What did it mean to be human before Copernicus? We lived at the centre of the universe, ruled over other species and were made in God’s own image.
What does it mean to be human today, after Copernicus, Darwin, Freud and Derrida? We’re no longer the centre of the universe, or even our own solar system. We’re no longer a unique species created in God’s image. We’re no longer even the master of our own house, since there are many influences on our actions besides what our conscious thoughts dictate. And we no longer believe in the teleological end of man (they believed human history shows that we progress in stages towards our ultimate goal) in the way that thinkers like Marx and Hegel did.
So what does this all mean about us today? Are we now a humble species? Or are we simply confused and floundering for some new way to prove our superiority?