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Humans are the only creatures that can eat a hot meal while flying.

Loriot’s joke immediately makes everyone smile. It is easy to overlook the fact that the sentence is in good company. Birgit Recki made it clear a few years ago when writing in the magazine Merkur that the joke includes a smart definition of the human being. What is the human being? There is no harm to ask the question. Is he, we read, “with Sophocles a monster, with Socrates a two-legged creature without feathers, with Aristotle the zoon politikon? A swaying but thinking reed in the wind?” Is he just any mammal or the crown of creation, determined by social conditions or a homo faber? No definition sounds more beautiful and none surprises us as much as that of the humorist.

[found and commented by Thomas Wagner]

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