Defects of Human Nature Essay

Defects of Human Nature Essay.

Human nature can be defined as being the psychological characteristics of humankind which are understood to be shared by all human beings. In the novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, the flaws of human nature are explored in detail. When critics asked Golding about the theme of the novel, he replied, “The theme is an attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature” (p. 204). He believes that political systems cannot govern society effectively without first taking into consideration the defects of human nature.

One of the numerous flaws in human nature which is illustrated in “Lord of the Flies” is the reluctance of admitting one’s mistakes. The characters in this novel are of young age, the oldest being around 12 or 13 years old. This leaves room for many mistakes to be made, as young children are bound to make mistakes. It is human nature to deny mistakes, and to instead blame mishaps on others.

In the beginning of “Lord of the Flies”, when the first meeting is held, Piggy suggests a head count to keep track of everyone, especially the “littluns.

” Ralph and Jack dismiss this idea by making fun of Piggy instead of taking his comment into consideration. There was a little child that talked about a “snake-thing” (p. 35). He is only distinguished by a mark on his face. The other boys laugh at the child and write off the idea as a nightmare. Later, when the boys are looking for wood, they come across a snake-pit. It is then when Piggy realizes that the small boy with the mark on his face is gone. “That little’un that had a mark on his face–where is–he now? I tell you I don’t see him–where is he now?

” (p. 46-47) Piggy reprimands the other boys for not listening him and taking a head count. Instead of admitting his mistake, Ralph shamefully mumbles an excuse: “Perhaps he went back to the, the–” (p. 47). Ralph and Jack also blame the incident on Piggy who was put in charge of the “names. ” However, it is not Piggy’s fault because there was no way that he could accomplish this task without the cooperation of the other boys, which was not available to him. The absence of the little one is ignored and is never spoken of again.

This is an example of how people are reluctant to admit their mistakes and would rather blame things on others. When Simon realizes that the beastie is not real, but is rather the dead parachuter, he feels obligated to inform the other boys of his discovery. However, Simon barges in on them during one of their feast celebrations. The boys at the feast are dancing and are caught up in the excitement of the night. Not fully aware of the situation, when Simon made his unannounced entrance, he was mistaken for being the beast.

In the excitement of the night, nobody realized the mistake and as a consequence, Simon was brutally murdered. After the incident, nobody believed that they actually committed the murder, and instead they all try to find excuses for their actions: “‘Don’t you understand, Piggy? The things we did–‘ ‘He may still be–‘ ‘No. ‘ ‘P’raps he was only pretending–‘” (p. 157). “It was an accident, that’s what it was… coming in the dark. He was batty. He asked for it. It was an accident…. It was an accident, and that’s that. ” (p. 157).

Ralph and Piggy are not comfortable with what they had done when they woke up the next morning. Ralph realizes what happened, but Piggy persistently attempts to find an excuse for their actions, as can be seen in the quotes above. He denies all involvement in the murder and struggles to prove to himself, as well as to Ralph, that they both were not connected to the killing in any way. Sam and Eric [or Samneric] feel the same way about the situation as do Ralph and Piggy. The twins act as if they were not present when the murder took place, even though it is obvious they were.

They justify this excuse by pretending that they left the feast early because they were “tired. ” Piggy and Ralph go along with this explanation and actually use it for themselves as well: “‘We left early,’ said Piggy quickly, ‘because we were tired. ‘ ‘So did we–‘” (p. 158). All four of the boys are pretending that they do not know of what is going on and are shaken by the “dance they had not attended” (p. 158). Throughout “The Lord of the Flies”, William Golding identifies many “defects of human nature.

” One of the themes of the novel is an “attempt to trace the defects of society back to the defects of human nature” (p. 204). The flaws in human nature must be taken into consideration in order to build a successful political structure. In this novel, the young children do now have this knowledge and therefore their society breaks down. It is in human nature for one to be unwilling to admit one’s mistakes, and throughout the Lord of the Flies, Golding has exemplified this flaw in a variety of different ways.

