The Human Being

May 1, 2015

That’s René Descartes and he made great contributions to the main Western narrative and approach to life. While he may have championed the mechanistic view of humans and human beings, he may have left out the other potentially “important bits.”

In this video we talk about what it means to be a human. There are 3 things that are common to humans: #1) a body #2) emotions and #3) language. Learning how each of these affects each other is the key to understanding how we can develop effective communication.

Once we understand that then through practice we can learn how to improve communications skills in our domains of work, career, family, relationships and community.


Hi and welcome to this video. Laying the foundation for learning how to communicate effectively also means that we, you and I, have to know who exactly we are communicating to.

  • What constitutes each of us as human beings?
  • When we wish to communicate, what and whom do we communicate to?

Human beings have a few things in common. The most obvious one is the human body which is a living organism. The requirements for the human body are its need for nourishment, elimination, rest and rejuvenation. While we can choose when to perform the actions to take care of the body’s requirements, they cannot be overlooked! The invitation here is to consider that the human body is an intelligent being and it is very much a valid domain of learning. Each of us lives in a human body at all times. Each of us is subject to learning from the experiences of the human body. The body’s signals, when we choose to listen, indicate something. When we notice these we can make different, informed decisions.

Another domain of learning and communication is that of emotions. Every human being experiences emotions. For Descartes passions, or what are commonly understood to be emotions, were external to the human being. The passions caused a disturbance to the rational, intellectual equilibrium of the mind. For him, studying and knowing about passions could help to control and put them to their best possible use.

While he listed six primary passions there is a broad spectrum of words to describe a variety of emotions available in the English language. I invite you to pause this video as you make a list of emotions and answer the following questions.

  • Which emotions serve you best?
  • What are the most familiar emotions that visited you recently?
  • Which emotions are the least familiar?

A brief list of emotions, including Descartes’ six primary passions are: wonder, love, hate, desire, joy, sadness, frustration, anxiety, curiosity, bravado, optimism, sensuality, tenderness, commitment, passion, forgiveness, gratitude, guilt and many, many more.

As human beings, each of us have bodies, thoughts, and emotions. These are the three main constituents of what it means to be a talking, speaking, listening human being. In fact, these three components are so obvious they are relegated into the background of everyday living. Most of the time, we tend to overlook and potentially ignore these facets of the human being.

I want to propose a new understanding that your body, your emotions, your thoughts and language are all interrelated. The new framework of effective communication suggests that when you change one of these components, you are effectively causing the other components to change and shift. Consider each of the components of the human being as distinct domains of learning.

In my experience, cognitively understanding each of these domains helps greatly in creating new awareness and new learning ahead.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. Please send me an email or share your thoughts and ideas with the community. Take care and I’ll see you in the next video.

Click here to learn more about this course!