Earth created the human creature and endowed it with certain capacities, like language acquisition and creation, problem-solving for survival, bonding with friends and family, as well as its physiology. For the last 12,000 to 50,000 years, maybe longer, we have been the same physical species. A baby born in one time frame who was transferred by a magical time machine to any other, including our present day, would grow-up as a native, as would we if we were transferred to another time. There would be no difference in capacity or appearance.
Yet, there have been thousands of variations within our human family over time: thousands of cultures and sub-cultures, thousands of languages, thousands of meaning-systems, thousands of interpretations of reality, thousands of ways to survive and thrive within the Earth community. This variety of ways to survive and thrive is what I understand Thomas Berry to mean when he refers to “ways of being human” or “modes of being human”.
Because we are born physiologically immature (having to do with the relationship between baby’s cranium & brain, mom’s pelvis, and our bipedal nature) – I heard someone call it being “born half-cooked” – we are completed by the family and culture into which we are born. Each historical era, each culture, each family, often each generation, invents itself. We humans are self-inventing creatures, to a great extent.
Because we invent ourselves, we also REinvent ourselves. Within the limits given by evolution, we can be whatever we want to be as a species, live wherever we want to live.
By conscious and unconscious action our current “way of being human” is causing irreparable harm to and diminishment of the Earth community, ourselves and the very things, systems, and beings upon which we rely for our survival and thriving as a species.
Thus we must “reinvent the human” by drawing upon our evolutionary capacities to create new cultures, sub-cultures, languages, meaning-systems, interpretations of reality, and ways of surviving and thriving.
It is to this Great Work, the reinvention of the human family, that this section “Reinventing the Human” (and the whole site, really) is dedicated.