- For other uses, see Human (disambiguation).
Humans (Homo sapiens), also known as people, are apes. They are the extant members of the tribe Hominina, and together with chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans, they are also part of the family Hominidae (also known as the great apes or hominids). Humans are terrestrial animals, characterized by their erect posture and bipedal locomotion; high manual dexterity and heavy tool use compared to other animals; open-ended and complex language use compared to other animal communications; larger, more complex brains than other primates; and highly advanced and organized societies.
- Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
- Douglas Adams, Last Chance to See (1990).
- You are the descendant of a tiny cell of primordial protoplasm washed up on an empty beach three and a half billion years ago. You are the blind and arbitrary product of time, chance, and natural forces. You are a mere grab-bag of atomic particles, a conglomeration of genetic substance. You exist on a tiny planet in a minute solar system in an empty corner of a universe. You are a purely biological entity, different only in degree but not in kind from a microbe, virus, or amoeba. You have no essence beyond your body, and at death you will cease to exist entirely. In short you come from nothing and are going to nowhere.
- You are the special creation of a good and all-powerful God. You are created in His image; with capacities to think, feel, and worship that set you above all other life forms. You differ from the animals not simply in degree but in kind. Not only is your kind unique, but you are unique among you kind. Your Creator loves you so much and so intensely desires you companionship and affection that he has a perfect plan for you life. In addition God gave the life of His only son that you might spend eternity with Him. If you are willing to accept his gift of salvation, you can become a child of God.
- Randy Alcorn, quoted in Dinesh D'Souza, What's so Great About Christianity (Regnery, 2007), pp. 15-16
- Humans are proud of themselves. The guiding principle of the modern age is "Man is the measure of all things." And our bodies have excited physiologists and philosophers to a profound awe of the basic mammalian design. But the history of the dinosaurs should teach us some humility... If our fundamental mammalian mode of adaptation was superior to the dinosaurs', then history should record the meteoric rise of the mammals and the eclipse of the dinosaurs. Our own Class Mammalia did not seize the dominant position in life on land. Instead, the mammal clan was but one of many separate evolutionary families that succeeded as species only by taking refuge in small body size during the Age of Dinosaurs. As long as there were dinosaurs, a full 130 million years, remember, the warm-blooded league of furry mammals produced no species bigger than a cat.
- Robert T. Bakker (1986), The Dinosaur Heresies: A Revolutionary View of Dinosaurs, Longman Scientific & Technical, p. 17
- Our species is prone to a flattering view of itself. Humans have regarded themselves as the pinnacle of creation, formed by and in the image of an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God, and inhabiting a planet at the center of the universe—a planet around which all others revolve. Science has done much to debunk some of these ideas. We now know that our planet is not at the center of the universe: the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa. And we know—or at least some of us do—that we are Johnny-come-lately products of a long, blind evolutionary process.
- Humans inflict untold suffering and death on many billions of animals every year, and the overwhelming majority of humans are heavily complicit.
- I judge people by what they might be, — not are, nor will be.
- Robert Browning, English poet. A Soul’s Tragedy, Act II.
- Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception.
From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2270, Archived October 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful, something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy.
- Edith Cavell, as quoted in The Economist (15 October 2010), p. 107.
- Much of reproductive ethics is concerned, both within the Catholic tradition and without, with issues surrounding abortion. Within the Catholic bioethics tradition, much attention has also been given to issues of contraception and the use of new reproductive technologies or assisted reproduction. Often, but not always, these discussions concern the taking of human life. The problem of abortion, the incidental effects of assisted reproduction vis-à-vis the disposal of “spare” embryos, and more recent questions about the creation or use of young embryos to extract stem cells have all been addressed by the Church in recent years in terms of the taking of human life.
- John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a grave and clear obligation to oppose any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them. … In this context, it must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals.
- Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Doctrinal Note on Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life”, no.4, (January 16, 2003)
- The dignity of a person must be recognized in every human being from conception to natural death. This fundamental principle expresses a great "yes" to human life and must be at the center of ethical reflection on biomedical research, which has an ever greater importance in today's world.
- “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, "Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions”, n.1, (20 June 2008).
- By taking the interrelationship of these two dimensions, the human and the divine, as the starting point, one understands better why it is that man has unassailable value: he possesses an eternal vocation and is called to share in the trinitarian love of the living God.
This value belongs to all without distinction. By virtue of the simple fact of existing, every human being must be fully respected. The introduction of discrimination with regard to human dignity based on biological, psychological, or educational development, or based on health-related criteria, must be excluded. At every stage of his existence, man, created in the image and likeness of God, reflects "the face of his Only-begotten Son... This boundless and almost incomprehensible love of God for the human being reveals the degree to which the human person deserves to be loved in himself, independently of any other consideration – intelligence, beauty, health, youth, integrity, and so forth. In short, human life is always a good, for it 'is a manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory' (Evangelium vitae, 34)".
- “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, "Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions”, “First Part: Anthropological, Theological and Ethical Aspects of Human Life and Procreation”, n.8, (20 June 2008).
- Recently animal oocytes have been used for reprogramming the nuclei of human somatic cells — this is generally called hybrid cloning — in order to extract embryonic stem cells from the resulting embryos without having to use human oocytes.
From the ethical standpoint, such procedures represent an offense against the dignity of human beings on account of the admixture of human and animal genetic elements capable of disrupting the specific identity of man. The possible use of the stem cells, taken from these embryos, may also involve additional health risks, as yet unknown, due to the presence of animal genetic material in their cytoplasm. To consciously expose a human being to such risks is morally and ethically unacceptable.
- “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, "Dignitas Personae: On Certain Bioethical Questions”, “Third Part: New Problems Concerning Procreation”, “Attempts at hybridization”, n.33, (20 June 2008).
