There are several distinctive qualities of mankind that distinguishes humans from animals. Unfortunately, I don’t know the full list but I believe one of them is blushing. The reason why blushing is a characteristic only belonging to humans is because it represents the conscious awareness of other intellectual beings around us, who may have encountered our embarrassing moments. That is why an adult will not necessarily feel embarrassed for something they wish to hide if they had been in the same space with an infant. The infant is not intellectually capable of noticing and recognizing the observance as socially humiliating, and the adult knows this and will not blush. Animals can’t process that recognition or the ability to feel embarrassed.
Another one is mentioned by an American psychologist named Rollo May. Here I quote him:
This consciousness of self, this capacity to see one’s self as though from the outside, is the distinctive characteristic of man. A friend of mine has a dog who waits at his studio door all morning and, when anybody comes to that door, he jumps up and barks, wanting to play. My friend holds that the dog is saying in his barking: “Here is a dog who has been waiting all morning for someone to come to play with him, are you the one?” This is a nice sentiment, and all of us who like dogs enjoy projecting such cozy thoughts into their heads. But actually this is exactly what the dog cannot say. He can show that he wants to play and entice you in to throwing his ball for him, but he cannot stand outside himself and see himself as a dog doing these things. He is not blessed with the consciousness of self.
An animal is not blessed with the consciousness of self, which is the ability to see yourself outside yourself. Isn’t it amazing how you can imagine yourself as though you have a mental mirror by which you can see your reflection quite clearly? This ability is seen very early on. Children imagine a great deal, and their ability to imagine scenarios of which they play a mental part is an example of being able to detach yourself from yourself. Also, we see little children speaking in third person. “Sally wants food. Sally is hungry. Sally wants to play!”
The idea of self, the recognition of it is quite phenomenal.
However, for argument’s sake, let’s ask why has God gifted man and only man this distinctive characteristic? What was its purpose? And why does Rollo May call it a “blessing”?
All throughout history, we come across great thinkers who have captured a hint of some universal truth and have awaken many a dead souls with their profound truths. What had elevated them above the ordinary thinkers was the ability to see the obvious in some creative light that had developed into an undeniable reality many people took for granted. It is as though their experience of an epiphany had drew the curtains away from their eyes and have allowed them to finally, see. All those who had been blind are also taught to see, and that truth adds a cut, an angle to their world knowledge as well.
Many of these great thinkers had one thing in common and it was the realization that the more they discovered, the more they realized they did not, in fact, know anything. It boiled down to the hard core truth that ultimately we, humans, do not know enough and that the quintessential task of man is to “Know Thyself” (Socrates).
Just like the phenomena of the world around us, we can also be blind to the things that happen within us. Our mentality and emotional capacity are worlds of themselves, equally complicated and intricate in their workings. It is easy to get lost in our own complications, especially when confronting a hardship of reality.
God provides man the ability to see himself outside himself so that he may see in his due time, where he has ended up and where he may lead. Not many people can view themselves objectively, especially in moments of hardships. However, there is nothing as important as believing in the power of change at moments when you see no other way out.
“The Gift to Change” is about never giving up and believing that there is hope because things can change, for the better. This hope is what gives people the power to change their environment, and not to simply accept what they are in. Humans adapt to their environment by creating or recreating their environment in different formats. The physical survival adaptation isn’t the only thing humans can do. They can also change their world, their environment by their mind frame and how they choose to process the flow of observance around them.
TAC encourages people all over the world to believe that man is gifted with consciousness of self so that he may, in his dark and blind hours, see himself in a new light and believe that at the dead end of a road, it is not the end. And that is because man can pave a new road for himself and for others to follow, and like Leo Tolstoy once said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”, begin by creating a better world by creating a better self.