Defects of Human Nature Essay

Chinese Mencius And Xunzi On Human Nature Essay

Chinese Mencius And Xunzi On Human Nature Essay.

Mencius and Xunzi both follow Confucian philosophy yet have a dramatically different understanding of human nature. Additionally, the two philosophers make their arguments in strikingly different literary methods. Mencius believes that the “goodness of human nature is like the downward course of water” (147) in that people are naturally inclined to be good, and he makes this argument through conversations among friends and public figures. In contrast, Xunzi staunchly argues that “Human nature is evil” (179) and through essays claims that human nature’s only “goodness derives from the conscious activity” (179).

The two philosophers both use many metaphors to explain their own interpretation of human nature in different ways. By exploring the philosophies of these two great Confucian thinkers, one better understands the multitude of ways human nature can be explained in Confucianism throughout Chinese history. As the “single most influential contributor to a view of human nature in Confucianized East Asia” (116), Mencius’ philosophy is fundamental. Mencius argues that human nature is good, and “ru” teachings furthered natural tendencies.

To explain the natural goodness of human nature Mencius shows that “the goodness of human nature is like the downward course of water. ”

By this he claims, “there is no human being lacking in the tendency to do good, just as there is no water lacking in the tendency to flow downward” (147). Furthermore he counters the claim that water can be manipulated to go many directions by rationalizing that, “while people can be made to do what is not good, what happens to their nature is like this”(147). Overall, this metaphor is used to show that without manipulation or outside forces, people naturally want to do good things. 1 Additionally, Mencius asserts that the innate knowledge and ability, that of the child, is original and good due to the natural human tendency toward goodness.

He explains that, “what people are able to do without having learned it is original, good ability. What they know without having to think about it is original, good knowledge” (156). Furthermore he gives the practical example that, “there are no young children who do not know to love their parents” (156). Another metaphor, that of the child falling into the well, advances the idea that this innate knowledge can be found in all people.

Mencius explains that a man upon seeing a, “child falling in to a well, his mind would always be filled with alarm”therefore, “all human beings have a mind that cannot bear to see the sufferings of others (129). By claiming that a man can not help but feel this alarm naturally supports Mencius’ idea that by nature humans can not bear to see the suffering of other. Finally, Mencius uses the example of Ox Mountain, which was once beautifully covered in trees but is now bare to show the transformation of the outward appearance of human nature. Upon seeing, “this barrenness, people suppose that the mountain was never wooded. But how could this be the nature of the mountain? ” (151).

He asks. By this Mencius illustrates that one might suppose that a man never had the capacity for goodness just because he does not now follow the Way, however just as is the mountains nature to be wooded, it is man’s nature to be good. In contrast to Mencius optimistic thoughts on human nature, Xunzi argues that, “human nature is evil; its goodness derives from the conscious activity” (179). By this Xunzi means that human nature tends towards a “fondness for profit…envy and hate… beautiful sights and sounds…” and “following human nature and indulging human emotions will inevitably lead to contention and strife” (180). Such a grim outlook on 2

human nature likely derives from the tremulous and violent time period in which he developed these philosophies. Xunzi’s journeys during the Warring States Period likely had an impact on his pessimistic stance on human nature. However, Xunzi explains that these low human desires can be and should be controlled and directed by means of ritual and teachings. He praises the value of teachers as a way of practicing virtue and claims, “one must be transformed by the example of a teacher and guided by the way of ritual and rightness before one will attain modestly and yielding, accord with refinement and ritual, and return to order” (180).

Xunzi refutes the idea that ritual and rightness are part of human nature and instead are the result of activity through the metaphor of a potter and carpenter. Xunzi rationalizes, “a potter may mold clay and produce an earthen pot, but how could molding pots of clay be the potter’s nature? A carpenter may carve wood and produce utensils but how could carving utensils out of wood be the carpenter’s nature? ” (182). In this metaphor Xunzi illustrates how rituals are the result of conscious activity, and these rituals “established models and limits in order to reform and improve the human emotional nature” (180).

