The common western viewpoint of a human being, is that we are tied up in the world of good and evil. It is quite widely believed that humans have a bent towards this dark side, and if left to their own, the dark side wins out, and the person becomes bent.
It is due to this belief that the concept that we need teachers and police systems, and governments developed (or so they would have us believe) …. They say that if we as humans do not have some sort of “parent” directing us, we are simply self-centered savages, and do not develop towards the “good side”. The European colonial attitude towards other races is a prime example of this thinking. This is why they felt the need to indoctrinate the indigenous peoples when they went out on their colonizing expeditions. Without their leadership of civilized behavior they said, humans are nothing but savages.
This way of thinking has come down to us from the Christian way of thinking, and most folks believe about this bent towards the dark or evil side, whether they are a Christian or not. It has simply become the common western viewpoint. We see this in books, movies, etc. Evil is seen as a real identity, somehow tied into a spiritual part of reality.
Essentially, this is seen as the result of the concepts of “The Fall of Man” and “The doctrine of Original Sin”. This line of thinking is that man was originally good, but that through his disobedience to God, he fell and that now his nature at base, is evil. This is why the concept of salvation is necessary…. because we need to be saved from our evil nature, which was visited on us by the first humans disobedience…….
It is strange that even though many folks do not believe in Christianity anymore, that this basic way of looking at humanity has managed to stay intact in our way of thinking.
But in fact, when a human is born, we are born perfect and whole, with nothing lacking. As soon as we are born, we find that we do of course need to reach outside ourselves for food and water, and we also reach outwards for love. But in terms of our “DNA nature system”, it is pure and complete, lacking nothing. This includes our mental, emotional and physical equilibrium. There are systems in our body which keep things functioning in a balanced manner.
So, in terms of the science psychology, this is called “nature”…..
On the other hand, the “nurture” portion of our lives, essentially begins at birth, and is “the environment surrounding our “perfect system”, and its effect on us, and how we react to it.
For many years, I thought that the “nature” part was the most important, and that it was what I call “me” , so I was strongly on the “humanist” side and strongly against the “behaviorist” side. This is because I thought that most of my “automatic” reactions were my “nature” speaking (and this was important to me, as a child of the 60’s 🙂 )
But lately, my experience seems to be, that this “DNA body system” is not anywhere near as responsible for my automatic reactions as the “nurture” which began in my early life, and the development of that experience.
The history of psychology has generally divided along these lines of nature and nurture. One opinion stating that a persons experience of the world is based largely in the “system” they received at birth, and the other opinion stating that a persons experience of the world is based largely in the outer influences of their environment they find themselves in. Of course, in the end, it is a combination…. but academics like to argue one side against the other… 🙂
The reason why this change in my point of view has become important to me of late, is that a new perspective or worldview has been gradually forming. That change has been based on what i have learned from studying my own nature and nurture scenario.
So, as i mentioned earlier, the common western belief is that man has a bent towards evil, and the if not guided by some “light”, they will all end up as bad people.
But another viewpoint of humanity, is that we are born a blank piece of paper. This viewpoint says that it is a combination of our environment and our choices which governs our direction in life, and not any leaning or propensity towards being good or not being good. (Good generally meaning doing what is acceptable in our social environment.)
The reason for my personal shift in the way I see these issues, began when I decided to drop my bias and beliefs regarding our nature as a human being, and to allow my experiencing of myself to help me find “what is”, instead of “what I was taught”.
So, rather than continuing to live my life based on some taught way of looking at life, i chose to do my best to throw all those pre-written “canned” concepts in the wastepaper basket, and gather “truth about myself” as a research project.
In doing so, i have learned things which have made my life puzzle fit together quite amazingly, as opposed to the scattered messed up picture i was brought up to believe.
It looks like this:
The body/mind system humans find themselves with at birth, is a fully complete and perfect system which has its own checks and balances physically, emotionally and mentally.
Our environment… i.e. our parents, our teachers, our friends, our society etc, teach us how to use our base resources to move through life.
Whereas we are centered and perfect when we are born, our environment (nurture) bends us based on our experiences and our reactions to those experiences.
Many of us, as adults, due to our experiences and our built up attitudes we use to defend ourselves, lose our connection with our “perfect body/mind system” which we are born with, and become confused by the defensiveness we build around ourselves due to the harshness of our environment.
We can, as adults, regain our connection to our “perfect body/mind system” which we are born with, and live happily and in harmony with our environment.
This, in my best estimation, is the true background on which the history of humanity is painted.