- If one denies human life its absolute, transcendental character, the human person loses his inalienable worthiness and his inviolable rights. Then society determines what rights are to be bestowed on a person, and the State becomes absolute lord and master. As in all totalitarian regimes, the ethical function of defining good and evil does not depend on religion or conscience, but on political power. And this power is increasingly shared with medical doctors and scientists. Dr. Simon puts it this way: "Although society does not cease to influence the medical profession, the medical profession increasingly forms the face and the purpose of modern society. It becomes more and more difficult to escape the political involvement of medical doctors, because they no longer have as their only purpose the health of the people but involve themselves in changing their goal and thus in changing morals. And they participate more and more in political power, just as do other scientists."
- Thierry Dejond, S. J., "Contraception", “Contraception”, This article originally was printed by Emmaus under the title "Contraception: a social problem.", Eternal Word Television Network, 1996
- In summary, Saints Thomas and Jerome were postulating a theory based upon the best medical knowledge of their time, which had been set forth by Aristotle centuries before. Aristotle taught that the unborn did not become human until forty days after conception. This notion was only discarded in 1621, based upon the work of Paulo Zacchia in his Quaestiones Medico-Legales, question 9.1.
- Donovan, Colin B, [www.ewtn.com/expert/answers/abortio2.htm "Abortion - Exocommunication"], “Saints Thomas and Jerome.”, Eternal Word Television Network, Retrieved 2007-06-24.
- Man is, at one and the same time, a solitary being and a social being. As a solitary being, he attempts to protect his own existence and that of those who are closest to him, to satisfy his personal desires, and to develop his innate abilities. As a social being, he seeks to gain the recognition and affection of his fellow human beings, to share in their pleasures, to comfort them in their sorrows, and to improve their conditions of life. Only the existence of these varied, frequently conflicting, strivings accounts for the special character of a man, and their specific combination determines the extent to which an individual can achieve an inner equilibrium and can contribute to the well-being of society.
- A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.
- Mankind. That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom. Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We're fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice: We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!
- What they [the Cactus Bristle gang] discovered is that people were not influenced by principles, such as the difference between democracy and communism, Judaism versus Islam, or even rich versus poor. They found people did not generally comprehend or like abstract principles. All people wanted was a place they called their own, a good job, and the ability to make life decisions with ample access to television.
- Michael Scott Gallegos, "Lid: A Desert Shanty Town" (Nov 5, 2011) in "Cactus Bristle"
- I've helped him into an act of humanity. Anyone else like the sound of that: act of humanity?
- The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick, and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.
- Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms (1955), Section 124.
- It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor. … Some of the worst tyrannies of our day genuinely are "vowed" to the service of mankind, yet can function only by pitting neighbor against neighbor. The all-seeing eye of a totalitarian regime is usually the watchful eye of the next-door neighbor. In a Communist state love of neighbor may be classed as counter-revolutionary.
- Eric Hoffer, The Ordeal of Change (1963), Ch. 11: Brotherhood.
- In this unexpected scenario, the UFO occupants -- despite their obvious technological superiority -- are desperate for both human genetic material and the ability to feel human emotions -- particularly maternal emotions. Unlikely though it may seem, it is possible that the very survival of these extraterrestrials depends upon their success in absorbing chemical and psychological properties received from human abductees.
- Budd Hopkins, in Intruders: The Incredible Visitations at Copley Woods, p. 190
- With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
- Human life is sacred—all men must recognize that fact. From its very inception it reveals the creating hand of God.
- Pope John XXIII, ‘’Mater et Magistra’’: AAS 53 (1961), 447 [TPS VII, 331].
- Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.
- Immanuel Kant, Idea for a General History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose (1784), Proposition 6.
- I have tried to express that to apply the category “human race” to what it means to be a human being, especially as a term for the highest, is a misunderstanding and paganism, because the human race, humankind, is different from an “animalkind” not only by the advantage of race but by this humanness, that every individual in the human race (not just an outstanding individual, but every individual) is more than the race. This has its basis in the God-relationship (and this is Christianity, whose category the single individual is so strangely laughed to scorn by an esteemed Christian age), because to relate oneself to God is far superior to relating oneself to the race or through the race to God. This I have striven to express.
- The Point of View On My Work As An Author by Soren Kierkegaard (finished 1848) published by Peter Christian Kierkegaard 1859 translated by Howard and Edna Hong 1998 Princeton University Press Note p. 87-88
- I think the noblest part of man is the fact that he could transcend himself if he really tried. I mean, man is a very pliable object. It's been proven that you can put a man in 120 degrees of heat, hold him there for a certain amount of time and this guy - he's not going to walk out chipper, but he's going to walk out. Man has been subjected to what they might call 'killing stress' and he's walked out of that. In fact, I underate stress. Man can do something we might consider a super-act. Man can bend steel, and under stress he might be able to bend some even more intractable object. Man with training can perform super-acts. In other words, man can transcend himself in many ways.
- Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
- Society is composed only of various conditions, professions, functions, and ways of life, among those who form what we call a Nation; of proprietors of the soil, and proprietors of houses; of investments, of handicrafts, of merchants, of manufacturers, of formers; of day-laborers becoming fanners, manufacturers, merchants, or possessors of houses or capital, in their turn; of the rich, of those in easy circumstances, of the poor, of workmen with their hands, workmen with their minds; of day-laborers, of those in need, of a small number of men enjoying considerable acquired or inherited wealth, of others of a smaller fortune painfully increased and improved, of others with property only sufficient for their needs; there are some, finally, without any personal possession but their hands, and gleaning for themselves and for their families, in the workshop, or the field, and at the threshold of the homes of others on the earth, the asylum, the wages, the bread, the instruction, the tools, the daily pay, all those means of existence which they have neither inherited, saved, nor acquired. These last are what have been improperly called the People.
