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Human Nature

2. Determinism or free choice

Christianity's and existentialism's view of human nature describes the possibility for individuals to make conscious free choices. Contrary, the conception of human nature by Marxism, Freud and the Frankfurt philosophers represents intellectual unfreedom, determinism. Marx's view of man as a working being is also deterministic.

1. A deeper understanding of the social animal, man

What is a human being? Biologically speaking, man is an animal among other animals that needs food, water and a place to live. It is beyond any doubt that we are social animals.

But in order to be able to live together in a way so that we achieve the greatest possible happiness or utility, it would be a great advantage to achieve a deeper understanding of human nature than just that we are social animals.

For thousands of years, philosophers have struggled to understand who we are.

Body and soul. Foto X-Arkiv.

Plato wrote three thousand years ago that man is a dual being, divided into body and soul. Since then, the idea of man's immortal soul has gained ground in Christianity and has become widely spread.

By nature, the existence of the soul cannot be proven by weighing, ultrasound or any other scientific method. But the idea seems to us to be a reasonable explanation of the world as we experience it.

There are different views of human nature, not all of which can be true, but which also complement each other by explaining different aspects of human nature.

In Christianity, man is created by an almighty God with a specific purpose in mind. In the Bible's book of Genesis, God said: "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth"

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix

Keanu Reeves in The Matrix. In the matrix film series, society has been completely dissolved and atomized. Nations, families, congregations, associations and friendships no longer exist. Each individual is placed in its own special cell in the Matrix construction, completely isolated from other individuals. In their cells, they are all - independently of each other - fed with a 3D streaming of experiences that they think are their lives. The all-powerful Matrix extracts energy from their passive bodies. Photo Business Insider.

Sartre flatly denied that human nature, society, culture, upbringing, childhood experiences - or anything else - constituted limitations on the individual's opportunities to make their own authentic choices regarding their own lives.

According to Marxism, human nature is simply an easily manipulated product of the currently prevailing social conditions. In Thesis on Feuerbach, Marx wrote about human nature that it "in its reality is formed by the totality of social relations."

Freud described the sexual drive as absolutely fundamental to human nature, it is the engine that drives our behavior. Men crave women's love, and their restless craving and searching for ways to earn it is a defining feature of the psychodynamics of Western civilization. It is part of the "white male culture" that created our wealth and which powerful forces are now in the process of discarding.
Attitude manipulation

The media and politicians are the willing tools of the Frankfurt School which manipulate the lonely consensus-seeking individuals into the desired attitudes. Photo Renegadetribune.com.

The philosophers of the Frankfurt School write that they have found works by Freud, which describe that modern Western industrial society, as we know it, prevents individuals from realizing their unconscious instincts, which is the cause of the development of neuroses.

Therefore, they argue for a society, where all legal and especially moral rules and other obstacles to individuals being able to live out all their inclinations are removed - everything must be possible. In this way, they hope to break down Western civilization and thus its grip on the workers, who will then choose the Marxist paradise the next time they stand at the polls.

But there is one thing in which we must grant Marx the right, namely that man is a working being. He does not write it directly, but he seems to take it as a matter of course without further reflection, but it is a prerequisite for both his theory of alienation and his visions of the future communist society, which are scattered throughout all his works.

Throughout history and everywhere in the world, people have come together to work. Working has undoubtedly always been a necessity, but Marx deduces from this that the right life for a human being, in which he realizes himself, is a life of productive creative activity.

2. Humans, God's creations

The Christian God created man in his own image and immediately placed a heavy responsibility on his shoulders, namely to rule over the rest of his creatures. It says in Genesis: "Gud said: Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."

God created the world by uttering words. Genesis: And God said: "Let there be light!" And there was light.

God gave man the ability to freely love or sin, saying after the fall: "Now man has become like one of us and can know good and evil."

In Christianity, man is thus a moral being, a free being who can choose between evil and good deeds. God said to Cain: "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it."

Therefore, according to Christianity, man is a free being, who can recognize himself and is responsible for himself.

