Human Nature

Human beings were created in a very special way because they are the only species that can question their own character. Now that we understand how we came into being, it is also important to understand why we behave in a certain manner. The knowledge of both good and bad enables man to control his environment[1]. Some people feel that the good and bad exist by default, and they are used for our own advantage. For instance, when attacked by another person one has to fight back in self-defense.

On the other hand, when other people do good things to us we respond by appreciating their good gesture through the good things that we do to them or offer them, such as presents and hugs. This paper seeks to assert that we are neither born bad nor good by the human nature, but rather we have power to make choices.

In this regard, man is induced to do bad or good things by the people around him. However, this argument is not true because there are many people who offend others without a good reason. For instance, why would someone who is hardly known to you break into your house and take away your personal belongings?

This suggests that people do good or bad things when it suits them because in the above scenario the bugler engages in crime as a way of earning his daily bread. This can only be acceptable when that person may have tried other means and failed to achieve the desired results. It is then expected that if the person who is bad to people finds an alternative way of earning his daily bread he would switch to being good.

Behavior Starts Before Birth

When a child is born, it cannot tell the difference between the good and the wrong things and it only depends on the guidance provided by the parents and guardians. It then follows that if the parents do not correct the child early enough he/she will grow to be a bad person and the parents should then bear all the blame.

Besides that, the people that one associates with play a major role in building one’s character. This is because if the friends one interacts with are of bad character they may influence that person negatively. This is very common among adolescents because they hardly recognize themselves. Because they long for recognition, they do whatever their friends do, just to be accepted. It only dawns on them later in life that they have independent lives.

Human behavior commences before the baby is born. This is evidenced by the fact that unborn babies engage in numerous activities while still in the womb of their mothers such as sucking their own fingers. Ekman asserts that this argument can be proved true by observing a pregnant woman by using a scanner.[2]

When the baby is finally born, it does not care whether what it does is good or bad because it only cares about itself. When this attitude is allowed to grow that child grows to be a bad person because he/she wants to things in his/her favor and does not consider the people affected by his/her actions. This attitude is expressed as selfishness because it causes people to focus on themselves and ignore other people.

Bad Things Are Easy To Do

Another argument that explains why some people are bad is that bad things are easily done than good things. Doing good things is perceived to be tiring and takes longer to accomplish the intended purpose.[3]

For instance, if one needs to buy a car he/she needs to work harder including working extra hours and avoiding some luxuries to enable him/her to save enough money and it may take several years to achieve this goal. On the other hand, stealing somebody else’s car makes it easy to achieve this goal because it takes a few minutes to do so.

Most people are initially good, but then there are circumstances in their lives that cause their behavior to be transformed. This is because in as much as one wants to do good things to others, there are many people who respond to their noble behavior by doing bad things. This causes the people who are good to be discouraged because their conduct does not attract the expected behavior from others.

Consider a famous person like Osama Bin Laden, who was viewed by his educators as a very humble person, but his late transformation into a seasoned terrorist sent tremor across the globe until he was recently captured. This argument implies that if one does not beget what he/she gives then that person ceases to be good. For instance, if one is honest, but keeps on being lied to he/she will also be tempted to lie.

Buller argues that our environment plays a major role in transforming our character.[4] This is because if a child is raised up in a warring country, the first thing he/she will learn is to defend him/herself by learning how to use the various weapons at his/her disposal. Some people are bad or good because they inherited some personality traits from their parents’ lineage.

For instance, a child may grow to be a bank robber or a priest while none of his parents were interested in these careers (being a robber is also a career) but a close evaluation of the parents family tree could reveal that one of the ancestors was a robber or a religious leader. This means that a couple of good personality can sire children who are social misfits.

Human behavior is also influenced by gender, which is, being male or female. Men tend to be more physically aggressive owing to their masculinity while women are gentler because they are not physically strong.

Additionally women’s’ gentleness is important when it comes to mothering because if children were to be nursed by men, human population would be at risk of being gradually eliminated from the surface of the earth.[5]

Women are neater than men are, because they are sensitive to fowl smells unlike their male counterparts who can go for days without taking a bath. The society expects men to be vigilant because they are the ones responsible of defending the community.

Biological or Theoretical Perception

A theory of human nature must have a reflection right from the beginning whether it sees human beings in essentially biological terms, as animals like other animals, or else in essentially supernatural terms, as creatures who are like God in some unique way, and therefore outstandingly unlike other animals. Most of the perennial philosophical arguments have proved so obstinate in one way or another because their supporters divide along these lines.

Those who perceive that human beings as just a particular complex materials found everywhere on Earth, suppose that we are ultimately formed out of the same material structure from which animals are made. If that could be the case that human beings were constituted of the same material form like animals, then according to the friends of dualism, such a scenario could hardly do any justice to what is considered special about the human nature. [6]

Equally, according to the Libertarians, strongly non-deterministic conceptions of free will see something special out of human naturalness and moral responsibility.[7] To their rivals, human beings do operate on the same standards, although more complex, as do squid and plankton.

Such perceptions and others should not bring a division along the religious cut lines. One many oppose naturalism without even reflecting on supernatural theistic outlook. For instant, one might view it that human beings are essentially unlike other biological creatures, but yet not to suppose that we have been made to be that way by a higher power.