- Alphonse de Lamartine, Atheism Among the People, (1850) p. 19-20.
- You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. Because, I mean I don't want to be like "As Confucius say," but under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens man that people are different.
- Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (1971)
- Every human heart is human.
- Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, were stocky hunters adapted to Europe's cold steppes.
The related Denisovans inhabited Asia, while the more primitive Homo erectus lived in Indonesia, and Homo rhodesiensis in central Africa.
Several short, small-brained species survived alongside them: Homo naledi in South Africa, Homo luzonensis in the Philippines, Homo floresiensis ("hobbits") in Indonesia, and the mysterious Red Deer Cave People in China.
Given how quickly we're discovering new species, more are likely waiting to be found.
By 10,000 years ago, they were all gone. The disappearance of these other species resembles a mass extinction. But there's no obvious environmental catastrophe – volcanic eruptions, climate change, asteroid impact – driving it.
- Nick Longrich, “Were other humans the first victims of the sixth mass extinction?”, The Conversation, (November 21, 2019)
- But why would our ancestors wipe out their relatives, causing a mass extinction – or, perhaps more accurately, a mass genocide?
The answer lies in population growth. Humans reproduce exponentially, like all species. Unchecked, we historically doubled our numbers every 25 years. And once humans became cooperative hunters, we had no predators.
Without predation controlling our numbers, and little family planning beyond delayed marriage and infanticide, populations grew to exploit the available resources.
Further growth, or food shortages caused by drought, harsh winters or overharvesting resources would inevitably lead tribes into conflict over food and foraging territory. Warfare became a check on population growth, perhaps the most important one.
- Nick Longrich, “Were other humans the first victims of the sixth mass extinction?”, The Conversation, (November 21, 2019)
- Laborin' man an' laborin' woman
Hev one glory an' one shame;
Ev'ythin' thet's done inhuman
Injers all on 'em the same.
- James Russell Lowell, The Biglow Papers (1848), First Series. No. 1, Stanza 10.
- Let’s have what many people were calling for long before this disaster hit: a green new deal. But please let’s stop describing it as a stimulus package. We have stimulated consumption too much over the past century, which is why we face environmental disaster. Let us call it a survival package, whose purpose is to provide incomes, distribute wealth and avoid catastrophe, without stoking perpetual economic growth. Bail out the people, not the corporations. Bail out the living world, not its destroyers.
- Adam Strange: Monsters. Always one kind of another: Cactus man; Bird man…
Sometimes I forget. I forget that I have an appendix and she doesn’t; hair on my body where her people have none. Forget that however we dress, to them…
To them we’re all monsters.
- All humans, male and female, are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and, therefore, have intrinsic dignity that should be respected and honored. Indeed, the breath of life in all human beings is a gift from God (Genesis 2:7) and thus inherently holy. The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has pledged to protect the sanctity of human life and to safeguard its nature. In light of our respect for the precious gift of life, the NAE continues to speak on the sensitive subject of abortion.
- A minority current of medieval theology put a value on multiplying the number of human souls. Its most prominent exponent was Duns Scotus. Putting forward the thesis that “to want to procreate children” is good or bad depending on the circumstances, Scotus constructs an argument that would seem to favor limitless procreation: “through the procreation of offspring the city of supernatural citizens is restored in human nature; and to this end, human nature, as multiplied, is per se ordained; for to this end the All Highest has disposed it according to faith, in order to repair thef all of the angels” (‘’On the Sentences [Paris Report] 4.28’’). Taken literally, this proposition would seem to be, the more offspring, the bigger the population of heaven. The theme appears in some preaching: procreation is “to repair the fall of Lucifer in heaven.” St. Bernardine speaks of marriage as divinely ordained “to fill paradise” (‘’The Christian Religion’’ 48.1.1).
This view of the purpose of marriage received its strongest official approval in a papal bull promulgated b Eugene IV at the Council of Florence, November 22, 1439, celebrating the reunion with the schismatic Armenians. The bull, ‘’Exultate Deo’’, enumerated and briefly described the sacraments. It said, “Through order the Church is indeed governed and multiplied spiritually; through matrimony it is corporally increased” (Mansi 31:1054). The contrast with holy orders was obviously of a neat, schematic kind. The bull is the medieval high-water mark of the theory of population increase as a value.
The majority of theologians did not accept this view. Typical is St. Thomas, who spoke of “the multiplication of offspring to be educated to the service of God” as a purpose for marriage only for the polygamous patriarchs of the Old Testament ( On ‘’the Sentences’’ 184.108.40.206). Even among the minority, the emphasis on population was not made a direct objection to contraception. Nor did they press their view to the logical extreme of maintaining that the optimal endeavor would be to conceive as many children as possible provided that their baptism was assured. Against this logical extension stood the valuations put on virginity and on the welfare of the child. These factors, which checked even those theologians in favor of increasing the population of heaven, operated with still greater impact on the majority who remained unimpressed with this reason for procreation. Indeed, the stress laid on virginity and on the welfare of the child made is impossible for most thoughtful authors to urge that population as such was a value. An examination of the commitment to these counter values will show the strength of the forces working against the appeal to numbers for their own or heaven’s sake.
- John Noonan, “Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians and Canonists”, Harvard University Press, 1965 (2nd edition 1986), Chapter X Counter Approaches
- I don't think that corporations are these big bogeymen that a lot of people paint them to be. … A corporation is a group of people, and if you want to come together for profit or nonprofit, that's your business—whatever you want to do.
- Krist Novoselic, interviewed by Nick Gillespie, "Nirvana's Krist Novoselic on Punk, Politics, & Why He Dumped the Dems", ReasonTV (19 June 2014), 15:30–15:37, 17:10–17:20.