Without such limits to evil human nature, society would fall into chaos. Mencius, in each of his metaphors illustrates how human nature has a tendency to be good. In contrast Xunzi’s metaphors and explanations illustrate his claim that human nature is bad. Although these two thinkers differ greatly in philosophy, they share the idea that governance and personal cultivation have a close relationship. Mencius’ belief that human nature is good is related to his idea of proper governance.

Leading by example allows people to follow the Way and to be in touch with their true human nature, and therefore Heaven. In contrast, Xunzi believes that evil human nature can be curbed and 3 directed through conscious activity and ritual so as to allow for order in government. Finally, the two, as “ru” thinkers, also believe in the ability of humans in general to aspire to higher personal cultivation. Mencius states, “if one does what is not good, that is not the fault of ones capacities” (149) and similarly Xunzi also claims, “The man on the street can become a Yu” (183) meaning any man on the street has the natural endowment needed to understand virtue.

Chinese Mencius And Xunzi On Human Nature Essay

Nature versus nurture Essay

Nature versus nurture Essay.

What is the nature v nurture debate? How can an individual’s development be affected using the nature v nurture debate? Some of the areas of development I will be looking at are language how nature and nurture can have an influence on this, causes of behaviour why people behave the way they do, gender role are we born to be a certain sexual orientation or not, aggression, disease, and illness are we predisposed to getting certain diseases or is it our lifestyles and environments and other learnt behaviour that progress illness and disease? These are the questions I will be looking at.

Our development can be affected by many things; some development is affected before we are even born passed on through the genes this is the nature side of the debate there are many children born with diseases which affect them physically, mentally, emotionally and socially an example of this could be downs syndrome, this is because of an extra chromosome in the genetic makeup which causes downs syndrome but what caused this extra chromosome in the first place was it something within the environment that caused the extra chromosome this would then fall on the nurture side this could also be used for obesity peoples bodies are changing but are we born with a higher risk of being fat and overweight, is there a fat gene?

Or is it because of our lifestyles the way that we live and the choices that we make? I feel that again it could be on both sides here as there is research into the fat gene that shows that some people may have a missing gene that affects the brain and causes them to not be able to stop eating not recognising when the body is full.

But you could argue that it is the environment that we live in with the many fast food restaurants springing up everywhere when you walk down the local high street there are so many takeaways, coffee shops, sandwich shops, curry houses, burger joints and fish and chip shops they dominate where we live, where we shop and its very much a part of our culture to dine out with many pubs offering 2 for ten pounds meals its sometimes might be cheaper to eat out.

Nature or Nurture or a fine balance of both, what do you think? I feel that this plays a huge part of why obesity is such a problem today, if look back to just 30 years ago many of these fast food chains didn’t exist and it was a treat to eat out or have fish and chips, one of the most important parts of the day was the family sitting down to eating a meal around the table the high streets were full of butchers and green grocers, bakers farm shops.

I do believe that there is quite possibly is a fat gene as our bodies are adapting to the society that we live in today, children are becoming obese and within the next ten years there is expected to be an huge problem with more children developing things like diabetes asthma and heart disease at earlier ages, I do believe that nurture, our parents, environment and society has brought about the problems we see today and could be why our genes are mutating.

I feel that an example of this would be a child learning to talk if the child does not have much contact with other children between the ages 1 to 4 years it could be that by the time the child attends school it could have delayed speech, this is even more the case if the child has not been encouraged at home to use words or if the child has been spoken to like a baby for too long. You could use the example of the feral children, children that are locked up for a long period of time or removed and forced to live in a different way, these children are found after many years not being able to communicate or use words.

Another example would be children that are brought up bi-lingual, these children often take to languages easily and can talk 2 or 3 languages fluently because it is natural to their environment again this is nurture, nature does play a part of course because without the correct anatomy we would not be able to talk and use speech to communicate, psychologists say that the correct timing to learn speech is between birth and puberty after this stage its thought that it’s not possible for someone to learn. Another area to consider in the nature vs. nurture debate is language, how speech develops, do we learn speech or again is it something that we are born with.

