- Capitalism and Alternatives -

What if my observations are totally different from yours?

Posted by: Barry Stoller on February 25, 19100 at 11:18:44:

In Reply to: one can make observations about human nature. posted by Crowley on February 24, 19100 at 11:47:12:

Stoller: But can you prove there is a human nature?

: Can you prove that the Earth is not a figment of my imagination? No...

Excuse me? Did you say 'no'?

I most certainly CAN prove that the world is real, pal; an hour at the public library will do nicely, thank you---and if that's not enough for an inquiring mind such as yours, there's NASA etc., etc. to corroborate everything the public library has on file.

Stoller: [C]an you prove that it is YOU who knows what human nature (for anyone other than yourself) actually is?

: Do I know more about human nature than anyone lese? Depends on the person, I know that I am not alone in this belief, and that what i wrote is my observation of the ay other people behave.

'I know that I am not alone in this belief'? Is THAT your proof? There were plenty of people who once believed the world was flat but even before the proof was in to counter such a belief, those people were WRONG.

'Human nature' (again)...

Some people will point to certain characteristics of family behavior (material support for members who cannot contribute to their own upkeep, for example) to claim that co-operation is 'human nature.' Others will point to other characteristics (sibling rivalry for example) in order to claim that competition is 'human nature.' Taking a wide variety of possible behaviors and characteristics of family behavior into account, we can only conclude that the family demonstrates BOTH co-operative and competitive behavior. Back to square one.

How about genetic disposition? If it is true that biology is destiny (as current ideologues insist), then we can see that some people are 'born' to be smart, talented, entrepreneurs, etc., while others are 'born' to be dumb, unskilled, wage-laborers, etc. Where is the 'human nature' in this picture? Back to square one again.

Like above (in the family example), a variety of characteristics are presented, selected, edited, and then INTERPRETED in the interests of demonstrating that one set of characteristics 'represent' an absolute description of 'human nature.'

In other words: since each person has a differing 'human nature,' the term 'human nature' is MEANINGLESS.

Of course, an honest environmental appraisal of human behavior will also strongly suggest that 'human nature' even as an individual endowment is subject to the most disparate of interpretations.

For example: Is it 'human nature' to keep slaves? If the answer is no, then mankind successfully resisted the 'natural impulse' of 'human nature' for centuries. If the answer is yes, then mankind presently resists the 'natural impulse' of 'human nature'---again, for centuries.

Which brings us to a material appraisal of humankind's social interpretation of 'human nature,' 'human nature' predicated upon the level of productive capacities, a step into historical materialism la Marx you are probably not prepared for... so I'll just end this post right here with a pithy summation...

Someone recently said god was invented so people didn't have to keeping saying BECAUSE I SAID SO. As I see it, when people got tired of saying BECAUSE GOD SAID SO they then started saying IT'S HUMAN NATURE. Same difference.



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