Man Is The Animal...

Four years ago, I suppose when I was reading something by Heinlein, he piqued my interest with a "man is the animal…" statement. I made a small collection of these saying gathered from the web. Fast forward to now. Over on John Wright's blog, I made this comment in the "Notorious Meat Robot" thread:

Robots are deterministic finite state machines.
Dogs are non-deterministic finite state machines.
Humans are also non-deterministic finite state machines that have greater complexity than dogs (our ability to extend our memory through writing makes us, effectively, Turing machines, which are finite state machines that have infinite memory).

I will condense this to:

Man is the animal that uses external storage.

As of this posting, Google finds no matches for this sentence, nor does it match if "that" is replaced with "who". So I lay claim to originality of phrase.

Other examples of "man is the animal" below the fold.
Intelligence
"Man is the
animal rationale, the rational being." Hans-Georg Gadamer
"Man is the symbolic animal." (paraphrased)
Ernst Cassirer
"Man is the animal who perceives reality in terms of abstractions."
Howard S. Katz
"Man is the animal that thinks."
Charlie Martin

Self-awareness
"Man is the animal that must recognize itself as human to be human."
Carl Linnaeus
"Man is the animal that has succeeded in putting himself inside himself."
Jose Ortega y Gasset

Selfishness
"Man is the animal who relinquishes nothing."
V. C. Ferkiss

Communication
"Man is the animal that speaks."
Thomas Szasz wrote in The Second Sin
"Man is the animal that is possessed by speech (logos)."
Aristotle
"Man is the animal who makes dogmas."
C. K. Chesterton
"Man is the animal that teaches."
Brian Rude

Imagination
"Man is the animal that ponders death ... Man is the animal that ponders immortality."
Nikos Kazantzakis
Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps; for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be. -- William Hazlitt
"Man is the animal who can promise."
Nietzche
"Man is the animal that laughs." Mark Twain, but disagreed with: "But so does the monkey, as Mr. Darwin pointed out; and so does the Australian bird that is called the laughing jackass."
"Man is the animal that cries."
Ray Bradbury

Morality
"Man is the animal that gets to choose what he values, with no restrictions." Bob_Mac
"Man is the animal most prolific in evolving conventions, flouting conventions with artifice and then turning those artifices into new conventions."
Wirkman Virkkala
"Man is the animal that believes something is wrong."
Richard Smoley
"Man is the animal that draws lines which he himself then stumbles over." Piet Hein
"Man is the animal who becomes aware … that he inhabits a world in which he never fully belongs."
C. E. Scott
"Man is the animal not yet properly adapted to his environment."
Friedrich Nietzsche
Man is the animal "that harbors insults and injuries, broods over them, waits till a chance offers, then takes revenge." Mark Twain
"Man is the animal that blushes." Mark Twain
Man is the animal that is cruel. Mark Twain, paraphrased.

Technology
"Man is the animal that intends to shoot himself out into interplanetary space, after having given up on the problem of an efficient way to get himself five miles to work and back each day." Bill Vaughan
"Man is the animal that has made friends with the fire."
Henry Van Dyke
"Man is the animal constantly looking for ways to better his life through artful means and devices; man is the animal with what Rousseau called “perfectibility”."
President’s Council on Bioethics
"Man is the animal who most radically “adjusts actions to ends.”"
Herbert Spencer
"Man is a tool-using animal."
Thomas Carlyle "Only man makes machines." Mortimer J. Adler
"Man is the animal that abbreviates."
Patricia A. French and E. Magnus Ohman
"Man is the animal who makes his own nature."
Sarte (paraphrase)
"Man is the animal that chooses its instincts through emulation, and all his learning has roots and branches. "
Guy Davenport

Uncategorized
"Man is the animal which can never be content for long periods of time – he will always return to discontent."
Veritas Ex Nihilo
"Man is the unnatural animal, the rebel child of nature."
H G Wells
"Man is the animal that doesn't know what to do with itself."
Joseph Campbell
"Man is the animal which represses himself and which creates culture or society in order to repress himself."
Norman O. Brown

"Man is the animal that confronts face-to-face."
Heidegger
"Man is the animal that attains humanity through the disciplined exercise of moral imagination."
Primo Levi


"Man is the animal addicted to smoking."
Frank C. Whitmore
"Man is the animal that takes pills."
William Osler
"Man is the animal that can deliberately renounce its drives."
J. A. M. Merloo

"Man is a game playing animal and a computer is another way to play games." Scott Adams

I've said this nineteen dozen times but you still don't believe it. Man is the one animal that can't be tamed. He goes along for years, peaceful as a cow, when it suits him. Then when it suits him not to be, he makes a leopard look like a tabby cat. Which goes double for the female of the species.
-- The Deacon in Tunnel In The Sky, Robert A. Heinlein

Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics-you name it--is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what man is--not what do-gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The Universe will let us know--later-whether or not Man has any "right" to expand through it.
-- Juan Rico in Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein

Man is...A domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things.
-- Jilly Cooper

God is an iron, I said. Did you know that?...If a person indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron. Or else He's the dumbest designer that ever lived...Are you familiar with the old cliche, 'Everything in the world I like is either illegal, immoral, or fattening'? ... Didn't that ever strike you as damned odd? What's the most nutritionally useless and physiologically dangerous 'food' substance in the world? White sugar. Glucose. And it seems to be beyond the power of the human nervous system to resist it. They put it in virtually all the processed food there is, which is next to all the food there is, because nobody can resist it. And so we poison ourselves and whipsaw our dispositions and rot our teeth. Maltose is just as sweet, but it's less popular, precisely because it doesn't kick your blood sugar in the ass and then depress it again. Isn't that odd? There is a primitive programming in skulls that rewards us, literally overwhelmingly, every time we do something damned silly. Like smoke a poison, or eat or drink or snort or shoot a poison. Or overeat good foods. Or engage in complicated sexual behavior without procreative intent, which, if it were not for the pleasure, would be pointless and insane. And which, if pursued for the pleasure alone, quickly becomes pointless and insane anyway. A suicidal brain-reward system is built into us.
But the reward system is for survival.
So how the hell did ours get wired up so that survival-threatening behavior gets rewarded best of all? Even the pro-survival stimuli are wired so that a dangerous overload produces the maximum pleasure. On a purely biological level, man is programmed to strive hugely for more than he needs, more than he can profitably use.
-- 'Joe’ _Mindkiller_

Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.
-- Albert Schweitzer

"Man is the self-aware animal who doesn't know what he is."

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