What is the basic difference between human and animal? Frank Westerman’s answer: “Alone in the world we humans tell each other’s stories.” He understands himself perfectly. Dutch journalist and writer has won many awards for his excellent reporting.
Interestingly, he describes how he started a book project with students as part of a teaching position at Leiden University. The result is this book. The starting point for his research is Homo floresiensis – named “Hobbit” because of its height of only about one meter. Was the early Indonesian man really an exception? What is “normal life”?
Westerman distributes tasks, chases young people out of the lecture hall: they should not only believe what they read somewhere, but instead ask questions in the best way to the reporter. This creates a scientific excitement about the general topic: What is a human? And: How does the human nature of researchers, with their mistakes and weaknesses, affect their results?
Westerman, Old Kid, is an example of a smart start: he confronts experts with real or fake knowledge gaps, according to the motto: If you don’t ask, you’re stupid. And in the end, not only the same, but the readers are also smarter, without any technical terms.
What makes us human?
Structure, 278 pages, €22, –