Jesus promised his followers eternal life. In the Gospel of John, he said to the Samaritan woman: "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give will never thirst; the water that I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." But how this will take shape after the earthly life is over is not quite clear. However, according to Paul in the letter to the Corinthians, when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever.

But Christianity does not emphasize exclusively a virtuous life and morally right actions. The capacity for love is absolutely essential. In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul says: "And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."

Russian icon depicting the Trinity

Russian icon depicting the Trinity. On the left is Jesus and on the right is God the Father depicted as an old man with a long beard. Above them is the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.

A very important claim, which decisively separates Christianity from Judaism and Islam, is that God himself was uniquely present in a single human being, namely Jesus, and God used his life, death and resurrection to restore the right connection between humans and God. No believer can rightly call himself a Christian if he does not accept this. It is not enough to say that Jesus was a great man, the perfect man, a genius or even a religious genius who surpasses all others before and after him.

The Christian doctrine is expressed as that Jesus was the Son of God, both human and divine, the Word made into flesh, the Trinity, which is three entities united in one God, namely the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

For a Christian, belief in the existence of the Christian God is absolutely essential. There are no natural scientific analyzes of sediments, isotopes, genes or the like that support this claim. He must examine his own mind and feelings and choose to believe or not.

On the whole, Christianity contains many elements that are completely contrary to all natural laws, such as the virgin birth, the resurrection, the Trinity and countless episodes in the New and Old Testaments. It is true, as has been said, that Christianity is a mystery religion. But we are only human, how can we hope to understand everything?

The Christian must, as Søren Kirkegaard expressed himself, jump out into the 70,000 fathom waters of uncertainty based on faith alone.

A very serious objection to Christianity is the "problem of evil": When the smoke with the characteristic sweet smell from Auswitch ascended into Heaven to God, why did he not stop these evil deeds. After all, he is both almighty and good?

It is explained by the fact that humans are not God's puppets. He has given us the free choice, and we ourselves are responsible for stopping such misdeeds.

3. Human is a free being

The ultimate freedom of the individual is especially treated by Sartre. A person is responsible for his own life and actions. Although the individual is motivated to his actions by genetically determined drives, he has complete freedom to act on them or not.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre 1905-1980.

One of Sartre's unfathomable statements is that "existence precedes essence". By "essence" he meant just such general theories of innate drives and deeply felt attitudes founded in childhood as we may call human nature, and which we treat in other sections. While "existence" is the individual's personal and authentic choices and decisions in their lives, based on their real feelings.

Existentialists typically reject all general claims about man, including a "human nature". They emphasize that each person is completely unique. But we must say that then I could not write a section on existentialism like this. If one takes this statement completely seriously, existentialists could not write philosophical works, but only biographies.

Existentialism has only a few positive values, such that an existentialist can be Danish or Chinese, he can be a supporter of one political cause or another, or even religion, as long as he acknowledges that he himself is responsible for his choices in life. If he is less fortunate with his choices in life, he can never say that "it's society's fault" or it was because of his parents' inadequate upbringing of him, because the responsibility is his and his alone.

We must also say that the existentialist view of life is very different from Freud's description of man as a gendered being, a being that is largely motivated for its decisions and actions by sexual drives - in many cases unconsciously.

In existentialism, we are also responsible for our more permanent character traits. You can't just say "I'm shy" which expressed it as an immutable fact like "I'm a negro". Shyness is a way of behaving, and you can choose to behave in a different way, if it is more appropriate.

Even if you say "I'm ugly" it's not about stating a fact, but only about expecting and fearing that women or men will react in certain ways to your presence or appearance. You can choose to proceed in other ways. Even if you say "I'm stupid" it can just be an excuse for not bothering to try to understand things and is not a description of a permanent character trait.

We are our choices. Sartre. Photo Existentialism Research Video.

Thus, according to Sartre's existentialism, a drug addict cannot excuse his addictions by saying that it is not his fault because he "has a weak character" or that he was abused as a child. Because everyone is ultimately responsible for themselves. He can decide to bring the pills up to his mouth or he can decide not to, it's entirely up to him.

