Human beings: Functional or Experiential

“The story of evolution is of adaptation to be able to perform life functions better. Humanism on the other hand argues for human experiences and the value of those experiences in our being. Are we functional or experiential?”

Weekends are amazing because these are the moments we can sit back and enjoy a great read and the company of family. This weekend I’ve come around to finish reading the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari which I started and shared a brief review here. Through the journey I’ve been challenged, enlightened and most importantly left with questions on our being as humans and the role we play in the overall state of things. Reflecting on the evolution theory by Charles Darwin, creatures fit enough to survive under prevailing conditions are the ones that did. Due to this organisms acquired certain attributes and functional aspects that enabled them to perform as per the requirements of their conditions. Humans went through the same trend to the Homo Sapiens. What’s next isn’t definite and this brought me to a conundrum of sorts. Are we because of our functionality or our experiences?

In the last week, I had a moment to reflect on some essentials of being and my experiences in a discussion with a friend who came by. Through the discussion one of the common things I’ve been accustomed to is the claim that I’ll have enough time to sleep and rest when I’m dead. Unfortunately, I got to realize that nobody knows whether the dead are resting or sleeping. All we know is that they don’t work anymore. So what’s important in the entirety of life? Is it the experiences we have or the work we do? I’ve not come across to get an answer to this but over time I’ve realized that I have never had sufficient time to do all that I need to in a day. It would be great to have all the time to do all I need to do but to be able to do that I need myself in peak performance state which needs rest and exhilarating experiences to be rejuvenated. This is one concern I’ve had to contend with. From Homo Deus, the concern we are now bound to contend with is the fact that all that I have been struggling with i.e. work may get to be performed by machines with little if at all any input from me or any other humans. This then means that as a human being I’ll have no use existing if my functionality was the basis for my existence.

On the other hand, if we claimed that our value is anchored on the experiences we have then the concern is on those who derive ultimate value from their functionality and not mere experiences. What would their lives be worth? Do they deserve to be alive when all functionality is taken up by the machines controlled by Internet-of-Things (IoT). It’s a gamble because in either way there is a component of who we are that’s at stake with advances. Most importantly for those of us who commit to our work and functionality to a greater extent may fail to rejuvenate which is as crucial for our functionality.

In other words, we are a mix of both but to a different extent from person to person. While we may not be confident of what the future might be like, we’ve got to come to terms that we need experiences as much as we need our functionality. On this account, we may as well get to work on being at our best. Into the new week, take care of yourself and make the best use of your skills, competencies and abilities.

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