What is it that makes us human? Is it the ability to love? Is it because we are able to show different emotions and express different feelings? Is it how we join religious groups and how we fight for the ideologies that we believe?
Filmmaker Yann Arthus-Bertrand wanted to understand why humans are different to other living beings, so he spent three years collecting stories from thousands of men and women from 60 different parts of the world. The stories capture the realities of life: sexual identity, anger, poverty, war, love, happiness, and the plethora of emotions that human beings experience.
When it comes to love, every person seems to have his or her own definition and each definition is based on a person’s story. The situations he or she has experienced and endured influences what love means to them. For some, love is sex but for others it goes way beyond that and it means service in the good times and the bad times. Is it possible to be deeply in love with more than one person at the same time? Does the gender of the person we fall in love with matter? And do the rest of us who are called ‘straight’ have the right to judge those who are homosexuals?
What causes wars? Are all the killings and the hatred really inevitable? When one takes a look at the decisions that are made by politicians—decisions that deliberately place the lives of innocent people in danger—one has to wonder whose interests are being protected. The shock of seeing the lifeless bodies of loved ones lying on the floor in pools of blood is hard to forget.
Where does one find happiness? Is it something that only the privileged can enjoy? Is it possible to live in joy and acceptance in spite of difficult circumstances? Is it true that our level of gratitude is directly proportional to our level of happiness?
As you listen to the stories you can’t help but take a look deep inside. Some of the testimonies are funny, some are heartwarming, while others are filled with pain and hurt. A few of them seem far removed from our reality and are hard to identify with. Yet these are their stories— their true stories—and they have the power to move our souls.
What is it that makes us human? It’s more, much more.