- But the Church firmly believes that human life, even if weak and suffering, is always a splendid gift of God's goodness. Against the pessimism and selfishness which cast a shadow over the world, the Church stands for life: In each human life she sees the splendor of that 'Yes', that 'Amen', who is Christ himself. To the 'no' which assails and afflicts the world, she replies with this living 'Yes', thus defending the human person and the world from all who plot against and harm life.
- John Paul II, Apost. Exhort. Familiaris Consortio, Nov. 22, 1981, n. 30).
- Cooperating with God to call new human beings into existence means contributing to the transmission of that divine image and likeness of which everyone 'born of a woman' is a bearer" ‘
- John Paul II, Letter to Families Gratissimam Sane, February 2, 1994, n. 8).
- In begetting human life biology demands that it goes beyond itself. This cannot fail to have implications on the ethical level too: what concerns the begetting of human life cannot be treated as if it were a mere biological event subject to any sort of manipulation.
- Man and woman cease to be humans
once they get lost into crowds.
- Suman Pokhrel, Standing in a Market
- Think not that God doth not heed the deeds of those who do mischief. He but giveth them respite against a Day when the eyes will fixedly stare in horror: They running forward with necks outstretched, their heads uplifted, their gaze returning not towards them, and their hearts a (gaping) void! So warn mankind of the Day when the Wrath will reach them: then will the wrongdoers say: "Our Lord! respite us (if only) for a short term: we will answer Thy call, and follow the apostles!" "What! were ye not wont to swear aforetime that ye should suffer no decline? "And ye dwelt in the dwellings of men who wronged their own souls; ye were clearly shown how We dealt with them; and We put forth (many) parables in your behoof!" Mighty indeed were the plots which they made, but their plots were (well) within the sight of God, even though they were such as to shake the hills!
- Quran 14:42-46
- Woe to man! How ungrateful is he! Of what substance did He create him? Of a sperm-drop. It is He who creates him, and fashions him, then provides nourishment for him, Then it is He who decides him to die, then puts him to a grave, Then; when He will, He revives him. (But) Nay! had he fulfilled what He had commanded him?
- Quran 80:17-23
- It seems that every life form on this planet strives toward its maximum potential...except human beings. A tree does not row to half its potential size and then say, “l guess that will do.” A tree will drive its roots as deep as possible. It will soak up as much nourishment as it can, stretch as high and as wide as nature will allow, and then look down as if to remind us of how much each of us could become if we would only do all that we can.
- Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces To the Life Puzzle (1991).
- A person's lifeworm is a tangle of atomic worldlines. A braid. The dotty little atoms trace out smooth lines in spacetime: you are the pattern that these lines make up. There is no one single atom that is exclusively yours. I breathe an atom out, you breathe it in. Your garbage helps my tomatoes grow. And so the little spacetime threads weave us all together. The human race is a single vast tapestry, linked by our shared food and air. There are larger links as well: sperm, egg and umblilicus. Each family tree is an organic whole. Your spacetime body tapers back to the threads of mother's egg and father's sperm. And children, if you have them, are forever rooted in your flesh.
- Rudy Rucker in The Sex Sphere, p. 108.
- Most people aren’t as interesting as they think they are.
- Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.
- "I swear that what I went through, no animal would have gone through." This sentence, the noblest ever spoken, this sentence that defines man's place in the universe, that honors him, that re-establishes the true hierarchy, floated back into my thoughts.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French writer. Wind, Sand and Stars
- The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
- Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes (1936).
- Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.
- Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.
- Variant translations:
- Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
- As quoted in The Motivated Brain : A Neurophysiological Analysis of Human Behavior (1991) by Pavel Vasilʹevich Simonov, p. 198.
- Man can do what he wants but he cannot want what he wants.
- [F]rom the time of our emergence as Homo sapiens, perhaps as long as 195,000 years ago (McDougall et al. 2005; White et al. 2003), we have lived as hunter-gatherers, picking fruit from trees, foraging wild grains, digging for vegetables, and hunting animals both large and small. The power of our own experiences, “living in the now” and the effects of socialization that make “normal” simply what we are used to, can obscure the fact that the technocratic society we know and reproduce in today accounts for less than 1% of human history (Table 1). Only 1-2% of our biological make-up has evolved since the ape-human split between 5 and 7 million years ago, meaning that the vast majority of our genes are ancient in origin (Trevathan et al. 2008). There have been a few simple genetic changes since the third little pig and his wife invented agriculture around 10-12,000 years ago, but the pace of cultural evolution is generally much faster than biological evolution. As a result, humans today occupy 35,000-year-old model bodies that are not particularly well adapted to the technocratic and industrializing cultures many of us live in (Armelagos et a. 2005; Eaton et al. 2002).
- Helaine Selin, “Childbirth Across Cultures: Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum”, edited Helaine Selin, Pamela K Stone, (2009), p.4
- One of the primary contributions of evolutionary approaches in anthropology has been to remind us that Homo sapiens today still live in Paleolithic bodies adapted for the stressors faced by the first little pig. Current diet, lifestyle and reproductive patterns are drastically different from those that produced the selective pressure under which humans and human childbirth evolved. This mismatch in genes and culture promotes, accelerates, and fosters certain ]]diseases]], especially those associated with changes in diet, reduced exercise levels and excessively interventive and mechanistic approaches to childbirth (Cheyney 2003, 2005; Trevathan et al. 1999, 2008). The notion that discontinuities between the conditions under which humans evolved and the conditions we live in today produce disease is called the “discordance hypothesis”, and it forms the foundation for a relatively new subfield of Medical Anthropology called Evolutionary or Darwinian Medicine. This approach examines health conditions generated by the discordance between evolved biology and current culture and attempts to propose evolutionarily sound solutions or treatments (Stearns et al. 2008; Trevathan et al. 1999, 2008; Williams and Nesse 1991).
