On Human Nature

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Date of Publication: January 8, 2015

Year of Publication: 2015

Author(s): Eric R. Pianka

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“Human nature is seriously flawed. We must learn to control our deep-seated instincts. Without fundamental change in our behavior, we’re doomed, as are all other life forms on this, our one and only spaceship, planet Earth.” Eric R. Pianka, from the University of Texas, Austin considers human nature and how it has become a liability to our survival, particularly in the form of overpopulation.

ABSTRACT: Humans are pretty smart. Even having words like eternity, infinity, and hypervolume, all concepts totally alien to our limited existence in time and space, is a tribute to human intellect. We are the only product of natural selection that understands where we came from and how we got here. Balfour (1895) said of us that “matter knows itself”. These are truly remarkable feats and humans have much of which we can rightfully be proud. However, we also have our share of visible flaws and human failings. As Nietzsche pointed out, human nature is fundamentally flawed. Here I seek to try to explain why we are like we are using reason and common sense. I identify hard-wired human instincts and discuss how these once adaptive behaviors have now become liabilities to our survival.

Keywords: Instincts, Greed, Revenge, Tribal Loyalty, Music, Spirituality

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