What makes man truly human?

Essay by terridax December 2005

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In understanding how can man be truly human, first is the reason for the human freedom and this freedom is the most important aspect of making human truly human. One of the most important problems with which we have to deal in our reflections on man, and one which constantly recurs, is the problem of man's freedom. The problem has aroused innumerable discussions, not only among philosophers but also among theologians, and the passion with which controversy was often carried on is an indication of the fact that in this problem we deal not with some unimportant aspect of man's nature, but rather with the whole man in his total life. Though this freedom usually was thought of in terms of freedom of the will, nevertheless it was man's freedom which was under discussion, the freedom of the human being who chooses and acts and who follows his way through life in "freedom."

We gain the impression that men are often little conscious of this complexity in their manifold use of the concept of freedom, in everyday practical life, all sorts of restrictions play so great a role, restrictions experienced as essentially alien and as threatening, that we are sometimes inclined without further thought to proclaim "free from" as the essence of freedom. And this definition often finds expression in everyday life. Thus we speak of liberalism in the political and social area, meaning that the state should allow man's life to keep its "freedom"; and we speak of freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and so forth. In this all a protest is registered against restrictions on human life which cannot be tolerated, as, for example, when during a period of occupation by a foreign power a people undergoes an experience of losing our freedom,