The other day NPR’s Talk of the Nation did a segment on David Livingstone Smith’s book Less Than Human. The book
argues that it’s important to define and describe dehumanization, because it’s what opens the door for cruelty and genocide.
There have been plenty of such episodes.
While listening to the discussion, it occurred to me that there is a flip side here. There are millions of people who humanize their pet and so treat the animal as a human (or better!).
I wonder if these two phenomena occur because we continue to be unable to nail down just what it is that makes us human.
In my opinion, we will not determine what makes us human until we figure out consciousness.