Why are we called human beings?
We don’t say tiger beings, cockroach beings, or cow beings. It’s not even related to self-aware ‘beings’ because we don’t refer to dolphins or elephants or apes as beings.
Googling the question is unsatisfying. The answers range from:
“When the term “being” came into use during the 14th century, the church had decided that God and angels were self-aware “beings” of the highest order. Genesis said that humans had been made in the image of God, so they were also accorded the title of “being.”
Sadly, there is no attribution for this explanation, and these answers don’t quench. At least not me.
A Clue to Who We Are as CreatorsSo for a more satisfying answer let’s look at an obvious clue: the verb “to be”.
The verb “to be” (interesting that English requires two words) is the verb of creation. In the bible, God used it to create the world.
“Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3).
Let there be … and so it was.
The verb to be is the language of timeless creation, and it literally conjures somethingness from nothingness in any time period. There was/is/will be.
When you describe a place, person or situation to someone, when you tell a story you are creating a picture in another person’s mind, and you literally cannot do it without the verb “to be.”
So if the verb “to be” is the verb of creation consider this:
The reason we are called human beings is not to describe our existence as human, but to declare ourselves as Creators.
The guys at South Park agree if the profoundly funny three-parter Imagination Land is any indication. (Very funny if you’re into irreverent humour.)
I think we’ve come to refer to ourselves as ‘humaån beings’ as an unconscious acknowledgment of ourselves as Creators.
The implicit question
And if you accept this interpretation the more interesting personal question for you becomes,
“You are a human being … being what?”
That’s the question we each get to answer.
You fill in the blank.
Unlike any other creature on this earth, a human being can manifest as any of infinite possibilities.
A tiger will not surprise us by eating grass and climbing trees, because that’s not being a tiger.
But a human being could manifest as anything. Not physically of course, but in terms of our behaviour, moods, capacities, vocations etc., we are only possibility.
That’s why we are curious to know one another.
When we first meet someone they are an unknown and we want to know how have they answered that question. What have you chosen to be with your human being self?
So what have you done with your life?
In the same way we might admire someone’s home and say “I love what you’ve done with the place,” we might say the same about someone’s life.
When we ask each other “What do you do?” many people answer I am a doctor, lawyer, policeman etc.
The answer is an “I am” answer and what we’re really asking is “Who are you being?” or “What choices have you made, and are you making?”
You and you alone get to choose what, or who you are being in any given moment, and your creation options are limitless.
Why then would you choose to be worthless, irresponsible, stupid, poor, victim, sinner, etc., when you could be creative, loving, compassionate, resourceful, wealthy etc., etc.
The answer is because we’re not born with the knowledge of who we are, and we naturally couple to the narratives around us. If those narratives are of separation, limit and boundaries so will our capacity to become.
The truth is a child can grow up to be just about anything providing that she grows up within creation/possibility narratives.
Being as creative source of power
So when you see us referred to as human beings consider it as a reminder of our creative power, and ask yourself where on the Branson/Manson (Jesus/Satan) scale is your created self?
And if you don’t like what you’re creating, don’t despair, just use your imagination and start anew.
Don’t forget: You are a Creator!