What does it mean to be human?                                                                         

(May 20, 2024)

The Daily Sentinel

In the past couple years, we’ve heard a lot — and probably thought a lot — about AI. What separates humans from machines? Is it creativity? Culture? Compassion? Just what does it mean to be human?

As a human being, I do things that machines don’t do, at least not yet. I love talking with my book club about the lives of people in other times and other cultures. We celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Cesar Chavez Day, Norwegian Independence Day, and Juneteenth. My brother and sister and I just sent our DNA to Ancestry to find out more about our distant ancestors. And I love telling my French grandchildren stories about growing up in the United States.

In each of these instances, there’s storytelling going on. Through these experiences, we learn more about our diverse heritage, traditions, culture, and history that help us better understand ourselves and each other, understand the human experience, and, fundamentally, what it is to be human. That is the very definition of the humanities.

Colorado Humanities is the organization that helps promote and elevate the humanities throughout the state with a mission to tell the many and varied stories of our Colorado residents. It is the state council associated with the National Endowment for the Humanities, which was formed by Congress back in 1965. NEH has councils in every state. Those councils, like Colorado Humanities, provide programs and support local humanities organizations in communities around the state.

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