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Discourse Human Nature

Questioning Fragmentation

The previous post’s mention of various views about human nature, incoherent and fragmented in and of themselves, are also incoherent and fragmented in their application towards different domains of life. One individual, as an example, who claims self-interested notions of human nature when discussing the economic life of humanity would not claim these same notions when considering family life; it would more likely be characterized as altruistic. A certain group might hold the belief of human nature as innately competitive when describing politics, for instance, but would think quite differently regarding their own friendship and community life.

Throughout all of history, human beings have demonstrated the capacity for selfishness and selflessness, for competition and cooperation, for malice and mutualism. In fact, these higher nature qualities have been responsible for most of the greatest accomplishments throughout history. In the midst of our current crisis of civilization, and given the profound reciprocal relationship between society and the individual, we would benefit well from re-examining the assumptions underlying social relationships and systems, and re-conceptulizing human nature, purpose, existence, and capacity. At a fundamental level, understandings of these foundational concepts actually form social reality. Let us be clear. What type of conceptual framework are we seeking to construct? A fragmented view or a coherent vision? What type of society are we aiming to create? One that bolsters our animalistic nature, or one that engenders our higher susceptibilities?

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