Monday, May 7, 2012

Do tools and weapons make us human?

Do weapons and tool use make us human?
I am currently watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. Call it research for what life will be like in the early days of the High Frontier. In particular, I am interested in the spaceships. Pretty much for film and television, it is 2001: A Space Odyssey and StarCops if you are interested in attempts to make the early High Frontier space vehicles realistic.

Nevertheless, I do find some things disturbing about 2001.

One of which is the thought that the movie implies that it is tool and weapon use that make us human. No monkey has ever used a tool or thought of beating his neighbor with a stick--unless there was a monolith involved.

I guess it is the fact that I have watched too many animal shows where animals are using tools or using their built-in weapons to fight with one another or kill a tasty meal of rich protein. Either that or it is the current semester of Chinese Philosophy and Religion that has warped my brain.

Early man did not survive because of tool use; they survived because they figured out how to keep a fire burning. If anything separates us from the animals, it is the use of fire. Other animals have weapons, and make a form of war on others; other animals use tools. Only mankind has harnessed fire.