Neil: Human Nature

What does it mean to be human? Does it mean that we all eventually die, and that our lives determine what really matters? Does it mean that good and evil are just constructs determined by one’s own upbringing? Or does it mean we’re imperfect beings, bound to make mistakes, yet determined to learn from them.

I guess it all depends on your outlook on life. Are you an optimist or pessimist? Do you go out there and live life to its fullest? Or, do you prefer to take a backseat and let others experience it first? I know, we do both to some extent, but it really depends on whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I’m more reserved, and only like talking to people I already know. Still, it’s impossible to go through life without making friends and talking to strangers. Now, that level of friendship is based on human nature — both yours and theirs. Which means one’s personality is a part of human nature as well.

Personality, or “character” as I like to think of it, shapes how people act towards one another. They say great minds think alike, but also say that opposites attract. I know from personal experience that I make friends based on common shared interests. But, romantically, I would never want to be with someone too similar to myself. I enjoy and appreciate people that enrich my life experience.

I previously touched on the basis of good and evil. I don’t believe these are notions that are predetermined from birth. Humans are taught behaviours and learn good or bad traits based on their teachers. But, they may have a natural attraction to one or the other, which coincides with their personality.

They say: “to err is human”, and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve made countless mistakes in my life, and I tend to remember those negative experiences more than the positive ones. But each and every time, I’ve tried to learn from my mistakes and never let the same thing happen twice. History does sometimes repeat itself and human experience definitely shapes human nature.

So after all this, what makes us uniquely human? It boils down to how we all think and act. Whether we succumb to our primal urges, or whether we rise above them and become a better society than the one that raised us. Human nature changes with events and time, and with interaction with other humans. So, after reading all this, have I now helped to change your thoughts on human nature?

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