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Human nature

Human Nature


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tacomancer

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The $100 poll got me thinking about something. So here is a question.

Human nature:
Primarily seeks self maximizing activity or results
Primarily seeks fairness or themselves of society
Depends on one's beliefs and socialization
Rootabega
 
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Ikari

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If you want to get to the heart of the matter, at base humans are monkeys and will act like monkeys. Sure, we do have quite the advanced brain which could help us understand others and work for ways in which all benefit. But not many choose to employ that; many instead fall back on their poop flinging ability, figuratively speaking.
 

Black Dog

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If you want to get to the heart of the matter, at base humans are monkeys and will act like monkeys. Sure, we do have quite the advanced brain which could help us understand others and work for ways in which all benefit. But not many choose to employ that; many instead fall back on their poop flinging ability, figuratively speaking.
I don't think we are monkeys, lol. I can say other than that I agree 100%. You say monkeys, I say original sin.
 

tacomancer

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You say monkeys, I say original sin.
I have to agree with Blackdog, however I am taking up a post to say that because I also wanted to say that I love his avatar!

If you want to get to the heart of the matter, at base humans are monkeys and will act like monkeys. Sure, we do have quite the advanced brain which could help us understand others and work for ways in which all benefit. But not many choose to employ that; many instead fall back on their poop flinging ability, figuratively speaking.
So, you don't think we can ever be better than what we currently are?
 
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fredmertz

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We definately act out of self interest. Acting in the benefit of society, as some will do, they do because it will benefit them. They expect something equal or greater in return. no matter what. I challenge anyone to give me an example of anything otherwise. And this truly is not a bad thing, in my opinion. People can do bad things as a result of it, but the philosophy itself isn't a bad thing.
 

Ikari

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So, you don't think we can ever be better than what we currently are?
I think humanity has near unlimited potential. It's how we choose to use that potential that matters. I think we can always be better, become better. Now whether or not we can live up to that potential is up to us. I think on the whole humanity can progress well, if we don't kill ourselves off first.
 

rivrrat

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Well, I think the answer is technically "Primarily seeks self maximizing activity or results", but I voted for "Depends on one's beliefs and socialization". Why? Well I'm glad you asked, I'll tell you why.

Because we ALL do what's best for ourselves, but what we consider best for ourselves depends on one's beliefs and socialization. For me, I could never take something from someone when I know they need it more than I do. While that may seem altruistic, it is not. It's self-serving. Because *I* would feel guilt if I did otherwise. While taking something from someone "unfairly" may help me in one way, it will hurt me in another. Therefore, I'm going to do that which hurts me the least and benefits me the most: And that would be abide my conscience. However, different people have different motivations and feelings. Someone else might not feel the least bit guilty about treating someone "unfairly", in fact, they might not find it "unfair" at all since "fairness" in and of itself is subjective to the individual.

So, while *technically* I think every single person 'Primarily seeks self maximizing activity or results', it is because of 'Depends on one's beliefs and socialization' that the 'self maximizing activity' varies from person to person and may at times SEEM less selfish or "self maximizing", but it is not.
 
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tacomancer

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We definately act out of self interest. Acting in the benefit of society, as some will do, they do because it will benefit them. They expect something equal or greater in return. no matter what. I challenge anyone to give me an example of anything otherwise. And this truly is not a bad thing, in my opinion. People can do bad things as a result of it, but the philosophy itself isn't a bad thing.
I don't think it is that simple. Yes, we will seek reward, even if it is a good feeling (I feel proud to have been a volunteer coach even if I have no kids (not me, but an example)). However, to attritibute that good feeling to selfishness is the wrong way to look at it. Ultimately, it depends on the focus. The answer to the question is whether the person primarily seeks to get something out it (the good feeling is more important than the kids) or if they seek to do something positive and the good feeling is a result.

If it is the latter, than they are not acting selfishly. And yes, I know a guy who always volunteers even though he gets nothing out if beyond a good feeling. He doesn't care about the feeling, he just sees kids in need of a role model and chooses to act. Now ultimately, we are a bit pavlovian (not a real word, I know) in the sense that if coaching produced a bad feeling than he probably wouldn't do it, but again, I don't think that is out of selfishness, just out of our internal reward mechanism.
 
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Psychoclown

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I agree with Rivrrt. We all naturally seek to maximize our gains/rewards/ect. Differences come in how we prioritize, which comes down to beliefs and socialization. We often do things (or don't do things) because the alternative would not be worth the feelings of shame, guilt, ect. I can give a perfect example of two people who reach different conclusions based on self maximizing.

My wife and I want to go attend a festival a few weeks from now. It's on a Friday. I can easily get the day off, but for my wife its a little more difficult. At her company the maximum number of people in her department have already taken that day off as a vacation day. However, she has a personal day, which she is allowed to use. She can call in the morning in question, saying she is using her personal day, and all is good.

I say she should use it and go enjoy the festival for the whole day.

She says she doesn't want to use it because her department is already short staffed that day due to people using vacation days and she'll feel guilty about leaving them even more short handed.

Both of us are acting out of self maximization. I say it's her personal day and she should use it however and whenever she wants. Her fellow co-workers wouldn't worry about leaving the office short handed for a day if the roles were reversed and neither would I. But my wife is the type to feel guilty over that and it could easily lessen her enjoyment of the festival. She prioritizes not feeling guilty about leaving the office short handed over the enjoyment she would have at the festival. I wouldn't even feel guilty about it, since its allowable by the rules of her company and she earned the personal day and should use it when it is most convenient for her.
 

digsbe

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I think at the root of human nature is evil and selfishness. I agree with blackdog in that it's due to original sin.
 

Ikari

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I think at the root of human nature is evil and selfishness. I agree with blackdog in that it's due to original sin.
That or naturalistic self-preservation and reproduction.
 

tacomancer

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American

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The $100 poll got me thinking about something. So here is a question.

Human nature:
Primarily seeks self maximizing activity or results
Primarily seeks fairness or themselves of society
Depends on one's beliefs and socialization
Rootabega
The first and third choices are not mutually exclusive.
 

Goobieman

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Human nature dictates that we all act in what we think to be our own best interest.

That comes closest to option #1.
 

tacomancer

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The first and third choices are not mutually exclusive.
In some sense. What I was trying to get at was a 50/50 or some other split where 1 and 2 were absolutes.
 

Goshin

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Rootebega!! :mrgreen:


Okay, seriously...

I think human nature is complex. As a whole we are capable of unimaginable evil, incredible goodness, stupefying idiocy, remarkable selfishness, and awesome beauty. Individuals are usually capable, at least in potential, of all of these things as well.

I think in the heart of humanity is a constant tug of war between malevolence and beneficence. Most people stay somewhere near the middle. Some give in to the Dark Side, lol. Some live an exceptional life of remarkable benevolence toward others.

Regardless of what the geneticists say, I think it is largely a matter of choice.


Four decades of observing human nature have not left me overly optimistic about how most people choose, however. Most people will do good if it benefits them in some way, or if it isn't very costly to them in any way they value.

A man's true nature is how he acts when he thinks no one will know what he has done; or whether he stands up for what he claims are his core principles when the cost of doing so will be high.
 
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