Sartre illustrates the responsibility of the individual for his personal choices by describing the situation of a young Frenchman during the Second World War. He was faced with the choice between fleeing to England and there joining the Free French Forces, or staying at home with his mother, who lived only for him. The first choice represented a contribution to national happiness, but would be of negligible importance to the outcome of the war. The second choice would have an immediate practical effect, but only for a single individual.

Sartre now claimed that there are no national or ethical doctrines that can require the young man to do either one or the other. He cannot avoid choosing and deciding himself.

And even if there possibly was a national code of honor that required men to fight against the enemies of the nation, or a church doctrine that required men to honor and love their mothers, it would still be up to the young man to decide for himself whether he would follow it or not.

An existentialist's lonely choice

An existentialist's lonely choice. Photo Nietzche Eternal Recurrence explained.

There are few positive values in existentialism, an existentialist can be a supporter of one or another political cause or even religion, as long as he takes responsibility for his choices in life. However, it must be natural for such a theory that society should be as free as possible.

The existentialist view of human nature is completely opposed to Marxism. For Marx, man is not free at all; the individual is a product of society and can at any time say that it is not his fault, "it's society's fault", if the consequences of his personal choices in life turn out to be unfortunate.

4. Human nature is created by society

Marxists do not accept an unchanging, biologically conditioned, human nature.

Karl Marx does not operate anywhere with an unchanging or merely roughly defined human nature. On the contrary, for him, man is a kind of attitude chameleon who adapts to the conditions of production that exist at any given time. He writes in "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."

Russian Bolsheviks destroy furnishings from a church in 1922. Photo Paul Gilbert February 6, 2022 tsarnicholas.org.

Og i "Teses on Feuerbach" om menneskets natur: "But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations."

Against Proudhon in "The Misery of Philosophy" he directed this reproach - which also hits Freud: "Mr. Proudhon does not know that history is merely a continuous transformation of human nature."

In his main work, Capital, Marx further writes: "At the same time that through this movement he affects and changes nature outside himself, he changes his own nature.".

In "Louis Bonaparte's 18. Brumaire" he wrote that society's base is governing in relation to the superstructure of society.

There is some doubt as to what he understood by the basis of society, but we must assume that it was the forces of production, i.e. machines, buildings, roads, railways and so on and the way in which work is organized, that is to say the economic system, property rights and the like.

By the superstructure of society he presumably meant culture, literature, political ideas, philosophy and so on. In other words, he believed that the thoughts that appear in the minds of individuals are determined by the social system, i.e. feudalism, capitalism or socialism to remain in his terms.

Marx's scattered descriptions of society under full communism clearly show that his communism is a spacious social-constructivist ideology that appeals to the utopian dreams of individuals about the perfect society.

Communists aim to destroy everything old and, in an allegedly rational way, build a new and very vaguely defined ethically superior society from scratch - a society populated by the new communist type of man.

Their goal is not to adapt society to a given human nature. It is far more ambitious; with terror, propaganda and brainwashing they will change both society and human "nature" in accordance with their vague dreams.

Buddha statues were burned during the Chinese Cultural Revolution 1966-77. Photo System of knowledge Wiki.

The Chinese Cultural Revolution was precisely about destroying everything old and creating the new, more perfect communist man with the help of terror and propaganda. It was not a regrettable misstep in the development of communism, but basically a simple, pedagogical illustration of the basic essence of Marxism.

It really illustrates how Marx imagines that the "masses" will cut all ties to their history, fight the "primitive" historical man and create the new society and the new communist type of man that he claims will be ethically and intellectually superior to anything history has yet seen.

But human nature is fundamentally determined by genes; it is innate and cannot be permanently changed, attempts will only create depressions, neuroses and economic inefficiency.

5. A gendered being

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

Adam and Eve

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

The Bible's 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."

Freud believed that human behavior is motivated by a small number of innate - rhat is natural - drives. That is the self-preservation drive, the sexual drive and a death drive, which last one he developed under the influence of the First World War's catastrophic losses. It is therefore a mistake to think that he believed that all behavior can be attributed to sexual motives, but it is beyond any doubt that he believed that the sexual drive was by far the most important.

