Civilization and Human Nature

If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

Albert Einstein

How frequently we hear as an excuse for bad behavior: “It is in human nature!”. What exactly is meant here? What is “human nature”? Presumably, it has to be something that is different from a wild animal nature. Otherwise, we would say it is in “living creature nature” or something like that.  However, whenever people mention “human nature” they usually mean the opposite, the animal nature in humans.

We use this to justify something that we do not like in our behavior. It is in human nature! Is it really? Is not it more accurate to say that it is what we inherited from animals and still have it as a rudiment?

How different are we from animals? What can we do, that animals cannot? We eat, digest and have sex the same way as they do. We build complex buildings and houses, don’t we? Animals also build their nests, not as complex, but good enough for their level of skills.

Worshiping a religion, creating art, discovering and inventing constitute our distinction from animals. Should not we concentrate then on what we are designed for? Instead, we got stuck with animal’s instincts.

The true civilization has not yet started. The humans are meant to be doing human things like scientific research, art creation, invention, developing and, most importantly, loving each other. When war is considered as an impossible shame, killing somebody physically or financially belongs to unthinkable, all our children have equal opportunity for the education, and we unconditionally love each other, then we might say that we are now civilized people.

Have you ever visited a public restroom and found it quite dirty, unless it was served by a maintenance personnel recently? Someone threw a piece of paper in the trash, but missed and now it lies on the floor? If that person would come back, picked it up and put it in the trashcan, then that is what we would name as “human.” Yes, that little thing makes a distinctive difference between an animal who learned how to speak, read, buy goods, taste wine, smoke, drink, count money and earn money, and a real human. A real human can do all those little things too, but “big” thing like picking up trash to leave the place clean for the sake of other people visiting later is what only real human can do.

The term “Real Human” is inconvenient and kind of clumsy. Section “From Home Sapience to Homo Intelligent”  introduces a probably better term “Homo Intelligent” as opposite to “Homo Sapience,” who had already gained consciousness but has not yet actually parted from the animals. If you come up with a better term, please let us know.

When a few of my friends were moving furniture one day, a four years old daughter of one of them came out and said: “I want to help you!”. She put her little hands on the edge of bookcase being moved and pushed it, making, of course, no difference and causing an inconvenience for us, but her sincere and natively conceived intention was very appealing and touching. It is what our human nature is! Later, that adorable little girl will learn in school that people are not always friendly and not ever want to help, especially after they learn an existence of money and the ways to get it.

People are social “animals.” A lot of our behavior is naturally pre-defined by the surrounding society. People, who recently immigrated to the U.S.A. from some brutal country, for example, become kind, calm and polite after a while, just because they switched the environment. Remember, how Germans behaved themselves during the WWII? Are they all sick people? The war was over, and they became normal people again. How was that possible?

We frequently underestimate how much we depend on what people around us do, and how our “human nature” depends on the surrounding system. We change the system, and we change ourselves.

Term “civilization” was introduced by technologically and socially developed nations to distinct themselves from barbarians, with usually pretty severe consequences for the latter. In nowadays, “civilization” is not invariably considered an improvement.

An unquestionable improvement would be moving towards to Home Intelligent. How to achieve it? Providing an availability of equal level of education to all children in the World should help. You may read more on possible education reform in the section “Education.”


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