What is human?

I’m coming to believe that like many other terms ‘human’ holds simultaneously liberating and oppressive definition and potential. There is a sense in which the human category is fluid, describing beings with whom your own being finds deepest resonance. Then there is the biological species category Homo sapiens sapiens. These two categories are conflated by the shared term ‘human.’ While the former is defined by its subjectivity and contingency, the latter is demarcated by its objectivity and rigid certainty.

When one argues that the human prefers the human she may think of herself as appealing to an invariable reality (or law), when in actuality she is merely expressing the existence of empathic affinity—the seeing of oneself (to varying degrees) in the other.

For some the human being is of a small subset of Homo sapiens sapiens, for others it extends well beyond the same.

If I call myself a humanist, it isn’t to say that my being and its preferences belong over and above the being and preferences of any other or that my affinity is reserved for those of my own species, but rather that if I am to hold my own preferences in esteem I am likewise compelled to value the preferences of those in whom I see a bit of myself. And it’s clear to me that preference (and with it, agency) isn’t reserved for the species Homo sapiens sapiens.

As an anarchist my goal is a society (or on a smaller scale: situation) we can all live with. The ‘all’ extends to every being whose preferences can be discerned.

I’m done; my nose is bleeding.

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Bryan Endersstocker

Bryan Endersstocker was born on a small island in the Mediterranean to a family of muscat grape farmers. He came from hard‑working, stained‑ankle vineyard stock, but the farming island life never appealed to him. Bryan brooded as a boy, absorbing the work of Kierkegaard, Camus, and Simmons (Gene Simmons, that is) and studiously taught himself to play the harpsichord in the abandoned church on the island.

One day he befriended a gypsy who had floated to the isolated farming village on a piece of driftwood, along with her sifaka, Florica. They were escaping the brutal repression of the Roma people in France. Bryan led them to the abandoned church to hide—where, upon seeing the harpsichord, Florica began playing the most beautiful gypsy, harpsichord music. Together, Florica and Bryan started a band called the Absurd, which produced baroque-style music with a gypsy flair and asemic lyrics which sounded like whale calls.

Bryan grew tired of always being confused with the right-wing black metal band from Germany, when they played shows. So one day, after a show in Louisville, Kentucky, he bade farewell to Florica (who was in any case beginning to trouble him with her increasingly more meaningful lyrics) and thumbed a ride from a couple of shady-looking clowns who dropped him off in front of the NO BORDERS library. And the rest, as they say, is unterseeboot.

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