What does it Mean to be Human?

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Human beings have long been defined as an organism, these organisms as states have human attributes that are unique to this particular organism. They are the attributes of human nature that differentiate us from other organisms. As there are many definitions of Who human beings are, research and varied psychological scholars have since believed that human being to have a physical structure. On this structure, they have two arms and legs, one nose and two eyes, toes and fingers on these limbs (Bourke, 2013). They have the same genetic code similar to those found in apes; this implies that our original definition of human being stands to be questioned. As others have tried defining humans, their result proved that this group has emotions. The theories soon dim out as other special of animals start to manifest the same abilities such as show and express their feelings.

Through science, we have come to understand that human beings are different species from other animals owing from the unique nature of their genetic code. They differ from other animals by their ability to reason and think, make relations and understand and manage connections. The group is dominant of all animals on earth. Aside from just having good intellectual ability, human beings are equipped with the ability to use these mental processes on thinking to conjure implement and organizes processes in a way that would make life easier for them. The paper seeks to analyze what it means to be human through the Psychological lenses of Dr. Victor E. Frankl. It will explore the different definitions and attempts made on the topic in contrast to Dr. Frankl's description.

Dr. Victor E . Frankl; What it means to be human?

Being human has supposedly been exhausted for decades as a topic without any standing definition. All the theories as explored by Freud Sigmund have withstood the test of time and evidence, where most have been and remain applicable even in the present day situation. On his ideas, before we understand what or who a man is, we have to observe the issues presented by thinking such as the subconscious mind and its roots. According to Freud, the core of all distresses lays conflicts that are brought by unconscious motives. Frankl believes that in understanding the true meaning of being human, one has to detach all elements that make people who they are. These are often add-on that we tie to our self such as families, love, hate, talents, wealth and emotions. His definition of ‘who a man is,’ is not simple but somewhat exploratory as is the means through which he came by it.


On this account, the answer itself will come as a process; a process as expressed by Frankl took him a lot of time through suffering, denials, sorrow, and loss on both personal and material goods. He lost his family in the Nazi concentration camp. His sister was the only survivor in his entire family. Being man is in many ways being able to be weak where weakness comes naturally. Each man has his limits, others much stronger than other while other under the bar but none the less each breaks under a considerable amount of pressure often coming in from loss or physical pain (Frankl, 1959). Under this intense pressure, once a man breaks, they began to show their true individual unrelated or common traits. First according to Dr. Frankl, a man can result to call for help from another higher power; in this case, religion. He also points to love as the ultimate goal that man has dedicated millions of years to gather and pass down to his children (Frankl, 1959). He further goes to show that, “The foundation of man is through love and in love.”

Second, to these, understanding what mans values most can best be linked to his definition, man values everything and anyone close such as friends and relatives. When threatened to extreme proportions, a man’s mind will lose value in everything he holds dear when one stops to think of himself as a human being, the results to accepting his role in the group of people such as those in the concentration camp. He no longer looks at his self but rather as an element in the group. The situation or process often succeeds past this point What Does It Mean To Be Human?as most men accept defeat at this stage, claims Frankl.

Our decision also plays a critical role in defining who we are; who we decide sets us apart. Mans uniqueness indecision is also observed when he is in danger or threatens. You are a man when you lose the ability to make a rational decision under intense stress or pressure. “Our friends who thought they were being transferred from the camp had eagerly boarded the truck, from the photographs I could tell they were burnt in a hut not far from our camp,” (Frankl, 1959).

Human beings need or have a desire to values themselves to whatever their conscious accepts or approves (Frankl, 1959). As Frankl case reveals, while in the camp, they all had perceived themselves to be humans or people with value, but as time went by these values changed to a position we viewed ourselves as nonentities, mere shells void of any elements that once made us humans. Different theories such as those devised by Logotherapy, believe a man’s future can best define his role and responsibility on earth. As the book Frankln autobiography further claims, ‘a man's main quest is meaning. It is perhaps the very reason for his existence.' To sum it up, meaning gives him a reason to live.

Other Theories

The opposing forces to his theories believe that religions are the most efficient way to answer the meaning of being human. From the different version of evolutions, there is each faith with its account, one main account remains true (Bourke, 2013). This account states that there is a higher being; one that man recognizes and adores, two, a man was created for the sole purpose of serving and pleasing the higher power. To this theory, the higher power is responsible for defining man and his meaning over all the earthy creatures.


As the paper explores the different avenues that Dr. Frankl used to give his account of the true meaning of man, one thing remains a fact. His account is not made up as it is both personal and bitter from his own experience at the Nazi camp. He explains from a personal account. Man definition is in fact as his theories depict, we are not free from limits, our future defines us as it motivates us, we as humans need to value our lives to accept our human nature. Most of man is made from connection and relations. The science behind these processes can easily be proven. As much as man is a creation of The Almighty, Logotherapy puts him in the timeline that defines him best.

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What Does It Mean To Be Human?. (2021, Jul 01). Retrieved April 17, 2024 , from

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