What are the things that make us human?

This is one of the great questions, and it is possible that an adequate answer would include an infinite number of perspectives, but I will try to give an answer which at least describes the (seemingly illogical) anatomy of personhood.

No person can be reduced to a clearly-defined single entity. All people exist in a paradoxical agreement of unified yet exclusive states, all of which can be rightly described as the person in question (i.e. not ‘part of' or ‘an aspect' of them) but none of which are valid independently.

A person is a Mind, a Body and a Social Influence.

I expect my source material for this description is becoming clear at this point, so I will use some of the language from that source to explain these entities and their relationships. Bear with me, I think it will be worth it to you.

The Mind is not the Body and the Body is not the Mind but they are clearly One. The Body does (in states of health) only as the Mind directs, but the Mind is fully responsive to the Body and to consider one as controlling the other is erroneous even on the deepest levels accessible to our scientists and philosophers.

Even though the Body manifests the Mind, it is not (and I think this a difficult and profound point) the Body nor the Mind that we primarily experience when interacting with a person. We sense the Body in a physical manner (if we are nearby), but the Communication that proceeds from the Mind through the Body and (actually, not virtually) enters into another person and changes them is neither the Body nor the Mind - I call it the Social Influence.

Before my argument becomes too apparently mystic to be tolerated I ask this: am I not just describing simple speech or the written word? If you are reading this, you have probably never met me physically, yet this common, culturally-appropriate text which has been created by my fingers manipulating a (very technologically advanced, yet fully part of the mundane world) tool is reaching your mind through your body and directly influencing your function as a person. I am clearly not ‘posessing' you, but in a sense you now ‘know me' through this indescribably complex yet everyday process. You may not like me, you may think I'm ridiculous, but you have met me. You have interacted with a person.

We cannot say you have met my Mind or my Body individually - you have primarily met my Social Influence - but of course (as we have seen) they cannot be meaningfully divided. My Social Influence did not type this sentence, my Mind cannot be sensed and I don't expect my body is anywhere near you.

Hence, I argue that the question ‘what makes a person?' is best answered by applying the same seemingly paradoxical but evidently appropriate descriptions of the Triune Person of whom all visible people are an Image.


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