- Helaine Selin, “Childbirth Across Cultures: Ideas and Practices of Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Postpartum”, edited Helaine Selin, Pamela K Stone, (2009), pp.4-5
- I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
- Every man’s death does diminish us. And it follows that every man’s poverty, every man’s indignity, every man’s frustration and hopelessness – they are a part of mankind.
- A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.
- Not only did the lord make the world appear in its correct form, the lord who never changes the destinies which he determines – Enlil – who will make the human seed of the Land come forth from the earth – and not only did he hasten to separate heaven from earth, and hasten to separate earth from heaven, but, in order to make it possible for humans to grow in "where flesh came forth" [the name of a cosmic location], he first raised the axis of the world at Dur-an-ki. He did this with the help of the hoe -- and so daylight broke forth. By distributing the shares of duty he established daily tasks, and for the hoe and the carrying-basket wages were even established. ... Here, in 'Where Flesh Came Forth', he set this very hoe to work; he had it place the first model of mankind in the brick mould. His Land started to break through the soil towards Enlil. He looked with favour at his black-headed people. Now the Anuna gods stepped forward to him, and did obeisance to him. They calmed Enlil with a prayer, for they wanted to demand the black-headed people from him. Ninmena, the lady who had given birth to the ruler, who had given birth to the king, now set human reproduction going.
- Social science means inventing a certain brand of human we can understand.
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) The Sage, the Weak, and the Magnificent, p. 95.
- Humans are a dangerously insane and very sick species. That's not a judgment. It's a fact. It is also a fact that the sanity is there underneath the madness. Healing and redemption are available right now.
See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather... When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness. p.56
- On the level of the body, humans are very close to animals. All the basic bodily functions - pleasure, pain, breathing, eating, drinking, defecating, sleeping, the drive to find a mate and procreate, and of course birth and death - we share with the animals. A long time after their fall from a state of grace and oneness into illusion, humans suddenly woke up in what seemed to be an animal body - and they found this very disturbing. "Don't fool yourself. You are no more than an animal." This seemed to be the truth that was staring them in the face. But it was too disturbing a truth to tolerate. Adam and Eve saw that they were naked, and they became afraid. Unconscious denial of their animal nature set in very quickly. The threat that they might be taken over by powerful instinctual drives and revert back to complete unconsciousness was indeed a very real one. Shame and taboos appeared around certain parts of the body and bodily functions, especially sexuality. The light of their consciousness was not yet strong enough to make friends with their animal nature, to allow it to be and even enjoy that aspect of themselves - let alone to go deeply into it to find the divine hidden within it, the reality within the illusion.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 73
- As the egoic mode of consciousness and all the social, political, and economic structures that it created enter the final stage of collapse, the relationships between men and women reflect the deep state of crisis in which humanity now finds itself. As humans have become increasingly identified with their mind, most relationships are not rooted in Being and so turn into a source of pain and become dominated by problems and conflict.
- Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (1997) p. 99
- Until very recently, the transformation of human consciousness – also pointed to by the ancient teachers – was no more than a possibility, realized by a few rare individuals here and there, irrespective of cultural or religious background. A widespread flowering of human consciousness did not happen because it was not yet imperative. A significant portion of the earth’s population will soon recognize, if they haven’t already done so, that humanity is now faced with a stark choice: Evolve or die. A still relatively small but rapidly growing percentage of humanity is already experiencing within themselves the breakup of the old egoic mind patterns and the emergence of a new dimension of consciousness.
- Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth:Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, (2005)
- The spouses are to be strengthened in their view of the inestimable value and preciousness of human life, and aided so that they may commit themselves to making their own family a sanctuary of life: "God himself is present in human fatherhood and motherhood quite differently than he is present in all other instances of begetting 'on earth'".
- Alfonso Card. López Trujillo, Francisco Gil Hellín; “PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY”, “VADEMECUM FOR THE USE OF CONFESSORS” “The Teaching of the Church on Responsible Procreation’’, "Vademecum for confessors concerning some aspects of the morality of the conjugal life". www.vatican.va. ; Vatican City, February 12, 1997.
- [W]e need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.
- United States Supreme Court, “Roe v. Wade”, (January 22, 1973)
- Clearly and without any doubt, once biological conception is completed we have a living entity and one that has the genotype of the human species. As Grobstein nicely phrases it, “conception (fertilization) is the beginning of a new generation in the genetic sense.” This zygote is capable of further divisions and is clearly the precursor to all that follows. But can we say with “Donum Vitae,” quoting the “Declaration on Procured Abortion,” “From the time that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human begin with his own growth.”
Now are we to understand this phraseology in the light of the biology of development? For, while it is correct to say that the ife that is present in the newly fertilized egg is distinct from the father and mother and is in fact usually genetically unique, it is not the case that this particular zygote is fully formed and it is not a single individual, an “ontological individual,” as Ford suggests. Because of the possibility of twinning, recombination, and the potency of any cell up to gastrulation to become a complete entity, this particular zygote cannot necessarily be said to become a complete entity, this particular zygote cannot necessarily be said to be the beginning of a specific, genetically unique individual human being. While the zygote is the beginning of genetically distinct life, it is neither an ontological individual nor necessarily the immediate precursor of one.
Second, the zygote gives rise to further divisions “resulting in an aggregate of cells, each of which remains equivalent to a zygote in a sense that it can become all or any part of an embryo and its extra-embryonic structure.” Such cells at this stage are totipotent:
Within the fertilized ovum lies the capability to form an entire organism. In many vertebrates the individual cells resulting from the first few divisions after fertilization retain this capability. In the jargon of embryology, such cells are described as totipotent. As development continues, the cells gradually lose the ability to form all the types of cells that are found in the adult body.. It is as if they were funneled into progressively narrower channels. The reduction of the developmental options permitted to a cell is called restriction. Very little is known about the mechanisms that bring about restriction, and the sequence of restriction vary considerably from one species to another.
