The concept of humanity

The Concept of Humanity

The concept of humanity extends beyond a person's physical characteristics. The human body is only a vessel and a sum of all its parts, which, in the absence of humanity features, does not classify one as human. As a result, the concept of human includes more than only anatomy. Furthermore, the concept of humanity encompasses concepts such as culture, emotions, and characteristics such as sympathies and frailties (MacIntyre 628). From a religious standpoint, it is possible to argue that humanity implies that a person must adhere to a particular level of religious affiliation. As a result, Christians' belief in supernatural beings such as God indicates humanity's religious essence. Thus, the rational humans will believe in the possibility to be rewarded when they do good and possible punishment when they commit a crime.<\/p>

The Aristotelian Perspective

From the Aristotelian perspective, being human implies being rational and having unique qualities of empathy. Thus, human beings living together as social beings requires them being compassionate towards each other and supportive without creating animosity. Moreover, the definition by Aristotle does not only emphasize on humans demonstrating emotions but also being aware of themselves. Therefore, the definition can be broadened to include such aspects as being self-aware and the ability to reason (MacIntyre 630). In the view of the various aspects proposed by Aristotle, humanity offers a totality of the different interpersonal skills that allow people to live together. Therefore, the collective nature makes the humans accept their various stations in life and relationships with one another. The ability of humans to rely on reason and rationality implies that they are in a position to create a memory that they can reminisce to at a later point. Consequently, one having a memory of a good deed in the past is likely to reproduce it at a similar situation in life.<\/p>

Unique Qualities of Humanity

The definition arrived at by consideration of the unique qualities Aristotle attributes to humanity indicates that since humans depend on their consciousness for making judgments, they are likely to be jealous especially at moments when they feel their position is being compromised. One is likely to be jealous is he or she is being replaced by a different person or element, and therefore he or she may decide to eliminate the competition. The demonstration of empathy through jealousy implies that humans care for what happens around them, especially what those around them do. Hence, the capability of one exhibiting empathy through the different actions performed, like learning and jealousy, contributes to the understanding what constitutes humanity (MacIntyre 630).<\/p>

Analysis of "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"

By examining the novel by Phillip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the question of what humanity entails keeps popping up now and then throughout the book. Understanding what constitutes humanity relies on one looking beyond either scientific or religious perspective and integrating a more philosophical reasoning. Basing on the manner in which the author develops the characters, it is evident that the androids in the novel tend to exhibit human traits better than some of the human characters. The analysis of the characters shows that the level at which the characters show empathy in different situations contributes to the audience perceiving them as more human than other character or androids. Considering the traits revealed by Rachel, it can be noted that she is more human compared to other characters in the novel. For instance, from her demonstration of empathy, it can be established that, besides her being an android, she can be said to be "real" in so many aspects. As a matter of fact, Rachel is the embodiment of empathy and humanity throughout the novel.<\/p>

Comparison to Other Characters

By comparing her to some of the characters in the novel, Rachel can be seen to be exhibiting various traits expected to be demonstrated by humans. For example, when Rick, the bounty hunter responsible for retiring the rogue androids, meets Rachel for the first time as he was administering the Voight-Kampff Empathy test to establish whether she was an android or human, she attempts to seduce Rick. The attempts by Rachel to seduce him can be seen as her demonstration of humanity as defined earlier. The ability of Rachel to exhibit empathy through the art of seduction towards Rick contributes to the audience conceptualizing that the androids were better compared to the humans. For example, when compared to what happens between Rick and his wife, Iran, it can be noted that Iran does not attempt to show her feelings for Rick, but instead asks him the settings that would be used by their goat or the day (Dick 10). The connection Rick and his wife have with the goat is not founded on love but the mere fact of avoiding to be despised in the community. As the story unfolds, Rick comes to be romantically involved with Rachel. At one point, Rachel tends to narrate to Rick about her previous endeavors with other bounty hunters responsible for killing androids. According to the narration by Rachel, romance has been attributed to humans as a form of empathy. Therefore, Rachel being romantically related to either Rick or the other bounty hunters portrays her as being more human contrary to Iran who is human yet demonstrates less romance towards Rick.<\/p>

Retention of Empathetic Memories

Rachel's ability to create and retain empathetic memories which she flashbacks to while narrating to Rick about how she had managed to tame the other bounty hunters to the point of never killing the androids again. Compared to Iran and Rick, we can note that the couple could not generate a clear memory of how they felt like unless they utilized a particular setting to remind them of the feeling of loss they had experienced earlier. Interestingly, it is expected that the "real" humans, Iran and Rick, possess more connection to what they feel. However, Rachel seems to have more feelings than either Rick or Iran who does not show any love towards each other. The seduction of Rick is seen as a mission to prevent him from killing more androids and concentrating on loving Rachel instead (Dick 20). Considering this aspect, one can establish that she feels compassionate towards other androids and therefore feels the need to live as a community and not isolated. By attempting to create a community of androids, Rachel demonstrates an even higher level of empathy than what Rick and other humans have. For instance, she is concerned that the androids do not need to be killed because they seem closer to her than the humans who would not even trust each other.<\/p>

Jealousy and Empathy

Moreover, in chapter 20, Rachel goes ahead and kills Rick's goat. Although the Corporation had ordered her to kill the goat, she kills the goat due to her personal vendetta against Rick. She felt that Rick loved the goat more than Iran and her and he was giving it more attention than either of them. Rachel exhibiting jealousy hints that she is empathetic, and therefore, it can be inferred that she is more human than other characters in the novel, both android, and humans. Furthermore, Rachel confesses to Rick that she had been programmed purposely for retiring the bounty hunters and she had succeeded at most of the instances except Welch. The Corporation had designed her specifically to develop empathetic relationships with the bounty hunters. According to Rachel's narration to Rick, she points out that the bounty hunters she had "retired" could not kill an Android let alone watching it being killed. Considering Rachel's success in forming these relationships implies that she managed to get the hunters to love her and feel responsible for her to the point that they could not kill any more androids (Dick 72). Notably, the hunters could not manage to kill her since she demonstrated such empathy that they believed she was better than other humans. Since killing humans in Rick's community was unacceptable, he could not bring himself to killing her because he thought of her being closer to humanity. Besides, her depiction of empathy contributes to the teachings of Mercer, who, according to the androids, proposed for everyone to be empathetic towards others for collective good. Therefore, Rachel ascribes to Mercerism religion which was perceived by humans as a hoax which an actor had set in motion. The ascription to Mercerism by Rachel indicates that she was a better human compared to the other characters in the novel.<\/p>

Works Cited

Dick, Philip K. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? 1st ed., Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008.

MacIntyre, Alasdair. Dependent rational animals: Why human beings need the virtues. Open Court, 1999.

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