What it Means to Be Human [34]


 There are four elements in the make-up of human beings: the physical, the emotional, the intellectual and the spiritual. [Note that the spiritual element is last!] None of these elements have any connection or relationship whatsoever with an outside divine force, but they do have an inseparable relationship with nature and the cosmos at large.

The Physical Element

The first of these elements that must be understood and dealt with is the physical. In simple terms, this refers to the feeding and care of infants and children as they grow up and mature; needs that adults are expected to provide.

If there are weaknesses or incomplete factors in the care of the physical needs of infants and children the emotional element in their make-up will be affected to varying degrees, depending on the seriousness of the actions or non-actions that affect them.

It is during the first five or six years of the life of individuals that they are normally civilized—that is taught to behave in what is regarded as a proper or acceptable manner—and this is a responsibility that normally falls to parents or other adults.

Wise men and women learned a long time ago that when good behavior—and knowledge—are taught as physical subjects, not just as mental exercises, they become embedded in the body and mind and have a lasting effect.

“Body memory,” as all great athletes, artists and performers know, is far more powerful and important than mental memory. Imagine master piano players having to consciously remember the locations of all of the keys they have to hit and in what order and consciously direct their fingers to each individual key as they play.

Both positive attitudes and civilized social behavior can and should be instilled into the mind-body of individuals to the point that they become automatic by the time they reach the age of six or seven.

 The Emotional Element

The emotional element in the make-up of human beings is based on several factors: the emotional gene-based make-up of the individual at birth; the sex of the individual; the character and personality of the parents or parent and other older individuals who interact with them; the overall home environment; the kind and quality of education they receive, and a host of other big and little things that influence the mindset of infants and small children.

In other words, the character and quality of the emotional element of each individual is determined by a variety of factors, many of which cannot be changed while others are subject to change but are more or less based on circumstances.

The Intellectual Element

The intellect refers to the higher order of the mind that understands things, that makes choices and decisions based on rational, logical thinking and whatever experience and knowledge an individual has accumulated.

The control of the intellect comes under the heading of philosophy, which refers to the love and pursuit of wisdom and moral self-discipline, with moral self-discipline being the key factor.

Unfortunately, Americans have traditionally viewed philosophy as the province of eggheads who just sit around and think; not as one of the most essential elements of civilization and daily life.

Without a rational and humane philosophy of life there are no dependable compasses or guidelines for behavior, which is the reason why so many well-educated and experienced people do such terrible things.

It is obvious that the presentday child-raising and the educational systems in the U.S. and elsewhere do not get passing grades in either of these two areas.

The intellectual capacity of children is partially fixed at birth, and is apparently a genetic thing. Some children are simply born with a higher intellect than others, are more curious, and learn faster than others.

In rare cases some children display genius attributes by the time they are two years old—or even younger—without any input by parents or other adults. If recognized and encouraged, some of these children become great inventors, mathematicians, musicians and so on.

It has been shown that all children except those whose brains are deficient at birth can learn much faster and far more complicated facts and concepts at a younger age than most parents are aware of or do anything about. This adult/parental failure is a cultural-educational thing first and often an economic thing second.

The key factor in the intellectual character and capacity of individuals as they grow up is determined by the kind and quality of the informal and formal education they are exposed to; which in turn is determined by the living standard, lifestyle, education and mindset of their parents and the overall culture of their society.

At this time, the intellectual level of large number of Americans is probably the lowest among the more advanced countries of the world.

The Spiritual Element

One of the most critical factors in the make-up of human beings is the spiritual element…and this does not refer to a belief in some god-based religious dogma, which is often so far removed from reality that it is both ludicrous and anti-human.

It refers instead to the relationship that all human beings have with all other living creatures and material things, from rocks and trees to water and to the cosmos at large.

Scientists have shown that all of the material elements making up the universe, including the bodies of all living things, were created by hydrogen-fueled exploding stars. We are therefore children of the stars or the cosmos at large, if you prefer the big picture. Nature is the great Creator. It creates and destroys in an inexorable rhythm that has been going on for billions of years and will apparently continue for many more billions. Human beings are late-comers in the trial-and-error methods of the cosmos, and claim to be the most intelligent species of life so far.

It is clear that the solution to the spiritual element in human affairs will not be found in any organized religion, but in personal actions taken by individuals, based on nurturing and strengthening our relationships with all of nature and the universe.

This effort does not entail anything supernatural, divine or religious in any sense. You might define it as a manifestation of the “force” that brings life to the body and mind. This spirit or life-force is something like a battery that runs our bodily functions, our thinking and most of our physical actions.

The power of this life-force, which various greatly in individuals, can be increased by exercises that challenge both the body and the mind. It can also be increased by learning how to focus the mind on a single thing—or emptying the mind altogether.

When the “spirit battery” is fully charged and working properly it includes such elements as courage, determination, diligence regarding both large and small things, perseverance in pursuing goals, an appreciation for form and order, harmonious personal relationships, and respect for all things.

***This blog was excerpted from my book: THE PLAGUE OF MALE DOMINANCE – The Cause and Cure!, available in ebook and printed formats from Amazon.com.


Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos];  SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way! and SAMURAI PRINCIPLES & PRACTICES That Will Help Preteens & Teens in School, Sports, Social Actvities & Choosing Careers!

How to Civilize Kids

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