I feel that with language is definitely something that we are taught it is vital that we are around other people to be able to communicate and develop speech. TWINS Behaviour is also another topic that comes up with this debate two psychologists that believe that nurture is responsible for behaviour are John Watson and B. F Skinner, they believed that children are conditioned from what they learn. John Watson conducted an experiment called the little Albert experiment, in this this experiment he conditioned a toddler to learn to be scared of a rat. The toddler was not scared of the rat in the beginning it was only after a loud noise was associated with the rat that the toddler became frightened.

A simple example of this could be a child learning to fear spiders from the mother if she is scared of them and displays this in front of the child they then learn to become afraid. This is known as classic conditioning and goes for the nurture side of the debate. I agree with this side as I do believe that we are shaped very much by our environment, parents, media, peers with behaviour but for the nature side of the debate how can you explain children that are separated from their parents or adopted and still manage to have the same personality traits make similar choices and grow up with the same fears likes and dislike surely this is a huge tick for the nature side of the debate.

There is also the twin studies to be considered in the nature side of the debate where identical twins come from one egg divided into two, studies show that these twins share a lot from choices that they make, personality traits and their abilities and limits, this is completely different to that of those that are fraternal twins who tend to be opposite in many ways.

With this part of the debate again i feel that both nature and nurture play a part. First if look at mental illness depression for example in my opinion is a nurture thing because of our environments, the effect that others have on us pressures of every day life and so on. But it’s also a fact that if you have seen a parent go through bouts of depression you may be more likely to mimic that if there comes a time when you can’t cope, the learnt behaviour is to withdraw. But in the case of PKU which is a genetic disorder

which is passed on if both parents are carriers to there unborn child. Found in our everyday diets phenylalanine becomes a poison to someone with PKU and can cause severe affects rendering that person retarded for the rest of their life. This cannot be reversed once it occurs but can be prevented by administering a special diet at birth; children can grow up healthy with little problems, so something that starts of as genetic turns into an environment issue, both nature and nurture playing their parts. CONCLUSION I believe that both nature and nurture play a huge part through out our life, nature being what we are born with and nurture being the environment that has shaped us.

I do think that genes are changing and some mutating to our ever changing environments, looking at twin studies i feel show us a lot from identical twins that can have a lot of the same traits but end up with different sexualities, to twins that are separated at birth and can end up with the same jobs, preferences, make the same or similar choices.

I believe that even if we are born with certain genes that we still have the free will to make choices that will improve or avoid us inevitably going down a certain route or pathway through life. AGGRESSION I feel with aggression it is both sides of the debate, with the nurture side we only need to look at the gangs that are found all over the world, this is because of the culture of fear that surrounds us as a society.

We are definitely shaped by this as individuals, as we only need to look at the media to see the violence that’s thrown at us every day and night, we are trained for war and to battle and kill others in order to protect ourselves, children are taught from an early age about aggression from parents, brothers and sisters it surrounds us. It has been shown as a normal part of life through cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, computer games to the stories we read and the films we watch. On the other hand for the nature side we have Testosterone; this is a powerful hormone that can dominate us as people, especially in men who have high testosterone levels.

Look at body builders for example they inject themselves with Testosterone and have higher levels of aggression, men murder more than woman men die younger than women, i definitely agree with this. GENDER ROLE BEHAVIOUR Is there a gay gene or are we shaped by our up bringing, environments to be a certain sexual orientation? I feel that with this part of the debate it’s a bit of both, i agree with the theory that hormones shape us as individuals and can a powerful sway over how we feel, how we act, it’s quite apparent that homosexuality runs through families indicating that it’s in our genetic makeup, but this part of the debate is not clean cut.

There is a story of a boy who had a terrible accident when he was younger which led to his genitals being removed, his parents were advised to stop the boy from suffering he should be brought up as a girl. The theory behind this is that we are born with a clean slate concerning gender; we can be shaped and trained to be a certain gender with the right environment and encouragement. I agree with the fact that gender can be shaped by our environments but essentially it’s our genes and hormones that shape or sexuality however that is up for discussion as some people choose to become gay later in their life’s, this I think is because of nurture. So are we born with bad or good behaviour built in?

