Ecce Homo (Sapiens)

What is the essence of a human being?

Isn’t the essence of the human being a biological entity with mental constructs featuring concepts of self-awareness and autonomy within the social, moral, religious, ethical, and cultural frameworks?

Is that all there is? Is there a ‘spiritual’ essence to a human being? A true Self that transcends material reality? Or another manifestation of spirit, love perhaps?

It seems a few have discovered something like that.

When you say ‘discovered’ I assume you mean something like directly experienced? Rather than indirectly through thought (no matter how subtle and sophisticated)?

Yes like JK saying “there is no division”…he didn’t say ‘I think there is no division’. Through the illumination of insight he ‘discovered’ that there was no division and his message was, that not to see that, was to live and die in “darkness “. And our violence, cruelty, greed, fear, war etc is a result of living in that ‘darkness of division’.

That’s what we’re trying to verify in ourselves. Can I verify through awareness that the self image creates this darkness constantly through ignorance and fear?

If this ‘darkness of division’ is true and I don’t come to ‘see the light’ of that truth then I just die passing on the tradition of ignorance, violence and isolation?

Is essence something that can be modified in any way? If not, then what is the essence of the human being?

I think that essences are modifiable. Processes that can ‘evolve’ over time.

What is unmodifiable in a human being? Their existence? Their consciousness? That they have (that they are associated with, tied somehow to, resident in) a body and a mind?

You ask: What is the essence of a human being?
I would say this:
At times - when the mind is settled, which means - it is not running after anything - I look around me, near me, and, regardless where I am - I could be crossing the hallway at home, I could be in nature - I would say that my essence is not different from the essence of what I am looking at.
Put it in a concise form:
When I walk in nature and the mind is still, the essence of my humanity is the essence in nature.
I am part of nature, as much as a tree is part of nature.
I could be a tree, but it happens that I am a human, and this is a practical and beautiful distinction.

What is this “essence” of nature/humans, I can’t answer.


What I get from that is the essence of a human is in knowing “the observer (I) is the observed.”

Sounds like the wheel of samsara/rebirth.

Yes, I think this is right. This is where the mystery lies. We can posit things like awareness, beauty, love, etc - but it doesn’t clear up the mystery.

YOU ARE BACK @James !! :smiling_face:

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Willkommen, James! Wondered where you’d gotten to and if you’d eventually revisit. :slight_smile:

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Hi guys - I just thought it had been a while and that I should drop by :blush:


New day, new exploring! Is having/being/identifying as a self part of our essence?

I guess that depends on what I mean by essence. (Oh God, have I gotten myself into a language game yet again?!!)

How shall I re-pose the question to avoid that trap?

Is the identifying as a self inherent to homo sapiens, is it hard-wired in our brains?

From what I’ve read and seen, all humans, regardless of conditioning, have subjective experience. That strongly suggests we are hard-wired to experience the world subjectively. And what does that mean? That my experiences (perceptions, sensations, ideas) seem to be happening TO ME. The key word being ME, my imputed sense of self, the homunculus that lives in my body-mind.

We are also hard-wired to see rainbows and mirages. They exist subjectively, not objectively (in the form we believe they exist). Donald Hoffman says the objects we perceive and move around are like the icons we see and move around on a computer screen, i.e. not ‘the real thing.’

Putting all these together, it seems like the self/I both exists (subjective) and doesn’t (objective). Or maybe it’s better to say, as the Gelugpa Buddhists do: The self exists, but not as we think-feel it does.

How does the self exist?

Thank you James, your input were missed a lot !

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