On Human Nature

Published: 2021-06-29 06:28:02
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Category: Biographies

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Human nature, an ancient topic, has been studied by many philosophers at all times and in all countries, which leads to different discussions. The questions of what the characteristics of human nature are, what causes them and how this causation works, and how fixed human nature is have been the most attractive around the world.
But what is human nature? As far as I am concerned, it has two meanings. First, just as its name implies, human nature refers to the natural instinct of human beings formed in a given social system and historical context, an exclusive character distinguishing from other objects, such as the ability of using language, word, music or other tools to communicate, individually thinking and reflecting, creating, uniting and cooperating, the consciousness of planning at present and for the future, the capability of understanding and reforming the objective world and so on. On the other hand, human nature also implies the values, outlooks and ethics that men should contain which can be used to judge and treat different kinds of relationships between human beings, and a source of norms of conduct or ways of life, as well as presenting obstacles or constraints on living a good life.
What's more, human nature can contain 8 aspects in space structure, that is, behavior, shape, emotion, sprite, cognition, purpose, history and future. And in the effect of time, they influence each other and can not be separated.
As everything has dual characters, human nature also has strengths and weakness. In terms of weakness, as an individual, one may easily run to blame and complain about others, sometimes with maliciousness. And one may always be selfish, living in his world without the consciousness of social responsibility. When he is attacked or threaten, one will become to protect his own benefits but overlook others' needs, interests and so on, and disrespect others. One may be overconfident but can't find his shortcomings, so he won't see and appreciate others' merits and then become complacent. Facing hard work men are apt to be tired and then lazy. To keep one's personality is a hard task but to follow the crowd much easier. A majority of people prefer to live comfortably and smoothly without a good ability of resisting shock and pressure. There is much more points to present the weakness of human nature. On the opposite, all these weakness can be regarded as strengths when we change our mind to think.
Then, a more confused question has been raised up. Is human nature good or bad? It has no exact answer up to now. But in the ancient China, there were four discussions:
1. The original human nature is good.
The well-known Three Character Primer said, "Men at their birth are naturally good." Confucius and Mencius also consider the goodness of human nature. Many famous Confucianism theories are in favor of this view.
2. The original human nature is bad.
Xunzi denies any natural goodness of human nature but believes that human nature is anxious for interests and lusts. He argues the original human nature has no ethical cultivation and any good behaviors are the results of nurture and environmental influence. He affirmed the possibility that a bad man can be cultivated into a good one under the condition of external moral norms.

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