Monday, March 21, 2016
What is human nature and how are we to behave?
The old Greeks seem to have taken it for granted that if they defined “education” as bringing human nature out of us, the next stage would tell us how to behave. But as time went on these things split apart and science centered on who we are without telling us how to behave, and religion centered mainly on telling us how to behave. Now religious ideas on how to behave have been largely rejected and science has offered only amoral empiricism which few pay attention to. So hedonism and nihilism have become common in the modern world.
I think both religion and science are required to answer the question: what is human nature and how are we to behave? If we are to define education as bringing human nature out of us, then education has to feature the evolutionary science of sociobiology, which tells us that human nature remains mainly as it has been since it was formed in hunter/gatherer times---even the smallest change in human nature and our DNA structure, for example, in our immune system, takes hundreds of thousands of years--- we remain kin-centered, ethnocentric, gender-defined, and so on, with group-selection as the primary unit of successful selection. Sounds like traditional conservatism doesn't it?
Well, almost. Religion does not always line up well with this definition of human nature. Altruism, devotion to the interest of others, was evolved to be successful with distinct local groups competing with other groups, and was not evolved to be a universal devotion to everyone. This fact of human nature leads instinctively and logically to ethnopluralism more than to a universal political love.
In a crowded world of distinctively different groups preferring their own people, who pay little attention to religion or science, ethnopluralism is the old/new educated way to define human nature and to tell us how to behave. Future religion and science can point toward our material evolution to supermaterial Godhood, which was first glimpsed inwardly in traditional religion.