What do we know about human nature? What ideas get thrown out about it? Is human nature as static as many people believe it is? Has this “nature” always been the way it is? What ideas have been popularized over others regarding human nature? Do we ultimately know for sure?
Trends in behavior caused by consumerism, political ideas, and other factors affect consciousness in a way that alters human perception and behavior. However, is it indicative of our nature as human beings? Again, the question is asked: what do we know about human nature? Is what we know a constant or does it just seem that way because of the current construct?
Today’s ideas seem to have been given permission by others to assert themselves into consciousness. What this does is limit the ability to perceive outside its parameters. For example, it has been asserted by many that humanity is “bad” and that it is just our human nature to be horrible and competitive toward one another. The effects of the current socioeconomic construct on individuals supports that idea but is it necessarily so? Many institutionalized belief systems have taught of the evils of humanity and how advantageous it has been for some to manipulate others. While it is true that such things have taken place (and continue to take place) in human history, is it fair to say that it is ALL of humanity when it is just a percentage that is doing this?
There is no denying the level of glorification human malice receives in the modern industrialized society. It has become an axiom of human understanding to accept how unjust, competitive, and “evil” humanity is. As a challenge, let us analyze that notion to see if something different can be discovered. It is not to say that anyone will discover an overabundance of sanctity among humans but what they will discover is perhaps far different than what institutions teach about humanity. Simple things in everyday life that most people don’t notice or take for granted show that human action is more than what is believed. It may be hard to accept that because of how many rude drivers, impolite people, and surly individuals one encounters in a day. The thing is, they are not everywhere and it is not so dualistic as some believe. It only takes exploring and discovering to find out.
The Perspective Essays discusses this subject extensively throughout its pages. From competition to forgiveness (which is another topic altogether), the current ideas regarding human nature are challenged and analyzed to provide insight into understanding human ability beyond its perception. The book suggests that humanity is more than what is perpetuated about it. It is not set in a black and white manner but more varied in its essence. Like anything, it simply takes a willingness to understand. What is inspired from that understanding may well alter one’s perception not just of humanity but of themselves, most importantly.
The video below explains further the book’s understanding of human nature.