Human nature

lisa rogers at
Tue Apr 11 19:51:18 MDT 1995

I agree with Justin's remark below.  However, I don't recommend analogies
between living and non-living systems, they are fundamentally different.

The "nature" (I'd say behavior) of humans not only appears to be
different in different circumstances, but it actively tracks the
circumstances (it is "adaptive").  If the circumstances change, it may be
worthwhile (in one's individual evolutionary interests) to change behavior.

People (and other social mammals) are likely to be selfish whenever they
have something to gain by it.

Of course, one's social environment and needs are huge factors in this
algebra.  And competition is pervasive (not just for jobs or money).

Lisa Rogers

On Mon, 10 Apr 1995, Justin Schwartz wrote:
(.... )
> A logical point about human natures or any other kind. Just because
> something has a nature doesn't mean its characteristics are always
> manifested no matter whjat the circumstances. Water ia a liquid, but only
> between O and 100 C at sea level. People are selfish, but only in
> competitive societies or circumstances of shortage. Etc. I m,ention this
> because it's commonly forgotton, and forgetting it leads to a notion of
> human nature which is either reactionary or a target for post-modern
> attacks on "essentialism."
> --Justin Schwartz

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