Carl Sagan – The Dragons of Eden (1977)

While ritual, emotion, and reasoning are all significant aspects of human nature, the most nearly unique human characteristic is the ability to associate abstractly and to reason. Curiosity and the urge to solve problems are the emotional hallmarks of our species; and the most characteristically human activities are mathematics, science, technology, music and the arts — a somewhat broader range of subjects than is usually included under the ‘humanities.’ Indeed, in its common usage this very word seems to reflect a peculiar narrowness of vision about what is human. Mathematics is as much a ‘humanity’ as poetry. Whales and elephants may be as ‘humane’ as humans.

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