Human Nature

In my last post I talked about evil, and I proposed that ‘evil’ is really more about doing what the world dictates to you.  This may seem to imply that I believe that human nature is in some sense inherently ‘good’.  This issue is compounded by the fact that I also talked about the ‘evils’ of dogmatism, which makes it sound like I am talking about some sort of objective good.  In other words it may seem like I’m saying that if we free ourselves from the compulsions of the world we will all be united towards some kind of universally accepted good.


Let me just clear this up.  I do not think that human nature is inherently ‘good’.  I don’t think its evil either, for that matter.  It would be better put to say that I think that we have two different main modes of being (which together, broadly speaking, would make up human nature).  We can be free, or we can be ruled by the world.  Being free means doing what we believe we should do, while being compelled means we do what we do not want to do, because we are unable to resist the compulsion.  This does not mean that everyone necessarily has the same inclinations towards what should be done.  What I instead advocate is that I believe that the human condition is better off if it is created by those doing what they believe they should do, instead of letting the chaos of the world dictate our condition to us.  This is where the importance of dogmatism comes in – for I propose that dogmatism is another form of compulsion, subtly different, where we learn from our world an absolute law.  Autonomy is not just acting on the world, but it also means taking control of how we receive the world: reception and action are two sides of the same coin.


All of the above is my account, however.  I do not want to present it as a law, but as part of the discussion – I aspire to be one of many in dialogue about what we should do.  This constant dialogue I believe is the foundation for improving the human condition.


Thank you for reading,

Ryan Workman


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