I just wanted to make a statement regarding the conclusion of this article, on its re-release. It ended on a rather bleak note, but I wanted to say that that is not how I truly view our chances. This is more a cautionary tale to inspire positive change before it is, in fact, too late for us. As you read this, let it provoke an internal dialogue as to how you can be and do better. Fight the tide and rise above the insanity.
Back in 2009, a friend asked me to write something for their daughter because they were trying to meet a deadline and keep the daughter from flunking out of class. The topic was Social Studies. As I pondered what to write I had no inspiration at all, so I wound up going with something I am familiar with. Human Nature. I know that they rewrote it so that it would be recognized as their work (I wrote it at a level beyond their ability), but after writing it and sharing it with a few people close to me, I felt that it would be a wasted work if it was not shared. Since I am trying to kick start my blogging career, I thought that this would be the perfect venue to introduce my writing and my thoughts to the world. So read on, and feel free to sound off.
Original Composition Date: 4/22/2009
It can be said that doing the right thing does not come naturally to men and women. It seems that rather than find rational, intelligent and amicable solutions to problems and situations, human beings do one of two things. Either they ignore and/or run away from the problems or situations, or they obliterate the source of the problem or situation. This has been true from the earliest recorded history of man right on through our own current events. We have been perpetuating this behavior despite the insanity of it all. Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Without acknowledging these simple truths, humanity is doomed to wiping itself out.
We as humans go out of our way to make bad decisions based on feelings rather than good judgment. The first recorded proof of this is the well known story of Eve and the Tree of Knowledge.
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Bible Genesis 3:1-3:6)
When having her conversation with the serpent, the woman even states the rules by which she was supposed to be operating under, the rules given by God himself. One would think that by using common sense and logical reasoning, she would dismiss the any action that would go contrary to that. But when the serpent appealed to her, saying there would be no consequence and in fact she would be better off if she did so, she abandoned her reason and went with the feeling of desire. To top it off she did not do it alone, but made Adam an accomplice by giving him the fruit also. Human misery does truly love company.
The next example of human nature is given in the story of Cain and Abel. Here we see again how feelings cloud the judgment and make humans do things that make no sense.
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Bible Genesis 4:3-4:8)
That jealousy and resentment are what fueled the feelings of Cain when he killed his brother. The thought of being discovered and/or punishment were of no concern to him at the time because he was not thinking.
The first recorded divorce was rather unconventional, and was not between a man and woman but rather between God and humanity, however, it still was a result of humans making bad choices. Prior to the eating of the fruit, mankind and God were on familiar terms with no animosity between them. I imagine they had a relationship where they walked and talked with God as friends and peers, however, the betrayal of mankind to the relationship that existed with God caused man to be “divorced” from God. All the wonderful benefits of the relationship were lost forever, leaving only pain and suffering in its place.
Today divorce is used as a way to run away from problems rather than work them out. The needs of the one outweigh the needs of others. We now live in the society full of broken families and questionable moral values. The sanctity of family is no longer a value that is held above all other things. Money, status and personal indulgence has taken the priority in our lives. Working together to form a perfect union in harmony with each other is an art that has been lost. If we put the same energy into bettering the quality of life in the world as we do indulging our emotions and selfishness, the world would be a much better place.
When you think about it, divorce is the nastiest kind of war. The one person that knows the deepest darkest secrets and most intimate details of your life will then turn that knowledge into a weapon to be used publicly against a loved one in the most painful way.
Simply put, war is the result of conflict between differing ideas, philosophies, ways of life or peoples. The differences themselves are not the problem, but in fact it is people’s inability to accept those differences that creates the conflict. As intelligent, sentient beings one would think that we could sit down and reason out solutions to our problems in a constructive way. Unfortunately, this is where human nature comes in, feelings take over and reason is lost to the winds.
The first war was very simple. Cain killed Abel. I believe that it was fueled by Cain’s resentment over the favor God gave to Abel and not to him. But even deeper than that, all we are told and the text was that, “. . . Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Bible Genesis 4:8) They were talking!! Humans are funny that way. Mere words can stir up enough emotion and passion that murder becomes a reflex action. Yet, we call ourselves intelligent beings.
Strangely enough, the next recorded conflict in the Bible ends without bloodshed and should have been an example for all that followed on how to resolve conflicts peacefully.
And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. (Bible Genesis 13:7-13:9)
There was a piece of simple and effective rational thinking. One would think that with ancestors like that we would have actually become a much more productive society than we are today. Oddly enough, the very next chapter holds the record of all out war between several peoples, which lasted for over fourteen years.
In modern history there are hundreds of wars, many of them we, as Americans, are not even concerned with because they don’t affect our lives. What is common with all of them is the enormous amount of resources that we as humans invest in killing each other. Even the wars that we consider “justifiable actions” cost us, in the long run, a great deal more than peaceful, intelligent negotiation would. Imagine how much better off the world would be if all the energy and monetary investment that went into war was channeled into feeding the world, curing cancer or wiping out AIDS?
Human beings as a race suffer with from what seems to be hereditary insanity. From the beginning of time we continue to repeat over and over again all the mistakes history has shown us are not good for us as individuals, for humanity or for the planet. We claim that we’ve learned lessons from history. When dealing with problems of today’s world we look to the past for answers and guidance. Yet somehow, we do not see the answers that are right before us. We continue to let ourselves be led by our feelings and not by reason. For all our technology we accomplish very little that improves the human condition as a whole. For all our knowledge, we behave like children and do not use it to make better choices. As for our intelligence, we should simply rename it insanity because we, by our actions, prove we have none to speak of.
We as a race are hopeless. We have no redeeming qualities, only ones that condemn us to misery until we have manage to find a way to wipe ourselves from the face of the planet, or be wiped from it by a power greater than ourselves, or some global catastrophe that we never saw coming because we were too wrapped up in indulging our personal feelings or maintaining our petty conflicts.
This is our fate thanks to our human nature that both betrays us and fuels our perpetuation of everything wrong with the way we are. We cannot help it, it is who we are. With each passing generation we refine our propensity to ruin everything good about us and around us. With the knowledge of good and evil also came the choice of how to use that knowledge and we continue to make bad choices in everything that could make the world a better place.
I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can’t make myself do right. I want to, but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. (Holy Bible Romans 7:18-7:19)
“Bible Collection Suite.” King James Version 10.2.629. CD-ROM. Chaska: ValueSoft, 2009.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1996