12.17.18 | Flawed? Us? Me?

Judge not. Seek first to understand. We humans are flawed. What makes us that way is the subject of our focus article (link: The Worst Of Human Nature), a very readable digest of the extensive research into that which makes us . . . . what, exactly?

Three philosophical views have prevailed historically on the subject of man and child development: the Original Sin (children born bad, necessitating societal constraints for proper development); Tabula Rasa (John Locke, children a blank slate); Innate Goodness (Jean-Jacques Rousseau, children born pure and should thus be left alone to grow naturally without societal contamination).

So now here comes the hard(?) evidence. We had previously taken a run at the issue years ago in our book club discussion of The Lucifer Effect: (every) man has infinite capacity for good/evil; the barrier between the two states is permeable; character transformation is situational (see Pdf link, immediately below). Now we are introduced to evidence that humans -- arguably sometimes wicked, close-minded, dogmatic, narcissistic, vengeful, selfish, and overconfident -- may, to some extent, be hard-wired that way. 

Our discussion will be centered around the "to some extent" part -- the degree to which we detect this innate tug? When, in our own development, did we overcome (if ever) our Bart Simpson stage and, in the words of Mark Twain, become "sivilized?" Civilization may, after all, be the only thing that protects us from the Lord Of the Flies allegory. All that, of course, takes us back to the Original Sin, Tabula Rasa, Innate Goodness debate. Also, is the debate gender-specific i.e. how might it differ from the female perspective?

Above all, do not allow this think-piece to get you down. The author has promised a sequel dedicated to showcasing the brighter, more uplifting aspects of humankind. That should help talk us off the ledge.

Steve SmithComment