Ramblings on Human Nature

Recently I have been participating in an interesting discussion about human nature with my father.  And well, it has inspired me to write about it.

Human nature is defined as, “the psychological and social qualities that characterize humankind.”  And I suppose the first question to ask is:  Is this nature permanent? 

There are some people who think that this human nature, the essence of who we are, is the same regardless of what is presented to the individual.  That we are always self-centered, always are a part of tribalism, always value individual freedom and gain over other people, and so on.  However, there is an impression with the writer, philosopher, and psychologist Erich Fromm.  He is under the impression that the human mind from the beginning can be changed ever which way dependent upon the values of society/culture around that individual.  In other words, he leans more strongly with the environment in determining the nature of a human being.  This view compliments the view of natural selection.  If an individual is born in a certain society whose genes and environment helps produce characteristics that favors that society, they will undoubtedly produce an individual who is “successful” by the standards created by the society.  This increases the possibility that these genes will be passed down, creating individuals for the most part if their environment allows, more people who meets society’s standards.  It should be noted, that if the favored values of a society and/or culture changes, according to The Humanist and Natural Selection perspective, the values, and therefore key thinking, may change.  An interesting note, scientist did brain scans of violent prison inmates.  They found the circuit that connects the limbic system to the prefrontal cortex, is smaller and therefore weaker.  The limbic system has more to do with urges, while the prefrontal cortex has to do with suppressing those urges in a more acceptable form for the time being.  So is this circuitry created more with genes and environment?  In most cases, people would say both.

Which would mean, that if the genes were to change, as well as the environment, it would be a brewing pot for creating people with a general different perspective on life.  A little of this can be found today at different cultures and regions around the world.  The diet, to the philosophical view on life, whether it is Buddhism or Taoism, to religious views, are all shaped by environment and also genetics.  I have to say, that the theory that has to do with Natural Selection and Erich Fromm both compliment one another in one key area.  That individuals that are successful in that society create individuals who propagate values and philosophies of that society or culture.  And well through observation, that does happen.

I say all of this because it is in my belief that at some point in the future, not necessarily in my lifetime, I believe there will be a Revolution against The United States Government.  The reason why I say this, is mainly because the US Government is increasingly ignoring The United States Constitution.  It depends how The Government is going to play it.  If they are smart, they will change things that are done on Capital Hill while refusing to take certain key liberties from the people.  It could be viewed that the current debate on firearms is a removal of liberty by some, but the Government is pursuing it because there is enough people to back The Government up.  But this is most likely what The Government is doing.  And I suppose I can’t blame them to a certain extent, because the people allow these things to happen because they are content with the lives they are living.

And on this revolution, I hope humanity tries with the understanding of failure, the philosophical view of thought on human nature that suggests through genes and environment, you can create different brains so to speak, that coincides with that society’s values.  Because, I do agree that The United States was successful, it sure as hell was not perfect.  There are many things we could improve upon for humanity’s sake.  Through the nature of my writing on this blog, I do do some reading and research before I write something however probably not enough.  I wonder what scientific studies that have been done on this subject, but I doubt someone totally changed the environment and value system of a young person, as that would not be ethical.  The only way to test these theories, is to try them.  I firmly believe that.  And the possibilities that present themselves if things were changed, have to be considered.  I will share an idea on how things could be better, but a lot of that desire to change and what that change would be has already been discussed on this blog.  But I really do hope other forms of government are considered, instead of the government that was fabricated when The Puritans ran from oppressive England.  They wrote a Constitution with a segment on individual freedom.  It makes sense, because they are writing from the conditions that they were in.  All I am saying is, we should think about doing the same, and obviously, those conditions would be different.

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