Presently, humanity is considered as an idea that can be defined by a single well-defined trait or group of traits and that a single stage in evolution was a crucial turning point on the inevitable road to Homo sapiens, which discounts possibility of continued evolution. But, the idea of a defining turn on the inevitable road to Homo sapiens is a possibility. Certain facet of human nature would have been responsible for all that we see as the distinctive elements of human race.
I am of the opinion that there has to be a driving force behind evolution, just as there is something to promote whatever life does. For example, hunger promotes eating, or, fear promotes shelter, and there in nothing in nature, where there is nothing to promote. We need to look for a driving force, which will be the one responsible for making us behave the way we behave.
So, how did we acquire humanness? I mean erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use, compared to other animals; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies. What enabled our ancestor species to, create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, like families, kinship networks, and political states, start social interactions between themselves, establish an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society?
Most common answers pointed to changes in living circumstances, all answers pointing to external influence. Like access to food surplus, domestication of animals, and the use of metal tools, leading to the formation of permanent human settlements.
Further search for this driving force culminated in my book, The Unsure Male. As I explain in that book, rather than an external force, what led us to the path of acquiring distinctive marks is our own volition. We are greatly enamored by the irrational, and are constantly in its search. Many of our escapades turn out to be rational later, which routinely lead to great names, and great ideas. A few of those ideas from our distant past still remain, causing consternation at will, especially as the original environment where such ideas would have been of help is no more present. (Now also we are behind the irrational, but that, rather than consternation, it leads to great inventions regularly)
What caused us to choose this path, for whatever reason? Yes. It is the ability of humans to substitute one’s needs, desires, and fulfillment with real or abstract things. We mastered the art of using this talent to suit to one’s convenience, unlike all other species of life. Which I think, is what can be called the distinctive human quality.