Human nature is a concept that indicates human beings’ natural fundamental characteristics and qualities. It includes how one thinks, acts, and feels. The term describes the essence of humankind or what it means to be human. The concept is often controversial due to the independent theories and arguments.
The Dualism of Human Nature
Arguments about human nature date back to Greek philosophy and its influence. Aristotle’s teleology became dominant in medieval times. He claims that human nature exists somehow independently of individuals, causing humans to become what they become. Early modernists, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, have argued against Aristotle, saying that “we do not know what our nature permits us to be”. These arguments show us contrasting sides of the same thing, i.e., human nature. It is known as the dualism of human nature.
The Laws of Human Nature
Just as nature has its law, human nature also has its laws. One can say that the laws of nature and human nature are intertwined or co-dependable. Another can argue that they are entirely independent of each other.
As described by Robert Greene, some of the laws of human nature in his book “The laws of human nature” are the law of narcissism, role-playing, and compulsive behavior. Also, the law of defense, envy, boasting, gender rigidity, aimlessness, and death denial.
Fundamental human characteristics and qualities give the basis for the laws of human nature. Every coin has two sides; human nature does too. There are dual sides to every essential element and quality. The duality of human nature is a complex concept to define using simple terms. Some of the dualities based on the laws of human nature are.
Good and Bad
Good or bad actions are uncertain that they will not lead to something entirely good or something altogether wrong. So, why choose any one notion? And stick to it all your life. Perhaps, it’s not the good or bad decisions that define you. It’s how they make you feel.
Kindness and Cruelty
As you grow older, you will witness kindness and cruelty and how any person reacts to it. People often tend to confuse compassion with helping nature. It is not the actions that we do which define kindness and cruelty. It is the intent behind it. Even though it appears as if they were helping someone, they could be intentionally being cruel towards them and enjoying the fact that they did them a favour. The weight of words and the intention of the activities are the ones that can best define something.
Chaos and Peace
Chaos is related to messed-up actions in a person’s life. They can be confusing, never-ending thoughts and voices in a person’s head. If one has chaos in their head, they might not know the peace in their heart. When chaos ends, harmony begins. Or when peace becomes extinct, confusion begins. These are the common phrases we hear. The dualism of human nature is such that these vary from person to person, and chaos and peace can co-exist or can be co-dependent.
Emotional and Reserved
The dualism of human nature is such that two contrasting sides can find a connection in each other. Emotional and reserved is a primary example of this. Expressive people like to express their emotions freely. Reserved people want to express their feelings, but only in a private or a personal space where they feel comforted and safe. Being reserved is not to be confused with the state of emotionless. Choices and situations lead to people often fluctuating between these two characteristics.
Adaptable and Fixed
Adaptability and flexibility are terms we hear when companies are trying to recruit or interview. Are you adaptable? Are you flexible to work whenever we ask you? Organizations have a misconception that adaptable people tend to work better. It is not quite often true. Some people like routine. They want certain things not because they are uncomfortable with change but because they feel comfortable in a designated space. Adaptable people can be uncomfortable with change too. Still, they tend to get used to the discomfort quickly, and they don’t mind it. On the other hand, secure people like to work under certain circumstances, and conditions and have a dedicated plan for measurable growth. The adaptability and fixed nature of a person keep changing as they evolve.
Self-Acceptance and Denial
The most conflicting situation a human face for most of one’s lifetime is the acceptance and denial of self. Choosing the good over the bad and becoming the best version of yourself is the denial of self. Humans are the good and the bad that happens in their lives. Including the actions that happened to them, the actions that occurred because of them, and their actions. Only when we accept the good and the bad of all the deeds around us do we become entirely ourselves, which is called acceptance of the self. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one will continue on the same path or are a certain person. It is simply to become one’s true self.
Life and Death
The most complicated argument in the duality of human nature is that of life and death. When one’s life is sweet, one fears death. When one’s life is sour, one becomes fearless of the concept of death. One common aspect of life and death is that of uncertainty. What happens in life after you make a choice? What happens after you die? The suspense is undeniable and unavoidable. When you feel alive, you tend to value life. When you sense death, you tend to become fearless of life.
The characteristics and concepts discussed while making arguments and theories about the quality of life are integral aspects of a ‘whole’. We can’t have one side without the other. Understanding and accepting duality and letting things be instead of forcing control makes you centered. And that is when one becomes whole. Understanding the duality of human nature leads to becoming one’s true self.