Confronting Human Nature

There comes a point in the process of any endeavor when it’s time to pause and take stock of what’s come before, what lies ahead, and what needs attention. The path my writing has taken has left an open issue that I think needs to be addressed before continuing on.

It is usually considered preferable, when pointing out problems, to offer up some kind of solution as well. Yet I haven’t really done that and it’s time to explain why. I am not a philosopher, but I write from a philosophical perspective and look beneath problems and situations for the underlying motivations and factors present in human nature which are at the core of all problems.

When it comes to human nature there really are no answers, solutions or quick fixes, yet it’s essential to recognize and understand that they are always in play. The role of human nature in our affairs is hugely important and consequential and cannot be understated. This nature is a condition in our existence that should not be ignored or discounted because it’s considered unsolvable or inevitable. To put it bluntly, I have offered up observations with no solutions because I simply don’t have any.

It’s also the reason why it’s not really addressed by all the talking heads debating and discussing the world’s problems. They don’t have any answers either and when solutions to problems are suggested or pursued they tend to amount to little more than Band-Aids and aspirin. The bleeding may slow and the symptoms may subside, but the problem is still there and will eventually flare up again, either in the same place or somewhere different. It’s like treating the symptoms for a disease that is incurable.

Yet it must be acknowledged that it’s hard, if not impossible, to get a handle on human nature to control or shape it in such a way as to minimize negative intentions and consequences. Humans are aggressive, ambitious, and self-absorbed, and have always been so. But how do we master these tendencies? I wish I had the magic answer that could bring about the solution to the dilemmas our nature has brought to this world. But I don’t, nor does anyone else.

This cannot be solved through religion, which itself has been a huge offender, nor through the social sciences. There is little that is tangible in what they do, as there are simply too many variables in play for any one size fits all solution. Although we know certain things about our own nature it simply cannot be pinned down. We are unable to re-wire our hardware and this causes problems that multiply and worsen.

These traits in our nature are glaringly evident yet the civilized modernity of our busy world fools many. The business suits, polished language, and technological advancements have given a cover of acceptability and even value to harmful and counterproductive practices and mindsets. Deceit cloaked with cunning appearances trumps real time effects and results, and this makes that nature more dangerous than ever. We need to open our eyes – not to how things look, but to how they actually are.

I don’t believe that the negative aspects to our nature can ever be conquered, but a collective awareness of their existence and role behind the scenes could help to rein them in. This is why I write about these things. It’s time to pull the pretty cover off and face the ugliness below. Human nature has its positive side and we have come far in some respects, but those who are dominated by the negative are in many positions of power and influence and we are seeing devastating results of this everywhere.

To turn things around is going to require a huge displacement of the negative with the positive. If we are even capable of doing this remains to be seen, but our future may very well depend on it. This is what I see when looking at the state of our world today, and I’m sure many others see it too. It’s not pretty yet I make no apologies for it. I’m not sure how my writing will progress in future, but for now anyway this is the premise that defines it.