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Human Nature

Introduction - Human Nature at Marx - Human Nature at the Frankfurt Philosophers - Man is a Physical Being in an Objective Reality - Man is a Social Animal - Humans are Gendered Beings - Man is a Free Being - Man is a Working Being - Links and Litterature -

Introduction

First, what do we mean by "human nature"? It must be innate attributes, instincts and needs, aptitudes for emotions that are common to all, who are called humans.

When we buy eggs, we may prefer free-range eggs, because we believe that free-range hens live a happier life than cage hens, as it is the nature of hens to roam freely scraping and picking. We can prefer meat from free-range pigs, because we believe that the nature of pigs is to roam freely poking around in the soil, and the pigs, which thus have the opportunity to realize their nature, live a happier life than others - as long as it lasts.

A group of Cro Magnon hunters
A group of Cro Magnon hunters in the process of producing weapons and tools. Most features of human nature are aspects of our social nature. Photo 6th Grade Social Studies.

The philosophical topic of human nature is a cornerstone in the critique of Marxism and political correctness. If there is an innate unchangeable human nature, the Marxists' plan to create, by all means, the new communist human type, is doomed to fail. We can compare the multiple rebellions of political correctness against the white men with an unchangeable human nature and probably demonstrate that they are unnatural and thus transient and temporary phenomena..

One thing is chickens and pigs, but what about humans? They must also have a nature. We must believe that this highly developed animal species also has innate urges and instincts that it is natural for them to seek to realize. There must be conditions of life that are more suitable than others to create happiness, because they allow man to live out his nature to a greater extent.

Throughout time, human nature has been treated by many famous philosophers including Aristotle, Plato, Hume, Rousseau, John Stuart Mill, Marx, Sartre, Freud, Lorenz, not to mention the Bible and the whole of world's literature.

We do not have to read through all of this, although it could be interesting, because it is possible - as I have done below - to set up a plausible model of human nature in general - including traits that are not mutually exclusive - supported by common sense and most philosophers and writers, but not all of them - relying heavily on "Seven Theories of Human Nature" by Stevenson.

Human Nature at Marx

At Marx, there is only fragmentary and unchangeable human nature. In Theses on Feuerbach, he says of this: "In its reality, it is the ensemble of the social relations".

The basic, pervasive and fundamental communist idea is to radically change society from the society that we have received from history to a speculative social construction called communism. It is not that the communists want to change society to better adapt it to an unchangeable human nature and thereby make people more happy. No! They want to change the social system and at the same time change the - in their opinion flexible and moldable - human nature into the new unique communist human type, which fits perfectly with the new system - through propaganda, brainwashing and terror.

But human nature is determined by genes; it is innate and cannot be permanently altered, attempts would simply create depression, neuroses and inefficiency.

Pigs live together in a social structure based on ranking
Pigs live together in a social structure based on ranking. In nature, they live together in flocks. A strong social organization ensures unity and protection of the flock in their search for food, water and resting places. The ranking is a result of each animal in a group knowing its own and the other animals' strength. All other social animals have a similar organization. Humans are no exception. Foto Seges.

A flexible and malleable "human nature" - which of course really is not an unchangeable human nature - can be found in many places in Marx's works. Against Proudhon, he in the Misery of Philosophy addressed this accusation - which also hits Freud: "Mr. Proudhon does not know that history is merely a continuing transformation of human nature." In his main work Das Kapital, Marx writes further: "At the same time as he through this movement impacts on and changes nature outside himself, he changes his own nature." (Capital, 1970, p. 302).

He wrote in "Louis Bonaparte's 18. Brumaire" that the basis of society is governing in relation to the superstructure of society. By basic of society, he understood the means of production, that is, machines, buildings, roads, railways and so on and how the work is organized, that is, the economic system, property rights and the like. By the superstructure of society, he meant culture, literature, political ideas, philosophy and so on. In other words, he believed that the thoughts that emerge in the minds of individuals are determined by the social system, which is feudalism, capitalism or socialism to stay in his terms. As he also wrote in "A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy": "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness."

Therefore, traditional marxists believed that seeking to change society by changing the culture would be a struggle against windmills. Instead, the political attack should be directed at the basic, basically the right to own property, and when that was changed, the culture would also change completely by itself.

Human Nature at the Frankfurt Philosophers

But around 1920-30, some Marxist-oriented intellectuals began to feel skeptical of this theory - because the working class was not revolutionary. Although workers were effectively organized and had the opportunity simply to vote themselves into the socialist paradise, then they seemed to prefer capitalism, when they stood in the voting booth.

These intellectuals - nicknamed the Frankfurt School - argued that culture is the cause of behavior and attitudes. In particular, they believed that the traditional European culture, as it emerges from history, shaped working people into nationalists and reactionaries. Therefore, they decided to change that culture independently of the economic basis of society.
Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno and Jurgen Habermas
Leading figures in the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno and Jurgen Habermas. Foto IMGBIN.

