The first answer to the question, “What is Man”, we might give to the question is the Common Sense answer, “Just a Person.”
The common sense way of looking at man is the layman’s way. It is uncomplicated by the technicalities of specialists. The common sense way says, “If you want to know what man is, just watch him in action for a while, and see how he behaves.”
There is little difficulty in seeing how man differs from nature about him. He uses nature, and nature does not use him. Man uses these things according to deliberate plans of his own. Man collectively is a user of tools, a user of languages, a being of past and present cultures and as such, is quite different from his non-human neighbors. Common sense sees man as a person, an individual, responsible self.
As an individual, man is a bundle of persistent wants and satisfactions or frustrations. He has habits of thinking, and acting, and feeling, but he remains more or less unpredictable because of his individuality.
Common sense sees man as a social being as a member of many groups, and each group has its special role for man to perform. Every grown person is in a sense a whole group of persons. He combines in himself many roles, but without all of them he would not be the individual he is.
At home, the person is one being with characteristics that may be quite different from those of the role he plays at work. Each of these roles that the individual plays is vitalized by the wants, emotions and loyalties peculiar to it. The mature individual must realize that the continued widening of the roles he must play as he joins additional groups, require that his mind be kept open to the conflicts of everyday living.
Common sense also sees man as a responsible individual combining individual integrity and social participation with the acknowledging of obligations that transcend both.
When man sees an inanimate thing, he recognizes it as something to admire or use or fear, but he does not expect it to recognize him. When man sees another man, he recognizes him as an individual and expects to be recognized and treated according to certain recognized standards. It took the American soldier a long time to realize that when confronting the Japanese soldier, he would not be treated according to the standards the American recognized.