For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much--the wheel, New York, wars and so on--while all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man--for precisely the same reasons.
Man alone, during his brief existence on this earth, is free to examine, to know, to criticize, and to create. In this freedom lies his superiority over the forces that pervade his outward life. He is that unique organism in terms of matter and energy, space and time, which is urged to conscious purpose. Reason is his characteristic and indistinguishing principle. But man is only man -- and free -- when he considers himself as a total being in whom the unmediated whole of feeling and thought is not severed and who impugns any form of atomization as artificial, mischievous, and predatory.
Mark how fleeting and paltry is the estate of man--yesterday in embryo, tomorrow a mummy or ashes. So for the hairsbreadth of time assigned to thee, live rationally, and part with life cheerfully, as drops the ripe olive, extolling the season that bore it and the tree that matured it.
Man, so far as natural science by itself is able to teach us, is no longer the final cause of the universe, the Heaven-descended heir of all the ages. His very existence is an accident, his story a brief and transitory episode in the life of one of the meanest of the planets.
We declare that only man exists. This is not to say that material, inorganic nature and nonhuman beings--animals and plants--are in any sense unreal, insubstantial, or illusory beccause they do not so exist. We merely state that the reality of these nonhuman realms differs from that of human existence, whose primary characteristic is Dasein (literally being-the-there)...Man as man is present...in a manner wholly different from...inanimate things.
-Medard Boss Existential Foundations of Medicine and Psychology (xxix)
The human body is not a thing or substance, given, but a continuous creation. The human body is an energy system which is never a complete structure; never static; is in perpetual inner self-construction and self-destruction; we destroy in order to make it new.
... a total being who can do many different things - think, fight, remember, love, anticipate, copulate, sing, laugh, imagine. All the activities can be used for good ends, all can be abused and turned to evil ends.
It's interesting, in light of Emerson's warning that faith cannot be created but must grow, that the seventh principle, which affirms our reverence for the interdependent web of all existence, was the one part of the purposes and principles that wasn't debated across the continent, that wasn't hammered out in a long and exhaustive process. I am told it came to the floor late in the Columbus, Ohio, General Assembly and it was unanimously accepted virtually without debate.
Why am I so determined to put the shoulder where it belongs? Women have very round shoulders that push forward slightly; this touches me and I say: One must not hide that! Then someone tells you: The shoulder is on the back. I've never seen women with shoulders on their backs.
I don't think that the flesh is necessarily treacherous, evil, bad. It is cantankerous, and it is independent. The idea of independence is the key. It really is like colonialism. The colonies suddenly decide that they can and should exist with their own personality and should detach from the control of the mother country. At first the colony is perceived as being treacherous. It's a betrayal. Ultimately, it can be seen as the separation of a partner that could be very valuable as an equal rather than as something you dominate.
I live in company with a body, a silent companion, exacting and eternal. He it is who notes that individuality which is the seal of the weakness of our race. My soul has wings, but the brutal jailer is strict.
I mean, after all; you have to consider we're only made out of dust. That's admittedly not much to go on and we shouldn't forget that. But even considering, I mean it's a sort of bad beginning, we're not doing too bad. So I personally have faith that even in this lousy situation we're faced with we can make it. You get me?
Men renounce whatever they have in common with women so as to experience no commonality with women; and what is left, according to men, is one piece of flesh a few inches long, the penis. The penis is sensate; the penis is the man; the man is human; the penis signifies humanity.
We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after another, to account for its origins. At last, we have succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the footprint. And lo! It is our own.