Human nature

Why is the term “human nature” so frequently used to mean only negative, “animal” characteristics of humans, such as aggression, violence, and greed? I noticed this in a talk I heard last week and it got me thinking. Positive characteristics such as cooperation, compassion, and generosity are just as much a part of “human nature” as aggression and greed, but these seem to be much less frequently referred to as such. I think this is actually an important indicator of why we are still such a violent, unpeaceful society. We have it drummed into us from when we are young that life is about overcoming these negative natural instincts of aggression and selfishness. This orients how people approach life and their interactions with each other. What if instead we taught our children that life is about drawing out and encouraging our natural instincts towards cooperation and compassion? I think our society would look very different from the way it does today.


One Response to Human nature

  1. K. says:

    Hello Musings on Peace! I am commenting because I was wondering if you had the time sometime this week or early next week to answer a few questions in an email about being car free? I remembered that you had mentioned that you hardly use your car on a comment on my old blog, Breathing Peace ( I have created a new blog called The Minimalists ( and I hoping on having a monthly interview series on the blog about living car free. I really want to focus on people who are currently living in my area first (Denver/Boulder). Just let me know if you have the time by commenting on The Minimalists. It would be greatly appreciated! And more networking with our blogs I think would be interesting and beneficial for both of us! Thanks :o)

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