Random Thoughts Indexed

Human Nature
Part One - Part Two - Part Three

If I am to enquire into human nature, it seems to me that the best place to start is with the potentially clearest example to which I have access - myself.

So into the murky depths we go...

Wading down through the surface is easy, allowing for aspects of myself that are easily attributable to my background, my attitudes and my more memorable experiences.

Having descended below the obvious layers of who I am, I begin to encounter various structures that can be loosely described as psychological. Those aspects of the mind that are either latent or active responses to certain kinds of life experience, such as defense reactions, ego and conscience issues, and so on. While these may seem to be one aspect of human nature, in that I think every healthy brain is "hard wired" to operate in these ways, there is no necessary component of what it is to be human at this level.

It might be said that a human will generally react a certain way to certain kinds of trauma when young, or older, but you will not find these reactive structures in all people, just the potential for them - and that potential will vary wildly depending on their background and mental activities.

The funny thing about these aspects of myself, is even if I cannot get "right to them," they are still identifiable. It is in the nature of neuroses to dodge direct examination, to slither off in to their dark lairs, to avoid observation, in order that will continue to perform their (perhaps useless) function of protecting the mind from horrors, real, imagined, or exagerrated. So down through the slimy layers we continue.

I start to see basic urges, fundamental responses to very crude situations... I see what drives and needs are lurking underneath, sanitised and hidden under many layers of training and learning to live with the people and culture and times that are mine. Sometimes, like the lava of a nascent volcano, they rise close to the surface and express themselves, and on occasion are raw and active, spilling out into my actual behaviour. More often than not, they form the deeply laid base of the very complex pyramid of contradictions and conflicts which form who I am, the socialised, semi-respectable Huw.

I may seem to make short work of the rest of this process, since the nature of the human was an idea which concerned me much more many years ago, and having developed what I think is my answer to the question, I no longer dwell on it in depth or for long.

Human Nature
Part One - Part Two - Part Three

8/19/01

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© Huw Powell
humanthoughts.org

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