Contemporary understanding of what it is to be human has been morphed again and again by advancing scientific understanding. First the human went from the animistic spirit thing, then on to the the polytheistic and monotheistic soul as a specific embodiment of god(s). With the dawn of the renaissance and positivism religious definitions finally became moot and the search began anew for an all encompassing definition of humanity. Mechanistic Cartesianisms came to dominate and have done so through much of contemporary thought, causing conflict and contention with the religious definitions of the self that attempt to reconcile themselves with the modern world-view.
Life is a cheese pie; all your favourite things, just never quite the right way. Scratch that. Life is like a tennis ball, soft and smooth and always on the rebound. Wait, that was my ex. Okay, we’ve got it here: Life is like a box of 1969 chocolates: stale, mouldy, and best when consumed with THC? (Speaking anecdotally, of course.)
I once made the crack to some friends at university that after so much indecision I had finally decided on a course of study; Theory. After some initial blank stares I got a few laughs out of it. One of my friends, now a resource management masters student at Waterloo’s School of Planning, really latched onto the idea. Little did I know that if I had gone back to the school at Athens, or maybe even any place that called itself a university before 1945, I would have found most of my professors telling me this was the entire point of post-secondary education. After all, no one becomes a doctor of biology, psychology or mathematics. Those that attain a Ph.D. are, as the name suggests, doctorates of philosophy with specializations in these topic areas.