Understanding Humankind essay

In the history of the world, the forces of nature dictated that humankind would inherit and dominate the earth after over thousands of years of evolution. Like most living things, human beings belong to the animal kingdom but are on top of the hierarchy, because of the following factors: a higher degree of intelligence and consciousness, the ability of reason and logic, a moral sense, and other imminent qualities. While humans are superior to animals in terms of these distinctive qualities, certain human behaviors, arguably, are driven by impulse.

This impulse is handed down to us from our ancient ancestors, beasts who acted without logic and reason, but pure animal instinct. The predatory environment in which humans have evolved, where they have to compete with other animals for scarce food to survive, can be considered the “primordial origin of contemporary and historical moral evil; i. e. , the bad things we do to each other by lying, cheating, slandering, thieving and slaughtering. ” Much of a man’s actions are constrained by the force of self-preservation which is inherent upon all human beings.

It can be said that man’s determination for self-preservation is the driving force of his actions and defines his relationship with nature and other human beings. This is the reason why humankind believes he has dominion over animal and other beings, including other humans. This is why man slaughter cows to Customers last name 2 make hamburgers or eat chicken and other livestock. Self-preservation is also the reason why a person would report to work everyday even when he believes he has the most boring job in the world.

However, self-preservation is not absolute and the same for all human beings. It varies and corresponds to the circumstances of nature, person, time and place. Thus, a vagrant may feel fulfilled with begging for alms while another person might strive hard in his career to reach the top of his company. The forbearance of men to accept an otherwise unsuitable living condition depends largely on his standard for self-preservation. This notion brings forth the principle that the humankind is inherently bad.

Reveals that famous 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes believed in the idea that humans in the state of nature are constantly in a “war of all against all”. In this principle, positive external influences, like government or parental guidance, are critical factors needed to maintain balance for human behavior. Notwithstanding, every human kind exercises free will and is capable of determining good from evil. While his actions may at times be under the strong compulsion of imperative social factors, nevertheless, the same is still within his ambit of freewill.

When a student resorts to cheating in order to pass a difficult exam, which he has failed to prepare for, to avoid social embarrassment or maintain his status in class, he is doing so with external influence but the student is consciously aware of the evil of his actions and capable of determining right from wrong. But the influences are not limited to external forces as human choices may also be caused by internal forces or what we call the biological factors. For instance, certain choices are determined by the gender of the

Customers last name 3 person. A male and a female may react differently to a stimulus because their behaviors were predetermined by their sexuality – a biological factor. On the other hand, there are also others who view that humans are inherently good, like another popular English philosopher, John Locke. Reference. com lists an entry that says John Locke blames the environment for the evil deeds of man; negative habits and attitudes are a result of a morally corrupt civilization.

Locke is said to believe that human beings in the state of nature have perfect freedom to order their actions according to the laws of nature, without having to ask for permission to act from any other person. People are of equal value and treat each other as they would want to be treated. The debate whether man is inherently bad, or inherently good, goes on until this very day; centuries after Hobbes, Locke and numerous other philosophers declared and asserted their own positions. In recent times, the popular phrase, “nature versus nurture” is used to discuss this issue. About.

Illustrates that scientists argue what factor-heredity or environment- influences the actions of a person. In my humble point of view, I believe that nurture plays a bigger role in the actions of a person. Once a human being gets to experience significant events in his life, he obtains the ability of having the insight about life. Whether it is a devastating tragedy or a blissful event in his life, it will shape his perceptions and belief systems and will guide him in his actions. The influence of the environment, therefore, matters greatly in the way he lives his life.

Even the simple task of reading about other cultures or ideologies can affect his perception. Experience is a Customers last name 4 powerful tool to shape a person, even if it’s just a plain vicarious one, or a hardcore physical adventure. As a student, my convictions undergo a lot of changes. In an academic community, one cannot help but consider all possibilities, all theories, before one can decide what stand to take and what action to execute. For example, issues like war, gender sensitivity, and consumerism can have so many sides to them that my opinion about them tends to vary.

One day I find myself defending the war, and in another day, after listening to political talks and analyzing the revelation in the news, I find myself against the war. Surely this is “nurture” at work here; the environment shaping my ideals, and not my “nature”. The Motivation Factor One thing is certain about human actions however; it is caused by motivations. An ordinary man, we can say, is concerned about simple things such as work and other things needed to live a good life. But what can drive a man to set higher goals and aim for greater achievements is his motivation.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy discloses that motivation is the force that drives humans to act, achieve, and succeed. All areas of human life have an element of motivation in it from work to personal and social aspects. In education, for instance, motivation plays a crucial role in learning. As a student, motivation is an aspect of my learning and affects my behavior towards certain courses. There are courses in which I have shown high interest and exert much effort to excel in, because I am motivated by some factors. Motivation increases my effort, persistence, energy and initiative in school work and activities.

It affects my behavior towards my Customers last name 5 academic goals. The drive to act is important for each person to possess, and I, as a human being, am fortunate enough to have this drive within me. It compels me to act, to be a person who actualizes his goals. The Power of Emotions Closely related to motivation, is the science and art of emotion. I dare call it a science for the obvious reason that numerous psychological studies and researches have been made to understand emotions. Emotions cannot be measured nor delineated with a single definition.

Sure, it can be identified, but beyond the identification we can only be fascinated by its effect and impact on our physiology. I dare call it an art because emotion is very much subjective and cannot be bound to a certain premise. As a matter of fact, the human being’s ability to feel is so complex and boundless that it has been the major topic in literature and in the arts. Motion pictures like “The Forgotten” and television sitcoms like “Roswell” and “Taken” explore the idea that emotions are unique only to mankind, and that other species do not have the ability to feel.

While this premise is largely debatable, what it says about the human being is quite simple: we as human beings are likewise fascinated by the power of emotions in our lives. Through these creative outputs, we give the message that we ourselves are awed and privileged to be able to experience emotions. To say that the human being is a complex creature is an understatement. From physiology to psychology we have a very intricate web of complexities. Understanding humankind one superhuman task, but it can be accomplished.

After all, we are provided with insight, another fascinating ability that we are privileged to possess. Works Cited “Motivation. ” McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. , 2005. Answers. com. 07 December 2007. <http:// www. answers. com/topic/motivation> “State of Nature. ”

Reference. com. 7 December 2007. <http://www. reference. com/browse/wiki/State_of_nature> “Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679):Moral and Political Philosophy. ” The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2006. 7 December 2007. <http: //www. iep. utm. edu/h/hobmoral. htm#H5