What is Human Nature?

*This post was originally written by me on the actualized.org forum*


What does it inherently mean to be human?


Is it to be selfish? To dominate and control? To lie and to steal? To defend your individual self from outside forces?


Because for a long time, that's the story we've been telling ourselves about ourselves. Humans are individual, selfish survival machines that need to be kept in check, so to speak.

You can see it in our theories about biology (survival of the fittest, selfish genes seeking replication) and in our economic theories (homo economicus, individual economic agents seeking maximum utility).


From those stories give birth to systems, such as capitalism. Capitalism says, "you are an independent economic agent in competition everyone around you. Even if you cooperate occasionally with other individual agents, that is only to enhance your own agenda".

This is how we see ourselves.


But what's interesting is that these stories and the systems born from them play a little trick. The trick is called "a loop".


Because as exist in this system, the story becomes reality. It reflects and reinforces the beliefs that we've been saying.


If you look out into the world, doesn't it really feel that way?


Like you really are a separate survival machine fighting against others?


It should because that's the world we've created.


But what if all that wasn't true?


What if all the greed and the fighting were just behaviors based on an illusion?


And what is the illusion? The illusion is the old story we've been telling ourselves. That separation is real, that scarcity is real.


But they're not real. We've only created an illusory experience of them.


And we can tell a different story now. In fact, it's only by telling a different story that we'll see a different world.


As we do that, we'll build systems that reflect that new collective belief. And those systems will then reflect and reinforce that belief.


So what do we believe about ourselves?


Who are we really?


Who do you really feel yourself to be in your heart of hearts?


Are you love or are you fear?


Because we're creating our own reality. What we say about ourselves will become true.


So what do we choose?


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