History What Makes Humans Humans?
posted by February 21 at 10:25 AMon
I finally have the answer!
This must be it. What distinguishes the human animal from all other animals? It’s not a sense of morality or mortality; it’s not language or the arts. What is it? It’s money. No other animal has a sense or system of exchange. Only humans borrow, barter, and buy.
Writes the American philosopher Graham Harman in “On Vicarious Causation”:
We are not more critical than animals, but more object-oriented, filling our minds with all present and absent objects, all geographical and astronomical places, all species of animal, all flavors of juice, all players from the history of baseball, all living and dead languages.Yes, this is true. But, as Harman knows, many animals in the animal kingdom have this capacity—the capacity to be extremely object-oriented. My cat at this very moment is obsessed with a ping pong ball—it’s pinging and ponging all over the apartment. But my cat can’t exchange that beloved ball for a plate of more beloved fish. Only a human can do that. If you do not know how to buy or sell, you are not a human animal.