The Four Percent
Updated: Jan 3
A 2005 study by the National Human Genome Research Institute found that chimpanzees – our closest living evolutionary relatives – are 96% genetically similar to humans.
You’ll actually be able to witness the similarities in our behaviour and experience it yourself by tuning into your various urges and impulses.
If you hung out at a bar for 30 mins you'll actually see all the regular patterns in humans akin to something you’d see on the National Geographic channel.
But then there’s that 4%.
That ever so slight variance that makes you uniquely human
Granted, this tends to allude primarily to biology, but the point is, there is something about you, which makes you different from the other animals.
It’s your capacity to reach for that extra four per cent that makes you who you are.
So what’s in that four per cent?
What is it about you that differentiates you from all the other animals?
Not sure there’s a clear answer to that just yet, but what we can say is that a difference clearly exists.
It’s immaterial as much as it is material.
It’s philosophical and possibility even spiritual in nature.
It’s your ability to essentially still do what all the other animals do, but operating at a level, or within a realm that allows you to do it with so much more complexity.
There's language and music and art. There's reason, rationality, morality.
It's the ability to Love and to forgive.
There’s a transcendent nature to it, something that elevates you beyond your mere biology.
The challenge then for you, is living up to that four per cent.
Living up to those unique qualities that make you human and sets you apart from anything else out there.
I tend to equate the meaning of health to living a full human life – not a full life, but a full human life (there's a difference).
So in order to do that, it’s important to understand what being human actually means and what it calls on you to do and who it calls on you to be.
Yes, you are an animal, but you’re also more than that.
There’s something about you that can’t be witnessed anywhere else, not in other animals, not here on earth, not even throughout the vastness of the whole universe.
So living up to your humanity is almost your sole responsibility – anything short of that and you’ll forever have that sense that there’s something missing.
This is your true nature.
The opposite would be to act purely on impulse – relying primarily on your emotions and how you might feel at any given time.
This is what animals tend to do - pleasure seeking and pain avoidance.
This is often mis-taken as how it should be, as the natural order of things.
Perhaps it is for other animals, but your ability to transcend is built into your human nature.
It’s this ability to reach for the greater good that actually makes you human.
This is a trait exclusive only to you.
That being the case, it would make sense, that in order to live a full human life, that’s where you should be focusing your time and attention.
Elevating yourself to take your rightful place.
Living up to your full potential.
It’s in this four per cent, that the life that was intended for you, is lived.
So if you do nothing else, at the very least, keep reaching for that four per cent. You’ll be surprised at just how much of life happens there.