Such a process of restriction is completed when the cells have become “committed to a single developmental fate….Thus determination represents the final step in the process of restriction.” Such determination begins during gastrulation, three weeks into embryonic development.
Genetic uniqueness and singleness coincide on one level only after the process of implantation has been completed and on another after the restriction process is completed. Thus, if we take implantation as the marker of both conception and human singleness, this does not occur until about a week after the initiation of fertilization. If we use determination and restriction, because of their signaling of the loss of totipotency of the cells as the markers of human singleness, then individuality does not occur until about three weeks after fertilization. Of critical importance is Ford’s observation, “Thee teleological system of the blastocyst should not be identified with the ontological unity of the human individual that will develop from it.”
There is, then, a partial answer to the very interesting question “Donum Vitae” asks, “How could a human individual not be a human person?” A Catholic philosopher might well object or reply that this certainly a very
- James J. Walter, Thomas A. Shannon, “Contemporary Issues in Bioethics a Catholic Perspective”, (2005), Ch.5 Singleness, pp.74-75
- Thomas: My mistakes are my own, but over the ages humans have proven to be violent, short sighted and hostile. Is this really something I can do anything about?
- I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
- We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.
- Malcolm X; variant of Speech at Founding Rally of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (28 June 1964), as quoted in By Any Means Necessary: Speeches, Interviews, and a Letter, (1970)
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 380.
- Love, hope, fear, faith — these make humanity;
These are its sign and note and character.
- W'en you see a man in woe,
Walk right up and say "hullo."
Say "hullo" and "how d'ye do,"
"How's the world a-usin' you?"
. . . . .
W'en you travel through the strange
Country t'other side the range,
Then the souls you've cheered will know
Who you be, an' say "hullo."
- Sam Walter Foss, Hullo.
- He held his seat; a friend to human race.
- Homer, The Iliad, Book VI, line 18. Pope's translation.
- Respect us, human, and relieve us, poor.
- Homer, The Odyssey, Book IX, line 338. Pope's translation.
- Over the brink of it
Picture it—think of it,
Lave in it—drink of it
Then, if you can.
- Thomas Hood, Bridge of Sighs.
- Oh, God! that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!
- Thomas Hood, Song of a Shirt.
- For He, who gave this vast machine to roll,
Breathed Life in them, in us a Reasoning Soul;
That kindred feelings might our state improve,
And mutual wants conduct to mutual love.
- Juvenal, Satire XV, line 203.
- It is good to be often reminded of the inconsistency of human nature, and to learn to look without wonder or disgust on the weaknesses which are found in the strongest minds.
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, Warren Hastings.
- For nothing human foreign was to him.
- James Thomson, To the Memory of Lord Talbot, translation of "Humani nihil a me alienum puto".
- For the interesting and inspiring thing about America, gentlemen, is that she asks nothing for herself except what she has a right to ask for humanity itself.
- Woodrow Wilson, speech at the luncheon of the Mayor of New York, May 17, 1915.
- Never to blend our pleasure or our pride
With sorrow of the meanest thing that feels.
- William Wordsworth, Hart-leap Well, Part II.
Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989)Edit
- There are people in our society who should be separated and discarded. I think it's one of the tendencies of the liberal community to feel that every person in a nation of over 200 million people can be made into a productive citizen.
I'm realist enough to believe this can't be. We're always going to have our prisons, we're always going to have our places of preventive detention for psychopaths, and we're always going to have a certain number of people in our community who have no desire to achieve or who have no desire to even fit in an amicable way with the rest of society.
And these people should be separated from the community, not in a callous way but they should be separated as far as any idea that their opinions shall have any effect on the course we follow.
- Spiro T. Agnew, comments during interview for European audiences which was recorded in Washington, D.C., then broadcast over British Independent Television on June 30, 1970, as reported by The Washington Post, July 2, 1970, p. A3.
- Where there is no vision, the people perish.
- The Bible, Proverbs 29:18.
- I can not wish you success in your effort to reject the treaty because while it may win the fight it may destroy our cause. My plan cannot fail if the people are with us and we ought not to succeed unless we do have the people with us.
- William Jennings Bryan, letter to Andrew Carnegie, January 13, 1899. Bryan papers, Library of Congress. Andrew Carnegie, working to defeat the treaty of peace with Spain, unsuccessfully sought Bryan's help.
- I am a child of the House of Commons. I was brought up in my father's house to believe in democracy. "Trust the people"—that was his message.
- Winston Churchill, speech to a joint session of Congress, Washington, D.C., December 26, 1941. Winston S. Churchill: His Complete Speeches, 1897–1963, ed. Robert Rhodes James, vol. 6, p. 6536 (1974).
- Your people, sir, is nothing but a great beast!
- Attributed to Alexander Hamilton, in a political argument with Thomas Jefferson. David S. Muzzey, An American History, p. 192 (1911). For similar expressions of this idea going back to Horace, see Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 15th ed., p. 108, no. 19 and footnotes (1982), and The Home Book of Quotations, ed. Burton Stevenson, 9th ed., p. 1483–84, section 7 (1964).
- Would yee both eat your cake, and have your cake?
- John Heywood, The Proverbs of John Heywood, part 2, chapter 9, p. 162 (1598, reprinted 1874, 1978). The idea that if you spend a thing you cannot have it goes back much further than Heywood's original 1546 work. Plautus wrote c. 194 B.C. in Trinummus (act II, scene iv, line 414), "Non tibi illud apparere si sumas potest" (if you spend a thing you cannot have it), translated as "You cannot eat your cake and have it too" by one Englishman. Comedies of Plautus, trans. Bonnell Thornton, 2d ed., rev., vol. 2, p. 29 (1769).
