Occasionally I run across something that is poignant or simply well put. I especially like quotes that speak to the essence of what it is to be "human". I just ran across this, and to make certain it belonged to the author who originally posted it, I ran an entire sentence of it through the Google search. If a quote belongs to someone else and it is online, that search will find it. I have searched many times for whole sentences, often discovering that I have misquoted it for years!
Here is what I just found. It was posted in response to a question about whether or not the human soul was "divine":
"There are only a tiny fragment of our genes which differ from our closest living relative, but yet this small amount accounts for the excess brain mass which allows us to develop this concept of a 'soul', which is not a magical entity but rather another word for the ego we have created and identify with. What you call "me", is a construct of language and symbols which gave mankind the ability to consider himself unique.. for he could consider himself.
"Do not look outward for divinity, it is found within." Unus Mundus http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091030102055AAGdcW1
"...for he could consider himself." !! Yes! That is the essence of being human--that we can "consider", i.e., contemplate, ourselves.
Another quote on a similar note, something I quote about once a month, comes from the poetic prose of the naturalist-scientist Loren Eiseley, about what the first man and his species were in for, in a book called "The Immense Journey":
"For the first time in four billion years a living creature had contemplated himself and heard with a sudden, unaccountable lonliness, the whisper of the wind in the night reeds. Perhaps he knew, there in the grass by the chill waters, that he had before him an immense journey. Perhaps that same foreboding still troubles the hearts of those who walk out of a crowded room and stare with relief into the abyss of space so long as there is a star to be seen twinkling across those miles of emptiness."
Metaphysics doesn't have to be mystical, and it is at its best when it is not. When discussing man, it is best when it delivers the dignity man deserves.