Friday, October 3, 2014

#277 / Which World?

Here is an interesting question for you. To which "World" does human nature pledge allegiance? Is human nature part of the "World of Nature," the world that preexists human existence and human efforts; or, is "human nature" a human construction, something that human beings "create," and that, like other parts of the "Human World," is something that human beings can change?

An article entitled "Survival of the Sexiest," in the September 29, 2014 edition of The Nationaddresses this issue in connection with a discussion of Evolutionary Psychology. The image above pretty well synopsizes the EP perspective.

I come down on the same side as the authors, who end their very interesting article with this statement: "Our desire to speculate about human nature may be our most distinctive feature. Along with one other constant: whether by nature or nurture, human beings can change, are changing, and will continue to change."

Humans are subject to the physical laws that govern the physical world, the World of Nature. Those laws state inevitabilities. You can't disobey the law of gravity.

But nothing pertaining to our human world is inevitable, not even our own "human nature." We create the world we most immediately inhabit. This human world is not an "individual" construct, of course; we create it together. But our actions, individual and collective, are a matter of choice. 

Nothing is impossible in the world we make.

Image Credit:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary ~

    As a biologist I warm to this discussion!

    There are two problems with talking about "human nature" as though it is somehow separate from human physiology.

    First is that there is no such thing as human nature (singular). There are a whole host of human natures (plural), which vary within cultures as well as within individuals. For instance, it is not in my personal nature to shout during disagreements, to make snide remarks about those with whom I disagree, or to enjoy being on a cruise ship with 3,500 other humans.

    Second, in order to understand why people do things...or don't do things, one has to study human physiology. By physiology I mean all of the following subjects:

    Cell Physiology
    Integumentary System
    The Nervous System
    The Muscular System
    Blood Physiology
    The Cardiovascular System
    The Immune System
    The Urinary System
    The Respiratory System
    The Gastrointestinal System
    The Endocrine System
    The Male Reproductive System
    The Female Reproductive System
    Pregnancy and Birth
    Genetics and Inheritance

    Body chemistry, evolved over millions of years, is at work throughout our lives. There are a bazillion reasons for human actions -- some of which do not fit in the assertion that we have "choice" on how we behave. Hormones are some of the strongest chemicals in our human bodies. This is not meant to excuse any aggression caused by them (in both male and female of the species). This is simply a fact.

    The question was asked "To which 'world' does human nature pledge allegiance?" Since we are not separate from "nature" (we've just forgotten that we are), the answer is that humans and their physiology...and resultant behavioral natures...are part of the world of nature. A part of...not apart from.


Thanks for your comment!