- People don't eat in the long run—they eat every day.
- Attributed to Harry L. Hopkins, who headed the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in 1933. Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History, p. 52 (1948).
- The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.
- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, query 19, reprinted in Andrew A. Lipscomb, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 2 (1903), p. 230.
- A sense of this necessity, and a submission to it, is to me a new and consolatory proof that wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government; that whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them to rights.
- Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price (January 8, 1789); in Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (1958), vol. 14, p. 420.
- The President to-night has a dream:—He was in a party of plain people, and, as it became known who he was, they began to comment on his appearance. One of them said:—"He is a very common-looking man". The President replied:—"The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason he makes so many of them".
- Attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, December 23, 1863. John Hay, Letters of John Hay and Extracts from Diary, vol. 1, p. 142–43 (1908, reprinted 1969).
- No democracy has ever long survived the failure of its adherents to be ready to die for it…. My own conviction is this, the people must either go on or go under.
- David Lloyd George, address, conference of trade union delegates, London, January 18, 1918, as reported by The Times (London), January 19, 1918, p. 8.
- I do not want the voice of the people shut out.
- Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10297.
- Your country is calling you. Our people are calling us. The people of America are calling us to relieve them from the distress that has infested this entire Nation as the result of following the Cabinet officers of the present administration. Your people are asking you to deliver them from this condition that now exists. They are asking relief.
- Huey Long, remarks in the Senate, May 16, 1932, Congressional Record, vol. 75, p. 10307.
- If I were to attempt to put my political philosophy tonight into a single phrase, it would be this: Trust the people. Trust their good sense, their decency, their fortitude, their faith. Trust them with the facts. Trust them with the great decisions. And fix as our guiding star the passion to create a society where people can fulfill their own best selves—where no American is held down by race or color, by worldly condition or social status, from gaining what his character earns him as an American citizen, as a human being and as a child of God.
- Adlai Stevenson, speech at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, September 13, 1956. Stevenson, The New America, ed. Seymour E. Harris, Jr., p. 13–14 (1971).
- No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.
- George Washington, first inaugural address, April 30, 1789. The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, vol. 30, p. 293 (1939).
- People are not an interruption of our business. People are our business.
- Walter E. Washington, mayor of Washington, D.C., c. 1971.
- In the last analysis, my fellow countrymen, as we in America would be the first to claim, a people are responsible for the acts of their government.
- Woodrow Wilson, address, Columbus, Ohio, September 4, 1919. The Messages and Papers of Woodrow Wilson, ed. Albert Shaw, vol. 2, p. 728 (1924).
"Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and its Implications for Abortion" (18 Oct 2019)Edit
Adventist.org, "Statement on the Biblical View of Unborn Life and its Implications for Abortion". (18 Oct 2019)
- Furthermore, the importance of human life is made clear by the fact that, after the Fall (Genesis 3), God “gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). While God could have abandoned and terminated sinful humanity, He opted for life. Consequently, Christ’s followers will be raised from the dead and will live in face-to-face communion with God (John 11:25-26; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-16; Revelation 21:3). Thus, human life is of inestimable value. This is true for all stages of human life: the unborn, children of various ages, adolescents, adults, and seniors—independent of physical, mental, and emotional capacities. It is also true for all humans regardless of sex, ethnicity, social status, religion, and whatever else may distinguish them. Such an understanding of the sanctity of life gives inviolable and equal value to each and every human life and requires it to be treated with the utmost respect and care.
- “God considers the unborn child as human life”. Prenatal life is precious in God’s sight, and the Bible describes God’s knowledge of people before they were conceived. “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:16). In certain cases, God directly guided prenatal life. Samson was to “be a Nazirite to God from the womb” (Judges 2013:5). The servant of God is “called from the womb” (Isaiah 49:1, 5). Jeremiah was already chosen as a prophet before his birth (Jeremiah 1:5), as was Paul (Galatians 1:15), and John the Baptist was to “be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Of Jesus the angel Gabriel explained to Mary: “therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). In His Incarnation Jesus Himself experienced the human prenatal period and was recognized as the Messiah and Son of God soon after His conception (Luke 1:40-2645). The Bible already attributes to the unborn child joy (Luke 1:44) and even rivalry (Genesis 25:21-23). Those not-yet-born have a firm place with God (Job 10:8-12; 31:13-15). Biblical law shows a strong regard for protecting human life and considers harm to or the loss of a baby or mother as a result of a violent act a serious issue (Exodus 21:22-23).
- 3. ”The will of God regarding human life is expressed in the Ten Commandments and explained by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.” The Decalogue was given to God’s covenant people and the world to guide their lives and protect them. Its commandments are unchanging truths which should be cherished, respected, and obeyed. The Psalmist praises God’s law (e.g., Psalm 119), and Paul calls it holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12). The sixth commandment states: “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13), which calls for the preservation of human life. The principle to preserve life enshrined in the sixth commandment places abortion within its scope. Jesus reinforced the commandment not to kill in Matthew 5:21-22. Life is protected by God. It is not measured by individuals’ abilities or their usefulness, but by the value that God’s creation and sacrificial love has placed on it. Personhood, human value, and salvation are not earned or merited but graciously granted by God.
- 4. “God is the Owner of life, and human beings are His stewards. Scripture teaches that God owns everything (Psalm 50:10-12)”. God has a dual claim on humans. They are His because He is their Creator and therefore He owns them (Psalm 139:13-16). They are also His because He is their Redeemer and has bought them with the highest possible price—His own life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This means that all human beings are stewards of whatever God has entrusted to them, including their own lives, the lives of their children, and the unborn.
The stewardship of life also includes carrying responsibilities which in some ways limit their choices (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). Since God is the Giver and Owner of life, human beings do not have ultimate control over themselves and should seek to preserve life wherever possible. The principle of the stewardship of life obligates the community of believers to guide, support, care for, and love those facing decisions about pregnancies.