Or is it something we learn? A psychologist called Arnold Gesell believed that we are born with all things put in place, that biology has set the patterns of behaviour already and only at the correct time will these unfold, it’s already in our genetics who we are going to be. I don’t believe this as i am definitely on the nurture side i do think that some things are on the nature side like hair colour, eyes, we are kind of a made up stamp of both parent’s or ancestors but i do believe that our experiences, environment, peers shape our behaviour and personality, as people grow and change and surround themselves with others and different circumstances behaviour changes.

Nature versus nurture Essay

Nature vs. Nurture Essay

Nature vs. Nurture Essay.

For a long time, scientists and biologists have argued over whether our behavior is controlled solely by our genes or if the environment we are in has any effect. This is called nature versus nurture. No one knows which one dictates our behavior or if it is a combination of both. In this essay, I will attempt to answer some of the questions that come up in this age-old debate. One question is, if genes control behavior, then is an individual really responsible for their actions? I think people are definitely responsible for their actions.

I think that, while our genes may control some aspects of our personalities, there is no denying that our environment has some effects too. Our genes form us, but our experiences shape the way we behave as people. The people we grow up with, specifically our parents teach us ways of acting and thinking that we keep for the rest of our lives. A good example of this is television.

When violent acts happen, people are quick to blame all the violence we see on TV, but why do some people act on this violence while others, who probably watch the same amount of television, do not commit any violent acts in their lifetime?

I believe that it has to do with how a person grew up. If you grew up being told not to be violent and that television was just fiction, like I did, then you can sort out the violence on television from what happens and how people are supposed to act in real life. But if you were not told these things as a child, or you saw your parents participating in violence, then these lines between TV and reality become blurred. Scientists have also found out that, even though a person may have a certain behavior-controlling gene, it is not always active.

This research puts the responsibility for actions back on the individual. Humans do have free will, and they can choose if they want to let their body or their mind control them. Another question is, is a person doesn’t have the “bad gene,” but they commit a crime, are they more responsible. To look at this issue from a legal perspective, judges determine responsibility for actions by something called culpability. This term refers to a person’s knowledge of their actions and the consequences.

If a person doesn’t know what they are doing, such as a mentally ill person who commits a crime, or they are not aware of the consequences, such as a child who plays with a parent’s gun, then they cannot be legally held responsible. This would answer the previous question with an emphatic no. Culpability makes no mention of genes, so if you had the “bad gene” and you committed a crime that you were fully aware of doing and you knew what could happen if you got caught, you would be fully responsible for your actions. From my perspective, all healthy individuals are responsible for their actions.

I believe that genes control our physical characteristics, but have a minute role in controlling our behaviors. As I mentioned before, some people have a certain gene, but it is not active in their bodies. This could mean that many people with the “bad gene” have led perfectly normal, law-abiding lives, while many people without the “bad gene” could have committed crimes. Scientists say that only about 10% of criminals in our prisons have the anti-social personality, and this could be the same thing with the “bad gene.

” It is too risky to take responsibility off of individuals, because it just creates excuses for inexcusable behavior. I think that nurture plays a much bigger role in the shaping of our behavior than nature does. Placing complete control of our behavior on our genes removes responsibility off the individual, which is trouble. If people believe that they have no control over their bodies and it is all up to their genes, then we will see complete chaos. People will not engage in healthy lifestyles because they will believe that, it doesn’t matter what they do, genes will dictate their fate.

We will also see an increase in crime rate because people with the “bad gene” would be able to get away with crimes because it’s not their responsibility; it’s “their genes’ fault. ” We do know that our genes determine our physical properties, like whether we have brown or blond hair, but whether or not they control our behavior is still a mystery. I believe that they have a very limited role in determining behavior characteristics for the numerous reasons that I outline above.

Nature vs. Nurture Essay