To be human is to be alive. More specifically, emotionally alive; to seize every moment, to learn from our imperfections, and to live freely and happily. Most people spend their entire lives searching aimlessly for meaning and for these sensations of being alive, typically chasing material items, money or power. Neither of these things however can provide the self-fulfillment of having true meaning. Within the works of Becoming Human by Jean Vanier and the book of Proverbs, it gives us great insight of what we can aspire to be and an example for how we should live our lives. I believe three important aspects to achieve meaning and to be fully human are to devote yourself to serve others, devote yourself to love and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose.
Investing our time in relationships and taking on the responsibility to serve others is a major aspect of being human. This was a key theme I noticed in Vanier’s book, Becoming Human as he believes that belonging to families and groups is an essential aspect to achieving this. However, Vanier believes it requires much more than simply opening our hearts and minds to loved ones and close friends. If we don’t open our hearts and minds to those not only like us, but to those who differ from us, we cannot be fully human. Since we genuinely classify our relationships based off shared values and reason, we’re compelled to avoid those who fail to meet these expectations. These are the individuals we most often turn away from and thus, we fail to be fully human. I think it is easy to invest our time and to serve others who share common values, but the real issue is how we treat those who do not. We are all differentiated by race,