Human condition

Human condition

The human condition (also called common humanity) encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context. It can be described as the irreducible part of humanity that is inherent and not connected to gender, race, class, etc. — a search for purpose, sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, fear of death, etc. The "human condition" is especially studied through the set of disciplines and sub-fields that make up the humanities. The study of history, philosophy, literature, and the arts all help understand the nature of the human condition and the broader cultural and social arrangements that make up human lives.

Although the term itself may have gained popular currency with André Malraux’s novel (1933) and René Magritte’s paintings 1933 & 1935, both titled La Condition Humaine, and with Hannah Arendt’s book (1958) and Masaki Kobayashi’s film trilogy (1959-1961)[1] which examined these and related concepts, the quest to understand the human condition dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.[citation needed]



The human condition is the subject of such fields of study as philosophy, theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, demographics, evolutionary biology, cultural studies, and sociobiology. The philosophical school of existentialism deals with the ongoing search for ultimate meaning in the human condition.

In most developed countries, improvements in technology, medicine, education, and public health have brought about quantitative, not necessarily qualitative, marked changes in the human condition over the last few hundred years, with increases in life expectancy and population (see demographic transition). One of the largest changes has been the availability of contraception, which has changed the sexual lives (and attitudes toward sexuality) of countless humans. Even then, these changes only alter the details of the human condition.

There are several theories as to what we as humans all have in common. A popular example is that humans search for purpose. We are curious and thrive on new information.

Today, many people use this term to refer to the fact that because all humans are flawed and share flaws we suffer from "The Human Condition" and because of "The Human Condition" no one person or one group can be fully trusted with absolute power.

Possibilities of change

Certain movements, most prominently transhumanism, aim to radically change the human condition. Some thinkers, like Enrico Fermi and others, deny that human nature has really changed in any fundamentally meaningful way over time and that, despite all of the social and scientific advances that have occurred, humans remain essentially unchanged and have been merely transplanted into progressively more complex environments. Transhumanist theorists agree; however, they argue that this is precisely the problem. In transhumanist thought, the human species clearly has come as far as it can usefully go in terms of biological evolution, and if they, as intelligent life forms, intend to keep progressing at what they consider to be a reasonable pace, humans must dramatically alter the parameters of life, via emerging technologies. Opponents of transhumanism such as neo-luddites, and bioconservatives assert that human nature, as we currently know it, is sufficient for all intents and purposes, and therefore does not necessitate any upgrades.

See also


  1. ^ Ningen no joken I, the first instalment the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi
    Ningen no joken II, the second instalment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi
    Ningen no joken III, the third instalment in the Human Condition trilogy by Masaki Kobayashi

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • human condition — noun The characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality …   Wiktionary

  • human condition —  Человеческое состояние …   Вестминстерский словарь теологических терминов

  • Human Condition Records — is an independent record label based in Edinburgh, Scotland which was founded in 1990. It has been the starting point for many artists including Idlewild, Foil, Sputniks Down, Eugenius and Obaben. See also * List of record labelsExternal links*… …   Wikipedia

  • Human condition (disambiguation) — The human condition refers to the experience of existence and life as humans. The Human Condition may refer to:* The Human Condition , a film trilogy directed by Masaki Kobayashi. * The Human Condition , a book by political philosopher Hannah… …   Wikipedia

  • The Human Condition (film trilogy) — The Human Condition Directed by Masaki Kobayashi Produced by Shigeru Wakatsuki (I III) Masaki Kobayashi (I …   Wikipedia

  • Design Flaws of the Human Condition — is a novel by Paul Schmidtberger. Contents 1 Background 2 Synopsis 3 References 4 External links Backgro …   Wikipedia

  • The Human Condition (painting) — Infobox Painting| backcolor=#FBF5DF painting alignment=right image size=300px title=The Human Condition artist=René Magritte year=1935 type=Oil on canvas height=42.2 width=32.2 height inch= width inch = diameter cm = diameter inch = city=… …   Wikipedia

  • The Human Condition (book) — The Human Condition , published in 1958, is one of the central theoretical works of the philosopher Hannah Arendt. The subject to various interpretations, the most common of which is that it is an account for the historical development of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Exhibit B: The Human Condition — est le neuvième album du groupe Exodus sorti en 2010. Liste des titres The Ballad of Leonard and Charles 7:14 Beyond The Pale 7:40 Hammer and Life 3:31 Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer) 7:14 Downfall 6:21 March of the Sycophants 6:45 Nanking 7:22… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Human (disambiguation) — Human may refer to *any member of the Homo genus (since ca. 2.5 million years) **Human taxonomy ** Homo sapiens (modern humans), the only surviving species of Homo . ***archaic Homo sapiens (since ca. 200,000 years) *** Homo sapiens idaltu (ca.… …   Wikipedia