situation where human beings are discouraged from committing crimes. In addition, it makes justice an essential part of the social fabric to such an extent that individuals feel confident enough to live in society without the fear that their rights will be violated. Therefore, rather than making the legal system more complex, it is important that it is simplified so that if there is irrefutable evidence that an individual committed a crime against another, justice is served immediately. The complexity of a legal system makes it difficult for individuals who have committed serious crimes to be brought to justice.
Social cohesion is an essential aspect of being human and it has been taking place for thousands of years. However, there are individuals and political interests in the contemporary society who are actively seeking to ensure that there is an emphasis of the differences between members of the same society in order to gain political and economic ascendancy (Andreotti). A result of such a situation is that it makes it difficult for individuals of different social and religious backgrounds to live together in harmony and it instead leads them into conflict with one another. In order to remedy such a situation, it is important for individuals to begin appreciating their differences, because the appreciation of diversity is an essential part of being human. Even though many would not admit it, there has been considerable social exchange over thousands of years, and it is because of this exchange that contemporary societies have been formed. The creation of a strong support system that protects the rights of minorities in society while allowing both the majority and minority to interact and get to know each other, is an objective which, if fulfilled, will greatly enhance the experience of being human.
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Being human means that individuals have the ability to create an environment where they are all able to attain happiness irrespective of their backgrounds. All humans have essentially the same needs that have to be satisfied in order to bring about harmony as well as justice in their lives. In order to achieve these goals, all societies have to ensure that they work towards fixing social problems that are prevalent in the contemporary world. Through such an initiative, it will be possible for individuals to stop focusing on simply making ends meet and other worries, and instead seek to derive pleasure from their lives, which should be the ultimate goal of being human. There is need to ensure that a society that cares for all of its constituents, and caters for all their interests at all times, is created. This is because it will help in the provision of the necessary support that individuals need to have fulfilling lives. Human beings, unlike other animals, are creatures that have the ability to think rationally, and the exercise of this ability in constructive ways can help in the advancement of the interests of the entire race. One of the biggest challenges that faces humanity, which has been the case for a long time, has been the greed and ambitions of individuals to ensure that they acquire as much wealth and power as possible. This situation is always at the expense of a majority of the population, which often has to work for long hours and attain little benefits for their efforts. Under such circumstances, it is essential to make sure that there is the creation a just and equitable society that requires that those individuals who have the means support initiatives aimed at raising the living standards of all the members of their societies. Increasing wages and reducing living costs can also enable the underprivileged members of society to attain a higher quality of life than is currently the case. The available resources across the world are enough to support all human beings and it is essential that they are utilized appropriately to benefit all people rather than only a few individuals that form the global elite.
- De Andreotti, Vanessa Oliveira. “Soft versus critical global citizenship education.” Development education in policy and practice. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2014.
- King, Leonard William. The code of Hammurabi. Netlancers Inc, 2014.
- Ryff, Carol D., and Burton H. Singer. “Know thyself and become what you are: A eudaimonic approach to psychological well-being.” The exploration of happiness. Springer Netherlands, 2013. 97-116.
- Sanders, Nancy, ed. The epic of Gilgamesh. Penguin, 1972.
- The Kama Sutra of Vatsayayana. Kessinger Publishing, 2004.