Philosophy Tuesday

August 19, 2014

This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.

I take exception to the explanation “oh, it’s just human nature” when discussing violence, war, or continued conflict, like an inevitability mantra. I take exception for it is equally human nature to rush in and save people from burning buildings or drownings, to be unquestionably generous, or to put yourself in harm’s way in the place of another.

Humans do have the capacity to be absolutely nasty creatures.

Humans equally have the capacity to be wondrous and generous creatures.

As “Dance Monkeys Dance” puts it, we are at once the most beautiful and the most ugly creatures on the planet.

We have these two sides. But saying “It’s just human nature” (or “boys will be boys”, or similar) about why we fight is simply a way to avoid responsibility (not blame, responsibility).

The automatic inside of “It’s just (unavoidable) human nature” robs us of our agency.


  1. […] continue to hand us these us/them judgments, all the time.  But that is no straightjacket.  It does not doom us to certain actions and reactions.  Rather, we are getting a signal:  to be present, to be mindful, to look around, and to be […]

  2. […] The teams of volunteers who came from around the world and worked as one.  Beautiful example of human nature and who we can […]

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