What Makes Us Human?

Are there certain moments in life that you reflect on more than others? Maybe something that made you look inside yourself and go, “Hmmm…”

Sixteen years ago, my junior year of high school, my English teacher initiated a game. He picked four kids and said they were irrefutably human. The rest of us were a mixture of aliens and humans. The job of the four humans was to decide who was human and who was alien. The humans would get to share a box of cupcakes the next day in class. The aliens would not get cupcakes. (We were a highly food-motivated class)

We set out to prove our humanity to these four teenage girls. All of the normal arguments were used; we have thumbs, we have complex thinking, we love cupcakes… everyone argued fervently.

Except me.

I immediately stated I was an alien. I argued against any of the other students arguments, trying to prove they were all aliens as well.

Now, it’s the reasoning I did this gives me pause. I wanted the cupcakes just as badly as any of the other students, but to prove I was human I wanted to act as I thought a human would act in this situation.

A human, I thought, always wants to be special. So, by claiming I was an alien I was setting myself apart.

A human, I thought, would try to make sure they got the most cupcakes by disproving the others humanity, weather their arguments were credible or not. A human would try to make their rivals seem less, well, human in the eyes of their peers.

And finally, a human would realize that if everyone got cupcakes, a legitimate possibility, there would be less cupcakes for them.

I’m not sure how that makes me feel about my teenage self. I was obviously extremely cynical for a kid, but in reality, was I wrong?

For those of you who are wondering, no, they did not decide I was human. We all shared the cupcakes anyways.

What do you think? What are your stories? Leave a comment below!

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