I think I'd take the Martians to see us taking care of one another. I might show them parents walking with a new born baby on their shoulder late at night, trying to get the baby back to sleep. Or volunteers hammering together a house for someone whose life will be changed by it. Or the way we automatically stop for someone who has tripped and ask if they're ok. Or perhaps how an entire nation gives food and medicine to a country across the ocean. It's when we're caring for one another that we're at our best.

When we're at our best we're also the most human. You wouldn't understand us if you never saw us at our best, any more than you could understand a basketball if you only saw it deflated and flat.

We are only human because we're connected to other humans. If you were brought up on a desert island, you would grow up and hardly be human at all. You'd have no words and no ideas beyond which plants taste good and which bugs taste bad. You would be perhaps the worst example to show a Martian trying to understand us humans.

We are human because we are connected to other humans. And why do we connect? Because as humans we care about each other and about our world. Statues don't care what happens to them. Robots don't care. Humans do. We care together.

Links to Explore

Legend of Kaspar Hauser

Places to Volunteer




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This is a children's version of David Weinberger's book
Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web.
copyright © 2002 David Weinberger