Do we really know who we are? Science has given us some scenarios to consider that seem far out and not possible. However, the issue of who we are is not that clear. characteristics of personality as well as its qualities play an important role in uncovering the essence of the philosophical relationship between the human being and the universe. They simultaneously help to understand why the human world is so different from the natural world and why it remains human only on the basis of preserving the wealth of individual differences between people. Overall, the question of personal identity and understanding what a person is, is one of the corner-stones of modern philosophical thought. Personal identity raises the issue of the true meaning of being addressed as a human being with the deep understanding of the goal of the presence of human beings on Earth other than for biological survival and reproduction. The latter allows seeing the moral and spiritual development of a person as the key towards comprehending the personal identity of human being.
It is possible to start the assessment of the role of personal identity and the comprehension of what does it mean to be a man with the notion that a human being is a biological species for who culture has become a means of adapting to the environment (Onjefu and Olalekan 2). Clearly, every person shapes personal identity, acquiring certain external physical, and internal characteristics, values, and qualities. Thus man is not born with a personal identity, but acquires it throughout the development of his, or her personality within the pattern of social interactions (Ventegodt, Andersen and Merrick 1177).
Overall, a human being is the highest stage of development of living organisms on Earth, a subject of labour, a representative of a social form of life with communication and consciousness manifestations. It is possible to say that a human being is a concept that characterizes the qualities and abilities inherent in the entire human race (both biological and social). As philosophy uses the concept of an “individual” to identify the representative of the human race with clear biological generic characteristics, it implies that a human being is born as an individual. However, acquiring personal identity as a human being in terms of possessing consciousness, manifesting abstract thinking, speech, human feelings is possible only under the condition of social influence, interaction with other people, and existence under the effect of multiple social factors (Ventegodt, Andersen and Merrick 1181). Therefore, life, development, psyche, behaviour, and upbringing in society, is the consequent transformation into a personality.
Over the centuries, the philosophical concept of personality has been used to characterize the spiritual and moral origin of a person. The most important quality of a human being, as a personality, is his goal-setting activity. A man is, first of all, an active social subject capable of changing his or her environment (Trisel 12). Further, a man is a thinking (functional consciousness, intellect) and mentally healthy person who has his or her own culture. All these qualities are inextricably linked. Therefore, a personality is not only a carrier of social relations, but also a human being who has an effect on them in accordance with their individual characteristics, properties and abilities, experience and intelligence, organization and professionalism, as well as their own culture environment (Onjefu and Olalekan 3).
In other words, being a human being implies manifesting biological, psychic, and social components, which together contribute to the formation of personal identity. By realizing oneself as a personality and distinguishing oneself from the environment, a man unwittingly comes to the idea of the meaning of his or her existence. The meaning of life pertains to the category of the moral choice of each human being This is an independent conscious choice based on those values that orient a human being towards performing acts aimed at the satisfaction of the desire to possess something and to use all human potential (Trisel 8). It is a human being with personal identity who decides whether certain acts are worth of performing on the way of reaching a certain goal.
In a positive moral sense being a personality implies urging for self-realization, striving to implement the need to create, give, share with others, and sacrifice oneself for the sake of others. From this perspective, the mission of human life is to reach its potential, to be able to find an opportunity for self-realization, to find ones unique talents without violating any moral laws. A highly moral person is a conscientious person who always acts according to his or her conscience and in case of any violations feels a deep sense of shame. Moral debt is also closely associated with personal identity along with such traits as dignity or honor. A man of honor respects himself and considers it beneath his dignity to commit immoral acts. If a personality respects itself, then, as a rule, it respects the dignity of others. At the same time, a man of honor cannot stay indifferent to meanness, lies, cowardice, dishonesty, etc (Trisel 19). He despises dishonest people and does not hide his contempt. As Nietzsche notes, such person “lives in trust and openness” to the society, as well as put the debt to society above his or her own individual needs.
Thus, being a human being with personal identity means to have a goal for living, to manifest high moral values, to continuously develop, as well as to comprehend the essence of the notions of compassion and readiness to make a sacrifice for the benefit of another human being. The presented analysis reinforces that fact that high moral level of social identity contributes to the understanding of the goal of living on the planet as a human being besides the satisfaction of physiological needs and accumulation of possessions. Thus, manifesting socially useful and highly moral creative behaviour is what being a human being means. The latter allows seeing the moral and spiritual progress of a human being as the primary aspect of interpreting what it means to be a human being with persona identity.
- Onjefu, O. and Olalekan, A. “Human Communication as a Correlate of the Essence of Man: A Philosophical Perspective”. Arts and Social Sciences Journal, vol.7, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-4.
- Trisel, Brooke A. “Human Extinction, Narrative Ending, and Meaning of Life”. Journal of the Philosophy of Life, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-22.
- Ventegodt, Soren, Andersen Niels and Merrick Joav. “Quality of Life philosophy II: What Is a Human Being?” Scientific World Journal, vol. 3, 2003, pp. 1176-85.