Given Human Behavior, Are We Truly More Evolved than Animals?

Photo by Tanja Mamas

As a veterinarian and animal lover, I’ve always been moved by the innocence, unconditional love, and straightforward genuineness of animals. There is nothing conditional, deceptive, or false about them.

And then every evening, the news is riddled with wars, deception, betrayal, and senseless killings humans have perpetrated on one another. It’s no wonder that many of us feel humans are the inferior species. As humans evolve, it would seem they would take on more and more of the traits characteristic of our beloved animals. But let’s take a step back and look more carefully.

What is it that distinguishes humans from animals? Is it possible that difference is actually a positive quality that is developed as species evolve? Or is it a trait that needs to be lost so that people can begin to behave more harmoniously, naturally, and purely?

The distinguishing quality of humans is the cognitive mind. Humans have the ability to think and discern in a logical, progressive manner. That’s obviously a very powerful tool, enabling us to create wonderful things like telephones, computers, automobiles, etc. But the more powerful the tool, the more carefully it needs to be used. While we humans have this tremendous gift of cognitive ability that distinguishes us from animals, we are not capable of always managing it well.

Perhaps as the human species continues down the road of the evolutionary process, that will change. Imagine a world where we humans employ our cognitive ability solely in a positive manner to support the lives of one another, all creatures, and the well-being of our entire planet.

It would seem that humans are, in fact, the most evolved species because they have been endowed with the tremendous tool of cognitive ability. It’s just that they have yet to learn how to use that tool properly. This is not something that can be acquired through reading, discussion, or behavioral modification. It seems to be more of an evolutionary state of our species. Perhaps in time, our species will evolve to that higher level. The theory of evolution would say that as the more ‘fit to survive’ humans come along, they will replace the humans alive today (who, by definition, are less evolved).

On the other hand, it’s possible that evolution of this nature can, for some, happen in one lifetime. It is as if human beings already have the physiology to live that exalted level of life. And at this point, evolution is simply a matter of purifying the physiology from the stresses and strains that prevent us from living harmoniously. It seems that ancient sages have said that the path to that level of life involves a meditation that naturally relieves the physiology of stresses and strains. If that is so, a bright future for humanity is not so far away. We will see what the future holds.

Dr. Michael Mamas is the founder of The Center of Rational Spirituality, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of humanity through the integration of ancient spiritual wisdom with modern rational thought. From personal issues to global trends, Dr. Michael Mamas helps individuals and organizations develop a deeper understanding and more comprehensive outlook by providing a ‘bridge’ between the abstract and concrete, the Eastern and Western, and the ancient and modern. Dr. Michael Mamas has been teaching for 35 years (including in the U.S., India, Europe, and Canada) and writes on a variety of subjects on his blog,

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