Equally, the theist may perceive it as part of the divine plan in having human beings as nothing much than being the most complete and complex of the biological organisms, composed of the same form and guarded by the same laws.

Therefore, even though I have described between two perceptions, biological and naturalistic against theological and supernatural- detains an important fault that runs through the intense debate over the human nature, it by no other means determines all of one’s successive philosophical choices. According to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, it exemplifies on the sort of tensions that do arise out of this two perceptions.[8]

For while, the entire orientation of Aquinas’s work is merely theistic, not at all does he harbor any sympathy for a naturalistic, biological appreciation of the human nature. In some of the cases, for instance, in his account of the human intellect, the supernaturalism perception clearly wins out.

In some instances, as in the conception of the human beings as a make-up of the soul- body union, it is likewise clear that biological considerations are paramount. In still other incidences, for instance, on his opinion on free will, it becomes very difficult to state the thoughts that hold way, and the preference of the interpreters of his works is largely presided over by their individual predictions.[9]

The conventional ways of making this point clear, of whether we have a human nature, is by describing Aquinas as mediating between the theological teachings of the church and Aristotle philosophical writings. On historical perspective, this is an apt place to begin thinking about the Aquinas philosophy, because it is very certain that the challenges that Aquinas encountered in his career work was find a common place for Aristotle’s newly recorded works within the prevailing framework of Christian belief.[10]

Finding a place for Aristotle meant going deep into finding a place for a conception of human nature, which is biological in its general course. Though one may try to reconcile Aristotle and Christianity, however, essential as it may seem to be to understanding Aquinas historical situation, does not fit the natural – supernatural peculiarity as precisely as one might expect. This is because even the Aristotle’s notion of soul is essentially biological.

On the other hand, there are propensities in the Christian thoughts towards treating the body in a spiritual fashion, as a temporary prison of the soul. Moreover, there is also the doctrine of resurrection, whereby the separation of the body is an impermanent state of affairs, which will be remedied by the body’s eventual reinstatement, for all the eternity, at the final judgment.[11]

Aquinas therefore, understands the resurrection as pointing towards the essential biological character of the human nature, in the sense that human beings are not only souls, but also incarnate souls. Although it is very certain that Aquinas regards intellectual and volitional powers as the greatest attributes of humankind, which arises from the side of the soul rather than the body, he is yet obstinate that an entire understanding of the human nature requires one to understand the body nature as well.

Human beings are not created as pure spiritual beings as angels who are nothing more than the incorporeal minds, that is not who the human beings are. Human beings are essentially mind-body complexes. So for one to understand if really we have a human nature, the study of the mental capacities, intellectual and will is not be enough, but the entire human body.[12]

According to Hobbes’s conception on human nature, he considers the principles of human action as being progressive, which accounts for human motivation. He also views human nature as a being able to organize the society. A fundamental feature of his claim on the human nature is that, Hobbes has an atomistic conception of the human society, and this is based on his study on physics. Hobbes rejects organisms, by asserting that human beings were prompted into motion by the mechanical effects triggered from the senses.[13]

They were not only supposed to be used for reflex actions, but rather use them also in guiding their actions away from those, which might be harmful, and towards those that might be termed as beneficial. He also argues that a human person is also embodied into having power to compete with others, for instance in a case where there is auctioneering. He therefore considers competing power as a necessity feature of human nature (Hobbes 23).

Conclusion

Currently, there is no common agreement on the connection and knowledge of natural sciences in the advancement of human nature concerning philosophical or religious ideologies. Such conformity or perception cannot be feasible when there is no common concept explaining the human nature.

Conclusively and putting into consideration the diverse theories from theologians and philosophers as discussed, we can say that we have a human nature that is not only composed of the soul and mind but rather by the entire body. We are neither born bad nor good by the human nature, but rather we have power to make choices. The society or the environment we are living in may influence the choices we make.

Works Cited

Buller, David. Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005. Print.

Ekman, Paul. “Darwin’s Compassionate View of Human Nature.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. 303.6 (2010): 557-558. doi: 10.1001/jama.2010.101.

Haidt, Jonathan. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Print.

Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan. London: Penguin, 1985. Print.

Rutherford, James. “An Ecological Organic Paradigm: A Framework of Analysis for Moral and Political Philosophy.” Journal of Consciousness Studies., 6.10 (1999): 81–103. Electronic.

Savage, Joanne, and Satoshi Kanazawa. “Social Capital, Crime, and Human Nature.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 18.2 (2002): 188-211. doi: 10.1177/1043986202018002005.

Haidt, Jonathan. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom. New York: Basic Books, 2006. p. 40.
Ekman, Paul. “Darwin’s Compassionate View of Human Nature.” The Journal of the American Medical Association. 303.6 (2010): p. 557.
Ekman, p. 558
Buller, David. Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005. p. 25.
Rutherford, James. “An Ecological Organic Paradigm: A Framework of Analysis for Moral and Political Philosophy.” Journal of Consciousness Studies., 6.10 (1999): p. 94.
Haidt, p. 54.
Savage, Joanne, and Satoshi Kanazawa. “Social Capital, Crime, and Human Nature.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 18.2 (2002): p. 188.
Rutherford, p. 90.
Ibid
Buller, p. 67.
Ekman, p. 558.
Rutherford, p. 100.
Hobbes, p. 23.