What Does it Mean to be Human? || Professor Alice Roberts: The Incredible Human Journey
Professor Alice Roberts: The Incredible Human Journey
Ten years on from her landmark BBC2 series, The Incredible Human Journey, Alice Roberts will explore the latest breakthroughs and insights into the colonisation of the globe by our ancient forebears.
Sometimes racing along coastlines, at other times coming to a standstill, their advance blocked by great walls of ice, our ancient ancestors gradually spread right across the globe. Along the way, they adapted to a huge range of different environments, learning to live everywhere and anywhere - from tropical forests and temperate shorelines to the inhospitable high Arctic.
In the last ten years, the evidence has piled up: new fossils, archaeological sites and astounding insights from genetics have painted a new picture of these ancient journeys, and the challenges overcome by our Stone Age ancestors.
What does it mean to be human?
In partnership with Leeds Beckett University , this Leeds International Festival event will explore the question, ‘What does it mean to be human?’
Such a fundamental question isn’t fully answered with a biological definition. The very things that make us unique (if we are) can be considered from a philosophical, historical, innate, technological or future-thinking perspective.
The world advances at such rapid pace; changes in society, commerce, lifestyles and environments, often driven by economic or technological stimuli, occur much more quickly than we as humans and societies can respond to them. This is generating turmoil as our presence and standing becomes ever associated not with who we are as people, but what we do, how we do it and who with.
Are we losing sight of what it means to be human, or did we never really understand that anyway? More than ever, we are questioning our own behaviour, unhappy or uncomfortable with where it has led us, or where it may be leading humanity.
What does it mean to be human? We are unpredictable and that’s something central to our humanity, after all; does modern life push us into a too-narrow, conformist space dominated by technology, money and other influences? Can, or should, that be resisted, or do we shape these fields for our own, and society’s, needs?
We need to ask insightful questions about ourselves and our communities. For example, have we reached ‘peak tech’ now that we have digital detox, switch off and screen free days? Have we lost sight of the essence of what we want from our life? Have we forgotten how to be human?
Leeds International Festival