We made up an entire list on the 'distinct' qualities of a human including "reason", "potential for arts and/or creativity", "self-awareness", etc. We went into the questions of how we are "different" from other creatures. We also had a discussion into why some of us believe in God, don't believe in God, have faith, don't have faith, etc. It was truly one of the best discussions I have been a part of in a long time.
We explored the question of what comes first, since it is an Existentialism class after all:
Essence before Existence or, Existence before Essence?
I even remember someone saying that maybe we do not exist, maybe this is all an illusion. Well, I personally believe that in the end love of God and my neighbor will lead me to defeat all illusions and lead me to "see" the ultimate reality. Perhaps this goes back to something similar to what a priest, in both Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches, declares as he holds up the Eucharist: "By him, with him, in him..." For some reason, that came to my mind.
But maybe you agree only with a part of this or disagree with all of it. In the end I go back to the following:
"I ____, therefore I am." And what is that? What can I say before I move to "therefore I am"? Maybe, just maybe, is some of the following:
I sing, therefore I am.
I read, therefore I am.
I believe, therefore I am.
I doubt, therefore I am.
I hope, therefore I am.
I scream, therefore I am.
I seek, therefore I am.
I cry, therefore I am.
I laugh, therefore I am.
I feel, therefore I am.
I love, therefore I am.....
(from a Facebook note I wrote during interesting an afternoon back in January 25, 2011)