One of the most stubborn and frequently reoccurring truisms to emerge when people of all ideologies and levels of intelligence discuss what might make the world a better place is that old chestnut “human nature.” Human Nature, that coiled, double-helix curse of imperfection, that ever-present Murphy's Law, that permanent spanner in the works, ruining everything, crushing dreamers, thwarting progress, draining hope. Things can only get worse, because we're human. Human nature gets in the way, and there's nothing we can do about it. We are [fill-in-cynical-list-of-negative-attributes here], always have been, and always will be. Get over it already, wake up and smell the coffee. You idiot.
I am an idiot, I freely admit it. I believe no one knows what human nature really is, in direct opposition to the constant gene-this and gene-that discoveries trumpeted at us almost daily, left, right and centre. There's nothing more idiotic than disagreeing with common knowledge, right? Everybody just knows human nature is what it is, right? I mean, duh. We're all made of genes, they control us, make us do the things we do, and that's that. Case closed.
But please contemplate the following: There is a God and she/he/it causes, on a whim and to see what happens, the behaviour of the planet to change from one second to the next. Suddenly, every act of aggression or violence, every theft, every lie, is returned to the perpetrator or to someone the perpetrator loves, immediately. You shoot someone, a stone shoots out from the soil and shoots you. You punch someone, something from the environment punches you. You torture someone, a member of your family suffers exactly the same fate. You start a war, the people you command suffer exactly the same fate as the people you attack, one for one, and you die too. Not one human gene would be changed, but within days this environmental change would cause us to change our behaviours radically. It would put an end to all war and crime within weeks. We would quickly learn a new way of treating one another under that environmental pressure. Things would get better, for everyone, everywhere.
Please consider this too: A baby taken at birth and placed in a magic box, completely dark, but able to keep the baby physically alive and clean. Keep the baby in the box for 10 years. Then take it out. Would it be greedy? Ambitious? Violent? Would it be able to walk? Crawl? Speak? See? Ever? It could be absolutely perfect genetically speaking, the child of Albert Schweitzer and Marie Curie, or any two people you want to choose, and yet without any environmental input whatsoever the ten year old child would be nothing but a useless, barely-alive collection of flesh, blood and bones.
So, how should we change our environment so as to get the best out of us? I think abundance is the answer, and I've said so before. What do you think?
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