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The human condition encompasses the totality of the experience of being human and living human lives. As finite and mortal entities, there are a series of biologically determined events that are common to most human lives, and some that are inevitable for all. The ongoing way in which humans react to or cope with these events is the human condition. However, understanding the precise nature and scope of what is meant by the term "human condition" is itself a philosophical problem.

The term is also used in a metaphysical sense, to describe the joy, terror, humor and other feelings or emotions associated with being and existence. Humans, to an apparently superlative degree amongst all living things, are aware of the passage of time, can remember the past and imagine the future, and are aware of their own mortality. Only humans are known to ask themselves questions relating to the purpose of life beyond the base need for survival, or the nature of existence beyond that which is empirically apparent: What is the meaning of existence? Why was I born? Why am I here? What happens when I die? The human struggle to find answers to these questions — and the very fact that humans can conceive them and ask them — is what defines the human condition in this sense of the term.

Although the term itself may have gained popular currency with André Malraux’s novel (1933) and René Magritte’s paintings (1933 & 1935), both entitled La Condition Humaine, and with Hannah Arendt’s book (1958) and Masaki Kobayashi’s film trilogy (1959-1961)[1][2][3] which examined these and related concepts, the quest to understand the human condition dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.

Contents

Study

The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, cultural studies, and sociobiology. The philosophical school of existentialism deals with the ongoing search for ultimate meaning in the human condition.

In most developed countries, improvements in medicine, education, and public health have brought about quantitative, not necessarily qualitative, marked changes in the human condition over the last few hundred years, with increases in life expectancy and demography (see demographic transition). One of the largest changes has been the availability of contraception, which has changed the sexual lives (and attitudes toward sexuality) of countless humans. Even then, these changes only alter the details of the human condition. In some of the most primitive parts of the world, the human condition has changed little over the centuries.

Possibilities of change

Certain movements, most prominently transhumanism, aim to radically change the human condition. Some thinkers, like Enrico Fermi and others, deny that human nature has really changed in any fundamentally meaningful way over time and that, despite all of the social and scientific advances that have occurred, human beings remain essentially unchanged and merely have been transplanted into progressively more complex environments. Transhumanist theorists agree; however, they argue that this is precisely the problem. In transhumanist thought, the human species clearly has come as far as it can usefully go in terms of biological evolution, and if they, as intelligent life forms, intend to keep progressing at what they consider to be a reasonable pace, humans must dramatically alter the parameters of life, via emerging technologies. Opponents of transhumanism such as extreme neo-luddites, and moderate bioconservatives assert that human nature, as we currently know it, is sufficient for all intents and purposes, and therefore does not necessitate any upgrades.

Many transhumanists hold a positive and embracing view of life itself, but see the existence of the human mind and its human body as a something of a cosmic tragedy, because every human being is consigned to death after a relatively short and delimited life, even while humans have the intellectual capacity to imagine a better world that is presently beyond their experience. The human condition, to the transhumanist, is an oppressive circumstance to be rationally overcome through the judicious application of science and technology.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ningen no joken I, the first installment the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053114/
  2. ^ Ningen no joken II, the second installment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053115/
  3. ^ Ningen no joken III, the third installment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055233/


The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. The "human condition" is especially studied through the set of disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities. The study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts all help understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up our lives.

Although the term itself may have gained popular currency with André Malraux’s novel (1933) and René Magritte’s paintings 1933 & 1935, both entitled La Condition Humaine, and with Hannah Arendt’s book (1958) and Masaki Kobayashi’s film trilogy (1959-1961)[1][2][3] which examined these and related concepts, the quest to understand the human condition dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.

Contents

Study

The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, cultural studies, and sociobiology. The philosophical school of existentialism deals with the ongoing search for ultimate meaning in the human condition.

In most developed countries, improvements in medicine, education, and public health have brought about quantitative, not necessarily qualitative, marked changes in the human condition over the last few hundred years, with increases in life expectancy and population (see demographic transition). One of the largest changes has been the availability of contraception, which has changed the sexual lives (and attitudes toward sexuality) of countless humans. Even then, these changes only alter the details of the human condition. In some of the most primitive parts of the world, the human condition has changed little over the centuries.

There are several theories as to what we as humans all have in common. A popular example is that humans search for purpose. We are curious and thrive with new information.

Possibilities of change

Certain movements, most prominently transhumanism, aim to radically change the human condition. Some thinkers, like Enrico Fermi and others, deny that human nature has really changed in any fundamentally meaningful way over time and that, despite all of the social and scientific advances that have occurred, humans remain essentially unchanged and have been merely transplanted into progressively more complex environments. Transhumanist theorists agree; however, they argue that this is precisely the problem. In transhumanist thought, the human species clearly has come as far as it can usefully go in terms of biological evolution, and if they, as intelligent life forms, intend to keep progressing at what they consider to be a reasonable pace, humans must dramatically alter the parameters of life, via emerging technologies. Opponents of transhumanism such as extreme neo-luddites, and moderate bioconservatives assert that human nature, as we currently know it, is sufficient for all intents and purposes, and therefore does not necessitate any upgrades.

Many transhumanists hold a positive and embracing view of life itself, but see the existence of the human mind and its human body as something of a cosmic tragedy, because every human being is consigned to death after a relatively short and delimited life, even while humans have the intellectual capacity to imagine a better world that is presently beyond their experience. The human condition, to the transhumanist, is an oppressive circumstance to be rationally overcome through the judicious application of science and technology.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ningen no joken I, the first instalment the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053114/
  2. ^ Ningen no joken II, the second instalment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053115/
  3. ^ Ningen no joken III, the third instalment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055233/








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