He expanded the concept of sexuality to include any form of satisfaction that can be obtained from parts of the body. He claimed that the sexual urges are present in the child already from birth, and he emphasized the decisive importance that the sexual energy or "libido" plays in adult life.

He assumed that the little boy feels a sexual desire for his mother and fears that the father will castrate him, but both parts are usually repressed. Around 1920, he combined the drive for self-sustenance and the drive for sex into a basic "drive for life", "Eros".

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Freud 1856-1939.

Neuroses come, when people in their environment cannot find the opportunity to live out their natural urges in appropriate ways, he believed. He thought first and foremost of childhood and family. But in some works, including "Das Unbehagen in der Kultur", he wrote that our civilized norms make it too difficult for most people to live out their urges to the extent necessary.

But it is the natural tension between the two sexes that has been the driving force in the development of Western civilization.

European men crave to perform - fundamentally and unconsciously in order to appear worthy of winning women's love. Men have a basic need to accomplish something that can give them recognition, accomplish great feats, invent new methods or other achievements, become rich or famous and thereby win the love of women; and Western men crave more than others, and this is one of the most important reasons why the industrial revolution first broke through in Europe.

After the French Revolution and the demise of the old societies, the economic conditions that we call capitalism developed organically based on human nature and men's natural need to strive for status, recognition and thus the love of women.

6. A politically correct being

Traditional Marxists believed that it would be a battle against wind mills to try to change society by changing culture. Instead, the political attack had to be directed against the basis of society, the right to property, and when this was changed, the culture would change completely by itself, because "the basis of society is governing in relation to the superstructure of society".

Leading figures in the Frankfurt School: Herbert Marcuse, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno and Jurgen Habermas.. Photo IMGBIN.

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

These intellectuals - who were called the Frankfurt School - argued that culture is the cause of behavior and attitudes. In particular, they believed that traditional European culture, as it emerges from history, shaped working people into nationalists and reactionaries. Therefore, they decided to ignore the old marxist wisdom and try to change the culture regardless of the economic basis of society. The result of their efforts was the "Political Correctness" that we know so well.

Main points of the book "The Authoritarian Personality", which was published in 1950. Although few remember it today, it was immensely important. Ostensibly, the book explored the psychological roots of nazism and fascism, but in reality it made all white men and hard-working fathers suspicious. It made young men wear ponytails and Beatles hair - to signal that they were not potential nazis. The heroes of most subsequent Hollywood films were lone wolves who ignored the orders of the top managers and were rewarded for it.
But modern organizations need middle managers who can understand and accept the top managers' intentions and translate them into practical action - just as it is the case in the military.
Foto Slide Player.

Their argument for the new strategy was that Western culture and the Christian religion had "blinded" the workers to their true Marxist class interests, and therefore communism was impossible in the West until traditional Western culture and Christianity had been destroyed.

These ideas became the ideological basis for a Marxist think tank, which was established in 1923 at Frankfurt University in Germany, the Department of Social Research, commonly known as the Frankfurt School.

In order to achieve the desired cultural destruction, the Frankfurter philosophers decided to activate the human feelings and passions.

Theodor Adorno wrote the book "The Authoritarian Personality", which was published in 1950, five years after the end of the Second World War. It was supposedly an extensive psychological investigation that was supposed to identify the psychological roots of nazism and fascism, but in reality it worked as an attack on the fathers and thus contributed to the desired destruction of Western civilization.

Herbert Marcuse speaks at a demonstration against capitalism on the Opera Square in Frankfurt June 1972. Marcuse's message that one should live out all one's desires, sensations and inclinations became enormously popular in the 1970's. Photo Deutschlandfunk.

The book stated that excessively harsh and punitive parents cause children to feel an enormous repressed anger towards their parents which leads them to identify with and idolize authority figures. Moreover, authoritarianism was suggested to be rooted in repressed homosexuality, which was redirected into hostility towards the father, which in turn was repressed out of fear of being infantilized and castrated by the father - which very complicated psychological processes could not be confirmed by data as ecpected. Another important hypothesis in the book is that people with the authoritarian syndrome are predisposed to right-wing ideology.

