Okay so today I am talking about human nature.
No, not the Australian boy band.
No, not the song by Michael Jackson.
I am talking about human nature. Our innate nature as human beings. Who we are automatically, as opposed to who we try to be.
I have been thinking on this topic for many years and have consistently come to the same conclusion. When we discuss particular people in our society who have done bad things we tend to make the assumption that THEY have deviated from the norm. The norm is goodness. As I was watching a 4 Corners report today regarding a child trafficking sex ring for 11-14 year old girls in the UK, run by Pakistani men, I was once again confronted with my feelings about what is our human nature.
Here are my thoughts:
It is actually our human nature to do wrong and terrible things. I am talking about bad language, jealousy or wishing bad on someone, impatience and frustration at one end of the scale and then higher offences at the other end, such as murder, sexual crimes, genocide etc (please, this is a very basic outline).
If this wasn’t our natural predisposition, why have religion? All religion is based on the premise that we should strive to be better people, more disciplined, more thoughtful, more directed. Religion aims to assist us to find that oneness within ourselves either with the assistance of a higher power (Christianity/Islam/Judaism) or within our current bodies, drowned by eons of negative actions (Buddhism). All those high up in whatever religious circle they are a part of separate themselves from regular society. Why is this so? Daily society drags one away from religious purposes.
I think that if we admit to ourselves that human nature is not goodness but badness, we can then confront it far more honestly.
I explained my thoughts to my husband like this…. currently it is assumed that bad behaviour is a deviation from ‘the norm’. How would society change if it be turned around and we hold the perception that good behaviour is a deviation. Society would suddenly have to nominalise those who commit horrendous crimes, like those Pakistani men in Britain, and they would not be given as much focus.
I am currently doing a Masters of Public Health and am trying to finish off my final assessment for the semester (in between getting terribly distracted by my blog) and I am looking at the media’s role in the cyclical negative perceptions of Indigenous Health within Australian society. I can’t help but think that if we shifted our thinking on human nature it would dramatically change how Indigenous health would be presented. Instead of focussing on the negatives (which are the perceived deviations from the societal norms) the media would be forced to sensationalize stories of positivity and conclusive outcomes. We would still be asking ‘How can this happen in our society?’ but the focus would be turned around and we’d be playing side ‘B’ of the record. The side that is so obviously there but quantifiably overshadowed and masked by side ‘A’.
If I acknowledge that when my thoughts turn to being jealous of a dear, dear friend who is once again pregnant whilst I still am not comes from human nature and that human nature is tipped towards the negative then, instead of beating myself up internally for unnecessarily overreacting and becoming quite confused with my internal dialogue, I instead would be encouraged to acknowledge that what I am feeling is a part of my natural self and that I should change it for the better.
There is so much negativity and badness in the world. SO MUCH. I really believe that instead of becoming overwhelmed with the magnanimity of it all, if we did accept our negative selves as our real human nature then these problems would really shift in focus and we may be surprised at what the outcomes are.
I wish there was a Tipping Point for this. 🙂
I hope I have explained it well enough. It’s a huge topic and I am interested to know to what people think.