What is the single determining factor separating humans from other animals?

Zsolt Hermann
3 min readMay 25, 2023

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Question from the Internet:

“From your perspective, what is the most influential driving force of human history, the most prominent reason that societies expand, fall, and progress?”

Fortunately, I do not have to share with you my “personal perspective” on this. There are unique, empirical natural scientists who have been researching and describing human nature — in contrast to nature’s all-encompassing system — for millennia.

And these unique scientists explain with great clarity, bringing before us the whole of human history as example and proof, that the single most important driving force and factor determining human development and human civilizations — including the hapless stumbling from one crisis to another in our own generation — is the unique human ego.

The human ego, with its insatiable desire for more and its single-minded aspiration to prove itself against and above others at all costs, is the only thing that differentiates human beings from other animals, most notably from other developed primates.

After all, according to science, we originate from the same root as the other developed primates; we started from the very same natural environment as them. Our DNA is almost identical to them as well.

Still, while chimpanzees and orangutans, for example, remained virtually unchanged for millions of years, humanity went through an incredibly speedy (considering evolution’s timeline) social, cultural, and technological development. This development, on the one hand, brought us to realistic “dreams” of colonizing other planets; on the other hand, this self-serving, self-justifying, individualistic, and exploitative human evolution also brought us to the brink of very realistic self-destruction.

It is the human ego that drives us to constantly explore, invent and conquer; it forces us towards excessive consumption for ourselves and to see constant and exclusive competition and conflicts where we survive and succeed at each other’s and nature’s expense.

The only other thing that differentiates human beings from animals is the potential ability to become self-aware. Although we pride ourselves as conscious and intelligent beings — that are seemingly capable of creating artificial intelligence — this pride is totally unfounded.

Until now, and at this stage, we are still unconscious, blindly instinctive beings, automatically obeying and following whatever our ego dictates.

Truly Human intelligence and conscious self-awareness start when we become aware of the ego controlling us, and we start a process of becoming independent of the ego when we start controlling and harnessing the power of the ego instead of the ego blindly controlling us.

We have the potential ability to achieve this, and in our generation, it became absolutely crucial and urgent to convert this potential ability into realistic and practical implementation.

We need to start using a special, purposeful, and practical method — the above-mentioned scientists developed specifically for our generation — that can help us humbly and honestly detect and accept the human ego driving and dictating all of our thoughts, decisions, and actions without any exception.

And suppose we recognize how much our ego is our worst enemy, how much it leads us to self-destruction like sheep led toward slaughter. In that case, we can already generate a true need and necessity to detach and separate ourselves from the ego and start harnessing and channeling its incredible driving power towards positive, constructive, and collective goals and purpose.

We are standing at the most important crossroads of human history when — through the recognition of the human ego as the sole root cause for everything we do — we can consciously and purposefully switch to a conscious and purposeful human development, above and controlling the human ego.

Then we will also understand that the unique human ego was “installed” in us by nature’s deterministic evolution purposefully, helping us to become “truly Human” beings and reach and fulfill our unique and very high role and purpose in nature’s system.

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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.