Traditional European philosophy - as it has evolved over several thousand years - is predominantly characterized by metaphysics, which is a search for the truth of what is really behind the phenomena that we experience in front of us. For example, we can search for human nature.

The Frankfurter School rejects metaphysics. For example, Habermas describes his philosophy as post-metaphysical. In general, they call their philosophy "critical theory". It does not intend to find objective truths but aims to develop tools that can undermine and destroy the classical European culture handed down to us from the past, thereby liberate Europe's working people from the grip of traditional culture so that they will choose the socialist paradise when again in the voting booth.

It is claimed that the Frankfurter philosophers are the true originators of the political correctness that today ravages the Western World, including the re-emerge of feminism, the glorification of homosexuality, the gender confusion, the hatred of white men, the massive Islamic invasion of Europe and so on. However, it cannot be because many people have directly read and understood the works of the Frankfurter philosophers; as they are generally very difficult to access as they largely consist of manipulations of their own definitions. It is more likely that the victory of political correctness is due to a more indirect effect. The traditional defenders of European culture, priests, teachers, professors, politicians, scientists, officials and civil servants have given up, lowered their weapons and concentrated on becoming popular.

Jurgen Habermas
Jurgen Habermas is second generation of the Frankfurter school - born in 1929. Foto Pinterest.

The Frankfurter philosophers' biggest win so far must be the Critical Pedagogy that makes students and teachers equal thereby pulling the carpet under the teachers' authority.

Habermas calls his modern philosophy "post-metaphysical," which denotes a rejection and disregard for metaphysical ideas, including the idea of the Christian God. Like most other Frankfurter philosophers, he considers almost all social phenomena social constructions that have nothing to do with human nature.

However, Habermas - probably hard-pressed - has given a small concession to human nature. In his book "The Future of Human Nature", he warns against the consequences of manipulating the human genes to create a more intelligent and disease-resistant human type. He argues that man is born with a minimal genetically conditioned ethical self-understanding, a kind of natural ethics that forms the basis of society's morality, equality and justice. He thus derives freedom and equality from the genes and not from God. But more metaphysical critics might argue that God created the genes.

Gays kiss each other
Political correctness regards homosexuality as a kind of freedom struggle. Photo Bustle.com

His idea of humans as genetically conditioned equal beings is somewhat at odds with ethologists' reports that all groups of high-ranking social animals are characterized by a rank order or even pecking order, which is a necessary organizational condition for the group to function.

Political correctness has a built-in logical problem. They emphasize again and again that everything about people and society is social constructions and has nothing to do with human nature. But at the same time, they talk a lot about freedom and the fight against oppression, which must mean that they believe that there are oppressed instincts and urges that, under the prevailing cultural and societal conditions, cannot be satisfied. Rejecting that these drives and instincts are rooted in a common human nature, the rebels cannot speak on behalf of all humanity and demand that their ideas apply to everyone. They can only speak on behalf of their own group and suggest that some social constructions that they have created within this small group's framework should apply - only to themselves.

Man is a Physical Being in an Objective Reality

Some philosophers, for example, Berkely, believed that the individual does not experience an objective reality, and his life events are merely a kind of individual 3D movie, which shows up to him.

Illustration of Berkely's solipsism
Illustration of Berkely's solipsism. Photo Contemporary Art Gallery.

He was followed by Husserl, who believed that the only thing we can know for sure is "what shows up for us", the phenomena, and we do not know whether these phenomena represent an objective reality.

They can never be completely rejected. We must choose to believe that we share an objective reality with other people and animals.

Man is an animal among other animals that needs food, water and a place to live. Freud introduced the self-preservation drive, as an innate drive, which helps regulate human behavior and motivates survival in dangerous situations.

Plato wrote three thousand years ago that man is a dual being divided into body and soul. Since then, the idea of the immortal soul of man has taken root in Christianity and has become widespread. By its very nature, the existence of the soul cannot be proved by weighing, ultrasonic or other scientific methods.

Man is a Social Animal

There is much evidence that humans have common ancestry with other animals. We have the same general structure as other vertebrates, four limbs with five fingers on each and so on. The human embryo undergoes a series of developmental stages, similar to various lower forms of life. The basic chemical conditions of our bodies, including digestion, blood, and genes, are quite similar to those of other mammals. Fossil remains of creatures that are similar to monkeys but resemble humans more than any existing monkey have been found.

A group of prehistoric people chases a deer
A group of prehistoric people chases a deer. Ever since the first humans descended from the trees in East Africa - even before - man has been a social being. Photo Mail Online.

