Can humans be said to be naturally anything?


hermanntrude
#1
this is a hard concept for me to explain.

It arose from the thread asking whether humans are evolving toward monogamy. A member asked the question "from a zoological point of view, are humans monogamous". And I asked myself, whether perhaps the strength of human free will negates any "zoological" classification.

Perhaps we're not "naturally" anything, since we can choose not to be.

For instance, most mammals are either aquatic or not, whereas some humans choose to spend their lives swimming every day, and others don't.

However, there seem to be some "natural" qualities which we cannot over-ride with our "free will". For instance, most mammals have a hierarchical social order, if they are gregarious. Many human societies have set out to lose this hierarchy, but none to my knowledge have succeeded....

So what if the strength of human willpower is growing? what will we be able to will ourselves to do in the future?
 
Twila
#2
I think humans are quite natural. We may think we're using our intellect to decide actions but I do believe our choices are instinctual. Desmond Morris has some really interesting books that explain just how animalistic humans really are.
 
lone wolf
#3
...naturally inclined to believe the world should revolve around us?

Wolf
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#4
On Twila's point....IMHO
We are partly animal....there are millions of years of animal instincts firing away in all of us..I think law , in europe anyway, takes this in account when dealing with certain sex crime....they take the drive into account...ok shoot me.....


Our very evolution is said to have been triggered when an ape stood up to see who was out there that might want to have him for lunch....

Adrenal glands...fight or flight....comes from a time when we lived with beasts as our neighbors .....and in our so called civilised society is being triggered from completly different enviormental response....Case in point..."The Office Workplace".....


Natural born killers?...some would argue we are just that....Just like we learned to prune trees and develope agriculture and domesticate animals we try to civilise ourselves......It's the higher thought processes that induce this activity in the human ...

We are trying to get away from the dog eat dog aspect of nature....

the human mind is so much more complex than the animal brain....

It's develpoement i think is hindered by law of the jungle instincts imbedded in our being.
 
s_lone
#5
Very good question Hermanntrude!

If free will is real and not simply an illusion then I'd have to say that yes, humans have the power to creatively define themselves...

But that being said, we didn't appear in a vacuum... We can't dismiss our biological reality...

We all need love, that's for sure... But then, maybe some serial killers don't...
 
hermanntrude
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by s_lone View Post

But that being said, we didn't appear in a vacuum... We can't dismiss our biological reality...
.

That's exactly why the question is so interesting to me...

just exactly how far can this go? we all know that will-power, while strong in humans compared to say, a duck, is pretty feeble when it comes up against something like... chocolate... or nicotine....

Maybe it's getting stronger? perhaps one day humans will be able to decide to make their heart beat faster or slower... some can do that already. some people can perform some amazing feats. What kinds of life might be available to a species that has total control over their own behaviour?
 
Dreadful Nonsense
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrude View Post

That's exactly why the question is so interesting to me...

just exactly how far can this go? we all know that will-power, while strong in humans compared to say, a duck, is pretty feeble when it comes up against something like... chocolate... or nicotine....

Maybe it's getting stronger? perhaps one day humans will be able to decide to make their heart beat faster or slower... some can do that already. some people can perform some amazing feats. What kinds of life might be available to a species that has total control over their own behaviour?

you see this is where i was trying to go.....

We have like this body and chemistry that evolved from the animal kingdom...
Then there is this mind that evolved from a higher aspect..Or is an aspect of existance that finds itself useing the human brain as a vehicle to what you are pointing to Hermann....
 
Twila
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

...naturally inclined to believe the world should revolve around us?

Wolf

We're pro's at that...
 
karrie
#9
is human will getting stronger... hmmm. As obesity rises, divorce hits an all time high, and Paris Hilton dominates the airwaves to appease the general public's drama addiction, I find it hard to say we are strengthening our will in any way. But then again, perhaps we're just not smart enough to see that this is the path we truly want to take.
 
Twila
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

is human will getting stronger... hmmm. As obesity rises, divorce hits an all time high, and Paris Hilton dominates the airwaves to appease the general public's drama addiction, I find it hard to say we are strengthening our will in any way. But then again, perhaps we're just not smart enough to see that this is the path we truly want to take.

Will power is definately NOT getting stronger. We, as a species, are getting weaker and weaker. We know what we need to do, but aren't willing to do it.

They say the path of least resistance is quite crowded.
 
hermanntrude
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by karrie View Post

is human will getting stronger... hmmm. As obesity rises, divorce hits an all time high, and Paris Hilton dominates the airwaves to appease the general public's drama addiction, I find it hard to say we are strengthening our will in any way. But then again, perhaps we're just not smart enough to see that this is the path we truly want to take.

or perhaps those of us with stronger wills are setting examples to those of us with little or none, up to which they cannot live... perhaps some of us are finding ourselves in situations where our willpower isn't what we thought it was. But maybe it was only that will that put us in that position in the first place
 
hermanntrude
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by Twila View Post

Will power is definately NOT getting stronger. We, as a species, are getting weaker and weaker. We know what we need to do, but aren't willing to do it.

They say the path of least resistance is quite crowded.

the path of least resistance has ALWAYS been crowded. In fact at some time in the past, almost no members of our species were even aware that there were any OTHER paths.
 
