“Why are we people?”
It’s a simple enough question when you think about at first. But then, the bottom falls out and the answers melt into one another until there is no answer. You can take the religious view, the evolutionary view, or the 3 year-old view. I’ll try to address all of them, and then sum up my confusion at the end:
The 3-Year Old View
This one is surprisingly easy. We’re people because we wear pants, drive cars and drink out of cups. There are animals that do some of those things, but not all of them. So, that’s what makes us people. Alternately, we’re people because our mothers and fathers were people, and people only have people babies. Monkeys only have monkey babies, and people can’t have monkey babies and vice versa.
The Religious View
Again, this one is easy enough. God made us that way. God made Adam and Eve the first people. We’re all descendants of Adam and Eve, therefore, we’re all people (see 3-Year Old View).
The Evolutionary View
Son (because Max
is a boy), we’re people because a long time ago, a monkey got an opposable thumb, which meant he could develop tools. This meant he could hunt bigger animals and eat more meat, marrow and other yummy things that made him smarter. Over thousands of years, these monkeys turned into dumb people with gigantic foreheads and bad teeth. They lived in France, oddly enough. These dumb people weren’t monkeys and weren’t quite people. They were kind of monples. Back in the days of the pre-people, they were more worried about eating enough and not being eaten. Then, along came people, who invented writing, math, reading, government, silly putty and velcro… and pants, cars and cups. We have the spare time, imagination and means to do all of these things that define us as people. Most people aren’t as worried about sheer survival as our ancestors were. Unfortunately, some people are, which means we still have room for some evolution.
All of those make sense to me when I look at them under their respective headings. I am very fond of the pants line. But, I believe in all three views. How do I reconcile them?
The Combined View
Son, we’re people because in the very beginning, God decided that we needed to get bodies and experience life. We all decided that this was a good idea, and agreed. Then, something happened. We’re not sure what exactly or how long it took, but God and Jesus created the Earth, the animals and everything else in it: flowers, bushes, trees, frogs, crickets, bees, deer, dogs, cats and hamsters. Somewhere along the way, he made dinosaurs, mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers, australopithecines, neanderthals, cro-magnons and giant tree sloths. The dinosaurs, mammoths, sabre-toothed tigers and the others all died out for some reason. We can see their bones and the art that the neanderthals and cro-magnons made in museums, so we know they existed. Why they existed, we’re not sure about, but I’m pretty sure they did. So, sometime after the dinosaurs and before you and me, God made Adam and Eve. Like I said before, they were the first people. They’re the (more greats than I can ever say) grandparents of all of us, or so they say. I’m not sure if that’s figurative parents or literal, but it doesn’t really matter too much. They probably really did exist. That’s the how we got to be people. Did I leave out the why? We’re people because people have imaginations, guilt, greed, lust, and all the other things that drive us to do human things. Our job as people is to grow as much as possible, and evolve ourselves into the people we want to be.
Now I think I can’t wait for Max to ask that question. I’ll let you know what happens when/if he does.