Konrad Lorenz has described man as a social animal - though mostly with examples from the animal world, but nonetheless compelling. As an ethologist, he argues that not all behavior is conditional on the environment, innate behavior patterns can start spontaneously, as if it had been initiated by something in the animal itself. A male pigeon that has been deprived of its mate can begin to perform its mating dance for a stuffed pigeon, a piece of cloth or just an empty corner of the cage. And a tame starling that has never caught flies, or seen other starlings doing so, can start performing flycatcher movements, even if no flies are present. It is obvious to look for such fixed natural patterns of action in humans as well.

The German ethologist I. Eibl Eibesfeldt has shown that people of all races laugh, when they are happy and cry when they feel sad. Infants already smile after contact with the mother after a few months. Eibersfeldt showed that even deaf-blind thalidomide children, who have never seen a smile or heard a laugh, laugh and smile when playing with them. He also demonstrated that in all races, kisses are exchanged between loving couples. It shows that laughter and cry are our innate emotional communication software. It is a testimony that man has a social nature. By nature, we are created to function in a manageable group of familiar faces.

Wolf pack
The wolf pack is one of the most cohesive social organizations in the animal kingdom; the social rank of each individual is signaled by a detailed showing of postures, facial expressions, movements, intimidations and harassment. This behavior has been studied intensively by wolf biologists, both in nature and in captivity. Foto footballscoop.com.

Dogs are also social animals. They can recognize each other on the smell, they are able to distinguish between hundreds of different individuals simply by sniffing. Humans have a unique ability to remember and recognize facial features. We can meet someone on the street that we haven't seen in decades, and suddenly remember that this is the one with whom we once went in tenth grade at school.

A human finds the whole content of his life together with and in relation to other humans, which can be confirmed by World Literature that everywhere - almost without exception - is about human relationships.

Already Plato wrote that the individual human being has many needs which he cannot satisfy himself. Even the material needs for food, shelter and clothing the individual can not satisfy himself since it is impossible to obtain these things without any connection with others. Collaboration and division of labor are natural for humans, he said.

There are many reports of military divisions, ship crews, polar expeditions and other groups that have survived, under indescribable difficulties, thanks to their unity. Countless soldiers and sailors have sacrificed themselves for their comrades for the group to survive. We know that it is true and it proves that man is truly a social being.
Shackleton's distressed crew, who wintered on a deserted beach on the Antarctic island of Elephant Island
Shackleton's distressed crew, who wintered on a deserted beach on the Antarctic island of Elephant Island in 1916, while Shackleton himself and five other sailors, thanks to formidable seamanship, sailed to the remote island of South Georgia in a lifeboat for help. The entire crew survived without a single loss. Foto Century Ireland.

A group of social animals, humans, apes, wolves or dogs can only function when the organization is in place. In all social groups of higher developed animals, there is a ranking - official or unofficial. There is a leader, a second in command, and then the group members follow in descending rank until the lowest ranking, who is barely allowed to stay a member of the group.

Rivalry and competition are a natural part of social life. It is human nature to "seek one's happiness", that is to seek to improve one's rank in society. High rank gives access to women's love. Women measure against each other for their ability to seduce and manipulate men. Throughout life, men fantasize about women and sex, while women dream of an exciting life in status and wealth, loved and sought after by high-status men.

Humans are Gendered Beings

The vast majority of Earth's creatures reproduce by sexual reproduction, which means that within each species are two sexes, which are different in appearance and physical strength and have different innate predispositions to behavior. In all higher developed species - humans as well as apes, lions and tigers, horses and donkeys, whales and dogs and more - the individuals are born as either males or females, and they remain that gender until their day of death. Only in very low developed organisms such as snails, earthworms and fungi individuals can be either males or females after circumstances.

Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve in Paradise Garden painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Photo Fine American Art.

The Bible Genesis 1.27 says:

"So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them."


The individual human is deeply fascinated by the opposite sex. A very great deal of the world's poems, films and stories are interesting because they are about or contain stories of love between men and women. The relationship between the sexes is very thoroughly analyzed by Freud.

Freud believed that human behavior is motivated by a small number of innate - thus natural - drives. These are the self-preservation drive, the sexual drive and the death drive, which last one he developed influenced by the catastrophic losses of the First World War. Thus, it is a mistake to believe that he believed that all behavior could be attributed to sexual motives, but it is beyond doubt that he believed that the sexual drive was by far the most important.

He expanded the concept of sexuality to include any kind of satisfaction that can be achieved by parts of the body. He claimed that sexual urges exist in the child from birth, and he emphasized the crucial importance of sexual energy or "libido" in adult life. He assumed that the little boy feels a sexual desire for his mother and fears that the father might castrate him, but both are usually repressed. Around 1920 he merged self-preservation and sexual drive into a basic "life drive", "Eros".

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud 1856-2939.

