It is taught that there is a Way of Heaven, a Way of Earth, and a Way of man. This last is the way ordained by nature from which it is always unwise and often perilous to depart. As to the present time, the gulf between nature's way for man and man's way for himself is now widening so rapidly that our very environment is threatened with destruction!
- Taoism: The Road to Immortality
Is there such a thing as "human nature?" If so, what do you think it entails?
Are we naturally greedy, ignorant, and tribal? Generous, social, and compassionate? A mix of both? Something else entirely?
Or is human nature a myth? Is there simply too much biological and cultural diversity to allow for the existence of a universal human nature?
I'm genuinely curious to hear your thoughts on this, friends.
Living in accordance with nature is a central theme in both Stoicism and Taoism, two philosophies that influence and inform many aspects of my life.
Living in accordance with nature doesn't simply mean we should strive to be in harmony with the environment: it also means living in accordance with our personal nature--the unique combination of biological and psychological traits that make up our person--and with human nature.
Which is why I'm here asking you this question: what is human nature?
What is uniquely ours as a species? What are the defining or quintessential human traits?
Furthermore, what do you think happens when we ignore our nature or actively contradict it?
Do you agree with the quote above? Do you think that the disturbing times in which we live (growing unrest, climate change, political and industrial corruption) are a direct result of the widening gulf between how nature intended us to live and how we have decided to live ourselves?
Or am I just grasping for something that isn't there?
Comments are welcomed, encouraged, and greatly appreciated on Facebook, Google +, or Twitter.
Looking forward to your insights!