Humanity in Nature

07 May 2018 Comments Off on Humanity in Nature


Survival of the species is a race. Each living being wants to survive by obtaining the maximum amount of resources available. This is the law of nature, and it causes conflicts and violence. As we see in documentaries, animal species exist in a natural cycle as they compete to stay alive – to survive, in other words. However, wild animals are not alone in that. Humans also evolved to fight for survival. From birth, every individual tries to somehow stay alive and gain power. This makes the natural instincts of humans violent. To say so is not an insult against humanity but only the recognition of a natural process. According to Freud, humans have “aggressive instincts,” which also indicates that the violence and conflicts that humans create is a consequence of their natural state.
Human nature is a complicated concept. As the issue is “nature,” exploration of this topic should focus on natural and instinctive behaviors. However, it is hard to eliminate the external factors that affect conscious actions.
The race for survival began as people came together and started to live in groups with other humans. As the population increased, it limited each person’s individuality and freedom, as well as the resources and space available to them. As a result, groups of people naturally came into conflict, both with other groups and among themselves.
Humans’ violent nature in the service of survival requires competition; this is directly relevant to the theme of power. This natural race between humans created an uncontrolled desire for power, which is also an instinct. The most powerful always win. This desire is one of the most important reasons for the conflicts between humans. On their way to attaining power, they tend to be selfish, showing a lack of tolerance for each other and a lack of respect toward the environment. According to Freud, behind social conflicts, there lies nature.
Humans’ race for survival and desire for power increased selfishness, which also made them more violent. To survive and be the most powerful individual, humans make decisions selfishly, without caring about others. “We’ll do what is necessary to stay alive and make conditions more comfortable for ourselves,” says S. Grant. Both human nature/animal instincts and the desire for power make humans more selfish. As Grant observes, the only thing that matters is to stay alive without losing power.
Many examples of aggressive human nature may be seen in everyday life. For example, let’s imagine a child who is only two or three years old. She is very young, so she does not know anything about norms and morals, about what is considered good or bad. When we observe her natural actions, we see that she may pull her mother’s hair or break her toys. Her mother will then teach her that good girls do not break their toys, and that pulling someone’s hair is wrong; she should instead touch other people gently. This example of typical childhood behavior shows that “bad” is natural, while “good” is learned. Humans have a tendency to behave in a destructive or violent way as a result of their nature, but what we call “externality” compels them to be “good” in terms of social and universal norms.
It can thus be said that humans are born with aggressive instincts and are naturally violent; only subsequently do they learn how to be good. Sometimes it is not even enough to learn how to behave; people need control mechanisms to limit themselves, which also indicates that they are born to create conflicts. The seventeenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in his book “Leviathan,” discusses the “state of nature” as the condition of humans where there are no controls such as laws, civilization or a “common power.” He refers to this state as a “war of all against all,” where men would like to destroy each other because they always want to have more and more power. The fact that humans cannot completely control nature creates a willingness to take social interactions under control. When groups, countries or empires – in other words, societies – started to form, they created governments and systems of law for themselves. The whole world found it necessary to have rules and punishments to function as control mechanisms over human interactions. The primary motivation in the state of nature is the desire for power; the motivation to create laws and establish a common power is the desire for societal peace and sustainability.
Whatever external factors or situations may exist, everything still has its own nature. To understand, to analyze and ultimately to solve any kind of conflict, we must learn that nature, those main characteristics, and thus the main cause. So in order to understand humans, we must know what human nature is.