Thursday, March 7, 2013


In the end, even I concede that human nature can't be entirely defined or limited by those living today. Some version of evolution may still take place or some deep change of heart could sweep across a large mass of humanity due to extreme circumstances. No one can know everything about the future

Still, the overall composition of humanity seems unlikely to change to me. A certain percentage will almost always be deeply bad and there will be a certain number of ambivalent, questionable types who can be drawn in to do bad things for gain of some kind. Most people will remain basically neither good nor bad. They will mostly seek security and a kind of selfish freedom. 

At the other end of the spectrum will be those who are inspired by something or someone to stand up and fight for something. There will always be people who lives as examples of something most of us are inclined to call goodness. But all these types will probably always be with us. The only thing that could be altered would be the percentages in which the various types appear. Literature such as Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz supports this view and even modern, up-to- the-minute science has become increasingly skeptical about major changes in what we usually refer to as human nature (see Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature or Edward O. Wilson's Consilience).

At any rate, this question should always be approached with some delicacy. To preach about the nobility and goodness of humanity seems childish and naive beyond measure after the moral disasters of the 20th Century. To preach only negative, vicious things about human nature seems peevish and bitter and motivated by the kind of hatred that is born of jealousy, envy and failure.

In practical terms, being too positive makes you seem naive and being too negative can stop people from taking any kind of action because negativity enters the veins as a kind of poison. Once negativity becomes cynicism, it negates possibility.

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