All in all, "The Authoritarian Personality" worked as a condemnation of middle-class fathers who sacrificed and worked for the family. They often worked as middle managers in large organizations where it is important to follow specified plans and guidelines while at the same time exercising the necessary authority.

Herbert Marcuse activated the sexual drive in the fight against Western civilization.

Sigmund Freud is the expert above all on man's innate sexual drive. He has written more than thirty books, including "Das Unbehagen in der Kultur", which in English is called "Civilization and Its Discontents".

As is well known, Freud argued that neuroses generally arise as a result of the suppression or prohibition of impulses in the person's subconscious, which are cut off from reaching consciousness and instead transformed into symptoms, such as paralysis, tension and depressions.

Jurgen Habermas is the second generation of the Frankfurter school - born 1929. He works to further develop "the critical theory". It must be understood that a scientist who works with "critical theory" has already found the truth before he starts, he is "critical" of the established, and from this platform he will carry out his research. It has rightly been termed a subjective method. Habermas himself calls his method post-rationalism, which indicates that he has left the rationalist tradition in European philosophy. In reality, the Frankfurter philosophers do not seek truth, but simply work to find methods and theories that can destroy Western civilization. Photo Pinterest.

In "Das Unbehagen in der Kultur" he analyzed possible limitations in our culture itself, which could be thought to be the cause of neuroses. But he also wrote that the desire principle, which leads the small child to seek immediate need satisfaction, is gradually limited by the reality principle, which teaches us to accept reality and postpone our needs. If we do not accept this development, we cannot live together.

Freud had no ambitions to become a social reformer and never pursued the cause.

But Herbert Marcuse from the Frankfurt School seized Freud's - in fact true - neurosis theory and claimed that they got their speculative theories from both Marx and Freud.

Herbert Marcuse wrote the book "Eros and Civilisation", which was published in 1974, in which he argued for the abolition of Freud's principle of reality, which he believed the repression of capitalist civilization forces on us. In a truly free society, the barriers of sexuality will break down, and we will experience an "erotization of the whole personality".

One of the victories of the Frankfurt School is the critical pedagogy, which has pulled the carpet away from under the teachers' authority by making teachers and students equal. Photo Pinterest.

It is easy to realize that civilization, at least Western civilization, has been shaped throughout history and has had the function - among other functions - of regulating human passions, including sexuality, and thereby preventing society from collapsing in chaos.

It is also easy to see that unlimited sexual pleasure will precisely cause Western civilization to collapse, which was probably Marcuse's intention with the idea of unlimited satisfaction of the pleasure principle and thus free sex at any time with which gender you may prefer.

The Frankfurt School created "critical theory," which calls for constant, destructive criticism of every traditional social institution, beginning with the family.

8. A working being

Everywhere and at all times, humans have spontaneously come together to collectively improve their chances of survival 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 that can be deduced with reasonable certainty from Marx's works, namely that man is a being, who instinctively wants to work, produce and create. He does not write it directly, as he probably considers it a matter of course, but it is a prerequisite for both his theory of alienation and his vision of the future communist society, which is found scattered throughout all over his works.

Marx seemed to think that the worker, the human being, has an original natural desire to create products according to his own ideas and feelings, to fondle with their design and enjoy the satisfaction of 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 terms that he has not determined himself, including the division of labor, he becomes alienated, which means that he comes to feel a distanced and disengaged relation to his work and the products he manufactures, or to himself.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in India under construction. A nuclear power plant is the result of human work carried out by many in complicated and conscientious cooperation. Photo Petr Pavlicek/IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency - Wikipedia.

In The German Ideology, he described how human nature contains enormous hidden intellectual resources to carry out various kinds of work, which they can only realize when communist society has become realized: "In it communist society, where no one has an exclusive field of activity, but everyone can become skilled in any profession he wants, society regulates general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, hunting in the morning, fishing in the afternoon, raising cattle in the evening, criticizing after dinner, just as I please without ever becoming a hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic."

Marx seems to have thought that everyone quite naturally dreams of working and creating. In one place he wrote that everyone has hidden abilities to become an excellent art painter.

Links and Literature

"Seven Theories of Human Nature" by Leslie Stevenson - Oxford University Press 1987.

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