Man’s happiness is to move higher, to develop his highest facilities, to gain knowledge of the highest things and, if possible, to ‘see God.’ If he moves lower, develops only his lower faculties, which he shares with the animals, then he makes himself deeply unhappy, even to the point of despair. (p. 12) E.F. Schumacher, A Guide For the Perplexed
I like this quote because it states that happiness requires the cultivation of activities unique to humans. We have to determine what activities are unique to humans not just among animals, but among computers and artificial intelligence as well. It demands that the “humanities” are exclusive to humans–and so, what is the best that the humanities have to offer us?
I would suggest that the following have been valuable to me as civilizing ideas and activities: collecting and cultivation, art appreciation, music appreciation, cooking, reading and writing for understanding and wisdom, mysticism and religion, ornament and design, sports, gardening, promenades (leisurely walking and talking), exploration and discovery, invention and ingenuity, open-mindedness.
Does anyone think that animals or AI can provide suitable replacements for any of these things?