My Theory of Human Nature Essay
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It is human nature to treat other people, animals, and yourself in different ways depending on how you feel, experiences you have had, and your upbringing in life. From the way that people act you can group people into different categories. These categories are based off people’s culture, economic situation, and values and faith. Throughout my life and especially this semester of college I have witnessed people treat other people, animals, and themselves considerately, inconsiderately, fair, unfair mean, kind, destructive, and prudent.
I am not sure what made these people treat these things in that way, but each person has their own reason on why they did it. In this essay I am going to talk about examples of how people treated animals, people, and themselves in different ways, different ways you can group people, and if people are born the way they are, or molded into the person they are through their upbringing. A very common thing in today’s society is inconsiderate people and a more rare thing are people that are considerate.
It used to be common manners to do simple things that made you be considerate, but as time has passed many people have become more inconsiderate.
During this semester I have witnessed many people act inconsiderately and considerately towards others and themselves. I see examples of inconsiderate people and considerate people everyday, whether I am walking to class, trying to sleep, or just sitting in my room. On example of this is the most common and easiest way to be inconsiderate. I see this when I am walking to class and someone goes into a door ahead of me and they do not hold the door open for me and instead just let it slam in my face.
Another example is when I was in Chicago my friend Josh Rainer was sitting in a seat on the train and an elderly lady got on the bus and instead of asking her if she wanted his seat he stayed seated and the elderly lady had to stand up. Along with the inconsiderate people in society there are considerate people. Simple tasks like my friend introducing their friends to me is an example of a considerate thing that I have witnessed this semester. Finally this week Dr. Monaco asked my class is we would rather have a take home final or an in class final.
A little considerate task like this changed the whole week for many of us students and took stress off of us. So even if you are having a bad day going out of your way to do something considerate for someone else could change your day and that person’s day for the best. Unfair people and fair people have been around forever and always will be. People are unfair for many different reason, whether it is because they feel like they need to have an advantage, or they dislike the person they are being unfair to, or many other reasons, but we see these types of people in our everyday lives.
Along with this people are fair because they feel like it is the right thing to do, they like the person, or for other reasons, but we also see these people in our everyday lives. During this year of football I saw coached treat players unfair everyday. Eddie Pope is a player on my football team and just because he was out of shape the coached would not let me participate in team sessions. He was only allowed to participate in individual sessions because they did not want him taking up time. Another example of people being unfair is seen in the work place.
At my moms work my mom, Debbie Graves, and one of her co-workers, David Brookfield, have the exact same job and credentials, but he gets paid more than she does and more opportunities than she does. This is seen all the time in the work place whether is because of sex or race. While we see many unfair things everyday we also see things that are fair. Everyday in my dorm room I witness people being fair. I see it when people take turns playing the Xbox and sharing food and drinks with each other.
Finally many people believe that life is not fair and they are always getting cheated, when in reality life is fair it is all about the effort you put into it. People know that they should be kind and that being mean can hurt people, but they still decide to act that way. In our lives we have been mean and kind and have also witnessed other people being mean and kind. During this semester this has been the easiest thing to notice. In the locker room during football I witnessed people being mean to each other everyday. Whether it was name-calling, fighting, or just taking things from each other.
An example of this is Quentin taking different freshmen’s game pants until he finds the pair that he thinks fits the best. Many players on the teams call my roommate, Dominic, names about because he is over weight. People do kind things everyday whether they want to make somebody’s day better or are just kind person. My parents send me cards in the mail for no reason, but to tell me they love me and hope I am having a good semester. Kate complements different people everyday just to put a smile on their face and make their day better.
Finally these are examples of people that I have witnessed being kind and mean throughout the semester. When people are self-destructive and prudent they usually harm themselves and can sometimes harm others. These are things that I have not witnessed as much as the others things that I have talked about. My roommate Zach is self-destructive by his money spending habits and studying habits. He is self-destructive in these ways because in the long run these will hurt him because he will become poor and could fail classes if he does not change them.
Examples of people being prudent that I have witnessed is my roommate Scott. He plans ahead and when shopping looks for discounts to save money. These things are acts of being prudent because he is looking out for the well being of him and these things will help him out in the long run. Finally people think that being self-destructive and prudent have to be things that will hurt you right then and there, but really they are things down the road that will help or hurt you. Philosophers question is every human is alike or not.
I believe that every human is not alike, but quite different. Humans act in different ways because of things that they have experienced, the way that they were brought up, how they feel, what they know, and may other reasons. Not all humans have experienced the same thing, were brought up the same way, feel the same way about things, have the same knowledge, or are the same in other ways. How can humans be all be alike of this is the case? Finally humans may have the same features or look the same, but their nature is not all alike.
Human nature is different from person to person, but it is similar enough between certain people that you are able to group humans in to different groups by how they act. I came up with three different groups that I can group people into. These groups are by culture, economic status, and values and faith. I chose these groups because these groups are distinct things that make their human nature different. I chose culture because where you grow up and how you grow up shape you into what you will be and how you will act.
People that all grew up under the same culture will have similar human characteristics in nature. Economic situation is the same way. People that grew up in a wealthy family are going to act the same and have the same tendencies, while people that grew up poor are going to have different tendencies because of how they grew up. An example of this is that wealthy people will take more things for granted and be more inconsiderate about what they get, while poor people are going to be more considerate about what they get.
I also picked values and faith as groups for humans because when you grow up your parents teach you their values and faith. If a kid grows up learning about God and learns to always be kind, fair considerate, and prudent they are going to act differently than someone that grew up in a family that did not teach about God and taught their kid that it did not matter if you were inconsiderate or considerate, unfair or fair, mean or kind, and self-destructive or prudent.
Some people believe that humans act the way they do because of their upbringing while other believe that humans act the way they do because of genetics, but I believe that humans act the way they do because of only their upbringing. Every human is born with different traits from their parents, but these traits are not what will make them who they are when they are adults. The things that their parents teach them, where they grow up, and how they grow up is going to be the final molding process for how they will act when they are adults.
The environment that they grow up in, the things that they experience when they are growing up, and the values that they learn are what is going to make them act the way they will when they are adults. Finally even though they are born with traits of their parents these traits are not what will make them act in different ways. The way they will act is learnt through their lives. Finally as the semester passed and I learnt more about ethics and philosophy I decided that Aristotle came closest to the truth as I saw it.
He agrees that humans are born with traits, but these traits are not what make us who we are as adults. “Virtue, then, being of two kinds, intellectual and moral, intellectual virtues in the main owes both its birth and its growth to teaching (for which reason it requires experience and time)”(Denise Nicholas Sheldon 28). This supports how we are born with some traits, but these traits are not we act how we do. It is the experience and time that make us the way we are. Aristotle also agrees how nature is what molds us into who we are as adults.
“Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit” (Denise Nicholas Sheldon 28). This also supports how nature is not what makes us who we are. It is the morals our family teaches us and nature is only what molds those teachings. Finally traits like intelligence is not what makes a human act the way he does when he grows up, but it is the things he learns that does. “For in speaking about a man’s character we do not say that he is wise or has understanding but that he is good tempered or temperate” (Denise Nicholas Sheldon 28).
In conclusion I believe that humans do not act the way they do because they are born with these traits, but they are molded from different experiences in their lives, the environment they grew up in, and the family values they are taught. Humans are not all alike, but they can be grouped together into three different categories, culture, economic situation, and values and religion. Work Cited Denise, Theodore Cullom, Nicholas P. White, and Sheldon Paul Peterfreund. Great Traditions in Ethics. Australia: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008. Print.