Twila
#13
Quote:

or perhaps those of us with stronger wills are setting examples to those of us with little or none, up to which they cannot live...

Are we only speaking of will power? Would intelligents be part of will power? Because for the most part we run with our emotions not with our intellect.
 
hermanntrude
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Twila View Post

Are we only speaking of will power? Would intelligents be part of will power? Because for the most part we run with our emotions not with our intellect.

You're completely correct, Twila, don't get me wrong, but my point is that a very short time ago in evolutionary terms [creationists, please sod off RIGHT NOW] we didn't have anything BUT our base emotions and simple urges. NOW we have a choice. Admittedly we usually don't even realise we have a choice.... but perhaps in another million years humans will be deciding all sorts of things we didn't even think we COULD decide...

Imagine a chimpanzee suddenly realizing it didn't have to fight that other alpha male at all, but could start a swingers club instead.
 
Curiosity
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by hermanntrude View Post

You're completely correct, Twila, don't get me wrong, but my point is that a very short time ago in evolutionary terms [creationists, please sod off RIGHT NOW] we didn't have anything BUT our base emotions and simple urges. NOW we have a choice. Admittedly we usually don't even realise we have a choice.... but perhaps in another million years humans will be deciding all sorts of things we didn't even think we COULD decide...

Imagine a chimpanzee suddenly realizing it didn't have to fight that other alpha male at all, but could start a swingers club instead.

Hermann

I don't see that we have evolved up from the original base emotions and simple urges - we now have clinical names for them and explanations for why we give in to them.

They still exist and are acted upon by the majority of humans in our world.

We don't really have a choice at all - we only believe we do because we have been told there are other ways - but how many choose the higher path? The unselfish, uncomfortable path to ultimate control of self?

Very few.
 
Tonington
#16
It's only recent in our time on the earth that we have even had some notion of our own power to shape our future. Let's say up until 10,000 years ago when our daily lives revolved around capturing and gathering food, staying alive was the goal. That's very natural. In the more recent last 10,000 years, we have been able to settle down in one area, to control biological processes around us, essentially changing the ecology of our surroundings to suit our needs. More localized communities gave rise to writing, language, science, and history ultimately. I don't think the term natural applies to us anymore, as we do things in a very different manner in relation to the rest of life on this planet.

I guess to me we can look at life and the history of our planet, and follow the natural progression of things. Now, we have the power to change that progression. We can wipe out species, we can create hybrids, we can perform things which are very much not part of that natural progression.
 
hermanntrude
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post

Hermann

I don't see that we have evolved up from the original base emotions and simple urges - we now have clinical names for them and explanations for why we give in to them.

They still exist and are acted upon by the majority of humans in our world.

We don't really have a choice at all - we only believe we do because we have been told there are other ways - but how many choose the higher path? The unselfish, uncomfortable path to ultimate control of self?

Very few.

that's my point. If a mollusc has an urge to squirt water, there's NO choice at all as to whether it'll do it. If a human has an urge to spit, he might decide not to.

Majority is correct, but not totality. That's my point. Free will is weak, but perhaps it's growing?
 
karrie
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post

- but how many choose the higher path? The unselfish, uncomfortable path to ultimate control of self?

Very few.

And those who do choose such a path, often excuse themselves from the breeding process.
 
Curiosity
#19
Hermann I hope so.

I know this sounds mentally deranged, but I keep hope another leader will emerge - not religously inclined but to teach us how to use the gifts and tools we have been given in order to evolve...

I feel like we are cave people trying to chew on an IPOD for dinner.
 
Niflmir
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post

Hermann I hope so.

I know this sounds mentally deranged, but I keep hope another leader will emerge - not religously inclined but to teach us how to use the gifts and tools we have been given in order to evolve...

I feel like we are cave people trying to chew on an IPOD for dinner.

We have all the tools we need in order to control evolution. We have for some time, but people don't like the idea of "playing god." If controlling out own evolution is the only way to completely stop cancer, most people would still say no to eugenics and genetic engineering.
 
hermanntrude
#21
funny how perspective changes things so much

I personally don't give a crap about anyone playing god, especially if they could grow me a nice new pancreas that would allow me to see my grandchildren
 
Twila
#22
Quote:

We have all the tools we need in order to control evolution. We have for some time, but people don't like the idea of "playing god. If controlling out own evolution is the only way to completely stop cancer, most people would still say no to eugenics and genetic engineering."

Isn't it funny/weird to be the only creature on the planet that will breed with the weak and keep/save the weak offspring?
 
karrie
#23
weak is a matter of perspective though. So many of our scientific breakthroughs, engineering marvels... so much of what propels us forward as a species... has come from the 'weak'. Breeding with the healthiest specimens, the alpha males, may make for physically capable offspring, but it doesn't necessarily propel the species forward.

one added note.... we clearly have a biological imperative towards saving the weak members, even mating with seemingly weak suitors... that would make it part of our evolutionary make up.
 
Twila
#24
True, but in weak I did mean intellectually strong as well as physically strong. Two stupid people breeding WILL breed stupid kids...But maybe being a warring species we need canon fodder too
 

Similar Threads

0
What can humans do?
by china | Mar 13th, 2009
24
18
Seriously...what is wrong with humans?
by thomaska | Sep 13th, 2007