Every philosophy or culture seems to have a different definition for ‘humanity.’ The definition of what we should be. The Confucian principle of humanity(ren) for instance has a very different meaning than the Western ‘equivalent.’
To those who are Loud and extroverted, it is our emotions and ability to empathize that constitute humanity.
Those who do not immediately appear to possess these faculties are flawed and lacking as humans.
Look at nearly every scientist, nerd, or thinker as portrayed in popular cinema. The verdict: people who have all the wrong priorities. People who have distanced themselves from their own humanity or only had a very weak sense of it in the first place.
In trying to be something non-human, the mad scientist commits the crime of hubris. Invariably, a mistake is made or a mess created. The powers of intellect without the guidance of a Correct social consciousness prove disastrously short sighted.
In Independence Day, a scientist is fascinated with studying alien life, but he lacks the humanity and moral vision to realize that his academic prying is trivial next to one overriding fact: The aliens are evil. Lacking human moral sense, he gets himself and his crew killed when they try to cut open a dangerous alien on an operating table.
In the Polar Express one bad kid stands out from all the others. He’s not evil, just Incorrect. He’s the brainiac kid who knows lots of facts but doesn’t understand people, what it means to be a person, the social role he’s supposed to play. All the other kids seem to barely tolerate his presence. He repeatedly brings forth rational or profit-making considerations while they’re all riding on a magic train. Sometimes everyone just stares at him in shock for a moment, realizing he still hasn’t clued in.
In the Loud world view, there is indeed an idea of the magical that removes us from the mechanical and makes us human. Most of us just ‘get it’ but there’s always a few who don’t or won’t. This is the magic of being able to relate to most other people. Popular entertainment sends us an important message: No matter how smart, talented, or accomplished one might be, one is fundamentally flawed, incomplete, inhuman without an emotional understanding with the group.
To one who is Subtle, the level of the emotional, the empathetic, the group conscious, is a lower plane. It is more animal than human, really. Most processes are carried out on the level of intuition or the subconscious. The conscious will, the human has very little to do with it.
What really makes us human beings, in the Subtle perspective, is curiosity, a sense of reverential wonder, a deep love of life itself. Not mere rote powers of reason as the Loud commonly seem to believe, but to delight in their use, to fuel the imagination.
When we’re seen reading yet another ‘useless’ book, searching for philosophical justifications of things taken for granted, or learning about the workings of distant stars, the Loud are bewildered. They do not see the social, emotional motive in our actions. Therefore no humanity. To them, we are lifeless machines ticking methodically through reams of data…
As a kid, I would beg my parents for field guides. In time I had a private collection. At one point I had memorized just about every order of insect and all the parts of a sea anemone. Just a couple of years ago, I met someone who had studied marine biology. He was a bit surprised that I knew off hand that a ‘radula’ was chitinous cephalopod mouthpart, whether the rasping ‘tongue’ of a snail or the ‘beak’ of an octopus or squid.
To many people, my childhood activities no doubt seemed obsessive, mechanical, and pathological.
To me, it was just fun stuff I did during childhood same as playing video games.
There was nothing lifeless about it. Reaching out and learning all those little things about the universe around me was an act of affirmation of the love of life.
If there is a God, I imagine it would have felt a similar love for all those small details during the act of creation.
And as a human, I was merely following in the footsteps of the creator.