Oct 2, 2012

On Human Nature

In a society that is predicated on competition and really, very often the ruthless exploitation of one human being by another, the profiteering off of other people's problems for the purpose of profiteering,  the ruling ideology will very often justify that behavior by appeals to some fundamental, unalterable human nature.

So, the myth in our society is that people are competitive, individualistic and selfish by nature. The reality is quite the opposite.

We have certain human needs. The only way that you can talk about human nature concretely is by recognizing that there are certain human needs.

We have a human need for companionship and for close contact, to be loved, to be attached to, to be accepted, to be seen, to be received for who we are.

If those needs are met, we develop into people who are compassionate, cooperative, and who have empathy fir other people.

The opposite that we often see in our society is in fact, a distortion of human nature, precusely because so few people have their needs met.

So yes you can talk about human nature, but only in the sense of basic human needs that lead to certain traits if they are met and a different set of traits if they're denied.

Dr. Gabor Maté


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