Freud believed that neurosis occur when people in their surroundings can not find an opportunity to live out their natural instincts in appropriate ways. First of all, he thought of childhood and family. But in some works, "The Burden of Culture," and "About Psychoanalysis," he claimed that our civilized norms make it too difficult for most people to live out their urges to the extent necessary.

But a natural, original life - back to nature - is one thing, and civilization and culture are something else. It can give satisfaction to live a simple life in harmony with nature, and thereby avoid a few neuroses, but if everyone does it all the time, it will be at the expense of physical security, food supply, health, education and the benefit of advanced technical equipment, all of which is created and supported by a society based on Western culture and civilization. A simple, primitive society would most likely create even more mental health problems than the few neuroses that Freud probably had in mind.

Man is a Free Being

The freedom of the individual is especially addressed by Sartre: A person is responsible for his or her life and actions. Although motivated for his actions by genetically conditioned drives, each individual has complete freedom to act or neglect them. Thus, a thief cannot excuse his crime with his innate thief-like nature. A rapist can't say that it was not his fault because the victim had such large boobies that his genetically conditioned sex drive couldn't resist.

As we make all of our decisions and choices completely free, we have the responsibility ourselves, and we should not expect to have automatic forgiveness and understanding of the consequences of our choices do not work so well, and we cannot at all say that it is society's fault.

Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre 1905-1980.

Existentialism has few positive values in the sense that an eksistensialist may be in favor of one or another political cause or even religion, as long as he recognizes that he himself is responsible for his choices in life. However, it must be natural for such a theory that society should be as free as possible.

Existentialists typically reject all general claims about man, including a "human nature". They emphasize that each person is completely unique. But if they take this seriously, existentialists could not write philosophical works, but only biographies. Sartre accepted the self-preservation drive and the sex drive, as he in his novels - full of actions motivated by struggle for survival - also describes the love between women and men.

The eksistensialist view of human nature is diametrically opposite of Marxism. At Marx, man is not at all free; the individual is a product of society. In "Theses on Feuerbach" he says about human nature: "In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations" and in "Contributions to the critique of political economy" he says: "It is not the consciousness of men that determine their being, but conversely their social being that determines their consciousness ". Therefore, it is completely possible - within Marxism - for the individual to say "It is the fault of society" if the consequences of his personal choices in life fall out unfortunate.

Another theory of human behavior, which leans closely on Marxism, is the American professor Skinner's assertion that all behavior is a function of factors in the environment, and innate urges and drives do not exist at all. According to this theory, one should be able to take any healthy infant and raise it to an elite athlete, nuclear physicist or brain surgeon by careful planning of its upbringing.

Man is a Working Being

Everywhere and at all times, humans have spontaneously come together to jointly improve their survival potential by cultivating the land, building ships, making tools and digging ore out of the mountains.

Karl Marx
Karl Marx 1818�1883. Photo John Jabez Edwin Mayal - International Institute of Social History - Wikipedia.

In fact, there is a generalization about human nature, which reasonably can be deduced from Marx's works, namely that man is a being who instinctively wants to work, produce and create. Although he does not write it directly, it is a prerequisite for both his alienation theory and his vision of the future communist society, which is found scattered throughout all his works.

Marx seemed to think that the worker, the human being, has an original natural longing to create products according to his own ideas and feelings, to fondle their design and to enjoy the customers being happy with the products. But because the worker does not own the product, and he has to organize his work according to rules, standards and deadlines that he has not determined himself, including the division of labor, he becomes alienated, which means that he will feel a distant and unengaged relationship to his work and the products he makes, or to himself.

He nowhere gives a comprehensive description of the end goal of history, the communist society. It must be extracted from many places in his works. In The German Ideology, he described how human nature contains enormous hidden intellectual resources that can only be released when the communist society is realized: "In the communist society where no one has an exclusive field of activity, but anyone can become proficient in every profession he wants, society regulates the general production, and thus enables me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, raise cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, as it pleases me without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic." Elsewhere, he writes that everyone has the hidden ability to become an excellent painter.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India under construction. A nuclear power plant is a result of people's work done by many in complicated and conscientious cooperation. Photo Petr Pavlicek/IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency - Wikipedia.

There is no doubt that many talents of his time were wasted in coal mines and textile factories, but to claim that everyone has such a huge natural intelligence potential is vulgar propaganda that should make the individual worker in coal mines and textile factories to feel that he was in fact extremely intelligent and talented and could easily become a doctor or painter, and when he had not, it was the fault of society.

Marx had perhaps a meaning with that the description of the future communist society and the fantastic new communist human type were scattered throughout his vast production. Had it from the beginning been gathered in one document, it would probably have triggered massive criticism and ridicule.

Links og Literatur

Marx's Vision of Communism Bertell Ollman
"Seven Theories of Human Nature" by Leslie Stevenson - Oxford University Press 1987.

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