- ”5. The Bible teaches care for the weak and the vulnerable”. God Himself cares for those who are disadvantaged and oppressed and protects them. He “shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18, cf. Psalm 82:3-4; James 1:27). He does not hold children accountable for the sins of their fathers (Ezekiel 18:20). God expects the same of His children. They are called to help vulnerable people and ease their lot (Psalm 41:1; 82:3-4; Acts 20:35). Jesus speaks of the least of His brothers (Matthew 25:40), for whom His followers are responsible, and of the little ones who should not be despised or lost (Matthew 18:10-14). The very youngest, namely the unborn, should be counted among them. God’s grace promotes life in a world marred by sin and death. It is God’s nature to protect, preserve, and sustain life. In addition to the providence of God over His creation (Psalm 103:19; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3), the Bible acknowledges the wide-ranging, devastating, and degrading effects of sin on the creation, including on human bodies. In Romans 8:20-24 Paul describes the impact of the Fall as subjecting the creation to futility. Consequently, in rare and extreme cases, human conception may produce pregnancies with fatal prospects and/or acute, life-threatening birth anomalies that present individuals and couples with exceptional dilemmas. Decisions in such cases may be left to the conscience of the individuals involved and their families. These decisions should be well-informed and guided by the Holy Spirit and the biblical view of life outlined above. God’s grace promotes and protects life. Individuals in these challenging situations may come to Him in sincerity and find direction, comfort, and peace in the Lord.
“Encyclical Evangelium vitae" (March 25, 1995)Edit
- The Second Vatican Council, in a passage which retains all its relevance today, forcefully condemned a number of crimes and attacks against human life. Thirty years later, taking up the words of the Council and with the same forcefulness I repeat that condemnation in the name of the whole Church, certain that I am interpreting the genuine sentiment of every upright conscience: "Whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, or wilful self-destruction, whatever violates the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, torments inflicted on body or mind, attempts to coerce the will itself; whatever insults human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children; as well as disgraceful working conditions, where people are treated as mere instruments of gain rather than as free and responsible persons; all these things and others like them are infamies indeed. They poison human society, and they do more harm to those who practise them than to those who suffer from the injury. Moreover, they are a supreme dishonour to the Creator".
- Unfortunately, this disturbing state of affairs, far from decreasing, is expanding: with the new prospects opened up by scientific and technological progress there arise new forms of attacks on the dignity of the human being. At the same time a new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and-if possible-even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.
All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline. Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable. Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defence and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person. In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded. In such a cultural and legislative situation, the serious demographic, social and family problems which weigh upon many of the world's peoples and which require responsible and effective attention from national and international bodies, are left open to false and deceptive solutions, opposed to the truth and the good of persons and nations.
The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.
- The life which the Son of God came to give to human beings cannot be reduced to mere existence in time. The life which was always "in him" and which is the "light of men" (Jn 1:4) consists in being begotten of God and sharing in the fullness of his love: "To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn 1:12-13).
Sometimes Jesus refers to this life which he came to give simply as "life", and he presents being born of God as a necessary condition if man is to attain the end for which God has created him: "Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:3). To give this life is the real object of Jesus' mission: he is the one who "comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world" (Jn 6:33). Thus can he truly say: "He who follows me ... will have the light of life" (Jn 8:12).
At other times, Jesus speaks of "eternal life". Here the adjective does more than merely evoke a perspective which is beyond time. The life which Jesus promises and gives is "eternal" because it is a full participation in the life of the "Eternal One". Whoever believes in Jesus and enters into communion with him has eternal life (cf. Jn 3:15; 6:40) because he hears from Jesus the only words which reveal and communicate to his existence the fullness of life. These are the "words of eternal life" which Peter acknowledges in his confession of faith: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (Jn 6:68-69). Jesus himself, addressing the Father in the great priestly prayer, declares what eternal life consists in: "This is eternal life, that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17:3). To know God and his Son is to accept the mystery of the loving communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit into one's own life, which even now is open to eternal life because it shares in the life of God.
- In the light of this truth Saint Irenaeus qualifies and completes his praise of man: "the glory of God" is indeed, "man, living man", but "the life of man consists in the vision of God".
- Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, "from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and ... modern genetic science offers clear confirmation. It has demonstrated that from the first instant there is established the programme of what this living being will be: a person, this individual person with his characteristic aspects already well determined. Right from fertilization the adventure of a human life begins, and each of its capacities requires time-a rather lengthy time-to find its place and to be in a position to act".57 Even if the presence of a spiritual soul cannot be ascertained by empirical data, the results themselves of scientific research on the human embryo provide "a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?".
- Human life is sacred and inviolable at every moment of existence, including the initial phase which precedes birth. All human beings, from their mothers' womb, belong to God who searches them and knows them, who forms them and knits them together with his own hands, who gazes on them when they are tiny shapeless embryos and already sees in them the adults of tomorrow whose days are numbered and whose vocation is even now written in the "book of life" (cf. Ps 139: 1, 13-16). There too, when they are still in their mothers' womb-as many passages of the Bible bear witness60-they are the personal objects of God's loving and fatherly providence.
- Anan: There can be no peace. Don't you see? We've admitted it to ourselves. We're a killer species. It's instinctive. It's the same with you. Your General Order Twenty Four.
- Kirk: All right. It's instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands! But we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill - today!
- Jean-Luc Picard: 'Grievously savage' could mean anything. I will answer only specific charges.
- Q: Are you certain you want a full disclosure of human ugliness? So be it, fool.
- Cirilla: Are you a monster?
- Vereena: Are you a monster because you are different?
- Cirilla: Monsters do bad things to people.
- Vereena: Humans do bad things to everybody.