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Human Nature - Accurate Essays

Human Nature





Humans in a State of Nature

Many philosophers have tried to explain the nature of the human nature each giving a different view. Some, for example Freud, said that humans act out repressed with unconscious sexual desires and many other philosophers have expressed different views. I support the idea of Jean Rousseau, a humanist, who said that humans are noble savages in a pristine state of nature. I believe that humans are good it is only that they are corrupted by the brutalities of this world (Rousseau & Cohen, 1953).

I believe in a state of nature, humans are generally good. They are noble savages who are in an evil world that attempts to corrupt their good morals. Jean Rousseau argues that we were born good and continually laid emphasis that this was natural. He argued that we are capable of sensation and from birth are affected in diverse ways by the objects around us. When we become aware of our sensations, we are inclined to either accept or shun the objects that produce these sensations. The decision is based on the idea of perfect happiness that we naturally have. He also argues that with time, we tend to believe more in our inclinations therefore forming a habit. He continues to argue that people act for the common good (Rousseau & Cohen, 1953). For example in policy-making or when making a constitution, those involved would put forward the views that cater for the needs of all those affected. Unfortunately, due to the pressures of this evil world, the good habits may be reversed. Rousseau believed that man could learn naturally, mostly drawing from the environment. Rousseau, analyses the various developmental stages of a child, and relates this to the education of a child. In each stage, he analyses the various social issues facing the child and explains how the instructor should teach the child to preserve his noble nature. In his book, “The Social Contract”, Rousseau says that, ‘Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. He emphasizes his claim that the society corrupts man.

It becomes even clearer that the original nature of man is good and that he was born free but everywhere he is in chains as one reads Mary Shelley Frankenstein’s narrative. In this narrative, innocent people are killed and others sentenced to death for crimes they did not commit. When William is killed by the monster, the monster hides the locket of Frankenstein’s mother in Justine’s pocket. This leads to her ex-communication. She agrees to having been guilty since she was afraid. The monster in search for revenge to its creator also kills Safie, Frankenstein’s girlfriend and later his wife Elizabeth.

In this story, the monster claims to be good and his perverse actions were due to his loneliness and constant rejection by humans. Frankenstein in his desire to end the monster’s wreak decides to create him a companion (Shelley, 1974). This shows his compassion towards his creation. Later, he terminates this idea on the basis that another monster would cause more damage to the people. Frankenstein is portrayed as compassionate and concerned by other people’s welfare. Though he made the monster, he did not intend for it to be destructive. When the monster becomes very destructive, he is forced to revenge and he dies trying to do that. Frankenstein can be seen as one who sorts revenge because of pressures around him.

In “Things Fall Apart”, (Achebe, 1996), Okonkwo, a respected man, dies a shameful death due to the circumstances surrounding him. In his desire to maintain the culture of his community, he rebels against the white men who had brought a new lifestyle. He is imprisoned and this greatly infringes on his pride. Okonkwo kills a white man who tries to imprison him. He kills himself to escape imprisonment and since he could not stand the change that, his community had undergone. Earlier, he had been forced to kill his son, Ekemefuna, due to tradition. He loved Ekemefuna and though he was adopted, he had come to love him as his own son. Though an elder had advised him not to participate in the killing, he had to show his patriotism. This clearly shows that man is in chains and often does things he would not want to do. He could not shield his beloved son and worse he had to be involved in his son’s murder.

I believe that man is generally good and his morals are corrupted by the pressures of this world. Issues such as abortion are not initially due to human wickedness. This issue has been spurred by circumstances like poverty. Though the mother wants the child, she is forced to abort since she is unable to take care of her. Some people have been forced to be robbers due to poverty too. These people were not initially bad. They had a sense of what is right and wrong but somewhere along the way, the pressures of this world corrupted their good ways as is evident with Okonkwo. If there were no constraints in this life and humans did not have to abide to some preset rules, then the true nature of man would come out as the pristine beings they truly are. In addition, if man would be let to make choices in the various sectors then they would surely make the best since they would first think of the consequences of their actions and make the most appropriate choice.

Education is vital in preserving the good minds of human. If at every stage, the teachers taught the student of what they expected to go through during their various faces in life, then the students would be set to continue doing well in those times instead of bowing to pressures of the world. For example in stage 5, Émile is introduced to his ideal partner, Sophie. He learns about love, and is ready to return to the society. Due to this preparation, he is able to shun any corrupting influences. In this stage, the tutor should instruct the young couple on their marital rights and duties. I therefore believe that the state of human nature is good otherwise; it would be very difficult to instruct them on the moral issues.

Works Cited

Chinua, Achebe. Things Fall Apart. Oxford, UK: Heinemann, 1996. Print.

Rousseau, Jean and Cohen John. The Confessions of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, London: Penguin, 1953. Print.

Shelley, Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein: or, The modern Prometheus. Washington, DC: Bobbs-Merrill, 1974. Print.


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