Human exceptionalism

Other Names:
Belief in humanity's dominance over nature
Humanist arrogance
Human chauvinism
Humanist superiority complex
Human exemptionalism
Many people regard humanity as so consummately superior to all other forms of life that ecological processes do not apply to them. This radical separation of human beings from all other forms of life encourages environmental devastation and an insoluble loneliness among humankind. According to this humanist superiority complex, nature has instrumental or use value only, not intrinsic value.
Human domination over nature is simply an illusion that has cost humankind much, ensnared people in their own designs, given them a few boasts, but still it is an illusion. In the field of human rights, the forces of repression often cloak wrongdoing in claims of exceptionalism. But the people themselves repeatedly make it clear that they seek and need universality.

Darwin stated that "The difference in mind between man and the higher animals, great as it is, certainly is one of degree and not of kind. Alexander Popes couplet: All are but parts of one stupendous hole, Whose body nature is, and God is the soul.

Alexander Popes observation of human nature being on an "isthmus of a middle state." Between bestiality and mental transcendence.

The representation of 151 years of study, including Jane Goodall's 40 years of research of chimps in the wild, published in a 1999 issue of the journal Nature, concluded that chimpanzees have distinct cultures within groups and that they learn behaviours through observation and imitation and are able to pass them on to other chimpanzees.

The evidence is overwhelming that chimpanzees have a remarkable ability to invent new customs and technologies, and that they pass these on socially rather than genetically.

The basic formulation of "them versus us" and the resulting search for a "golden barrier" represents a deep fallacy of human thought.

The true basis of distinction lies in topology and genealogy, not in any functional attribute marking our superiority.

Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No Poverty
Date of last update
24.04.2000 – 00:00 CEST