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HUMANS ARE NATURALLY GOOD*

Notes on environment, motion, and body.

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The Montréal Review, July 2012

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Under "environment" here I mean the external matter that influences, or can influence, or is influenced by the body. The physical environment is sometimes called Nature. The social environment is sometimes referred as Culture. Under "motion", I mean the action that the environment initiates on bodies or the action that was initiated on the environment by the bodies. Under "body", I understand the entity that exists as individuality or as a particular unity, in this and in the following essays human beings are understood as "moral bodies" that combine the qualities of physical and spiritual world.

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In De Caelo ("On the Heavens") Aristotle explains the source for motion as threefold: 1) the source of motion is in the body itself, it is in its "nature"; 2) it is an external mover that energizes or awakes the moving nature of the body; 3) or it is an external force that constrains the natural move of the body or move it in an unnatural way.

If we think the human as a moral body that has in itself a moving nature, so the outer world, or the environment, will be for humans cause of either natural or unnatural movement. So if we think that humans are naturally good, the external force can make them more or less good. Under "good" here I understand "self-preserving" creatures that are entitled to make moral and rational choices. I have no reason to doubt that human nature is self-preserving, which means that human beings are programmed to care for their life and for the life of their children and fellows. "Self-preservation" is an action or at least potentiality that exists in most of us by birth. To us as self-preserving creatures the environment has double nature-it supports us giving us the basic necessities for life like food, air, natural reflexes, etc. and in the same time it endangers us with the elements in Nature that can harm us. Therefore, what is environment for us if not a major cause for preservation and destruction.

The first thing that I find important in these conclusions is that we live in an optimistic world. We are born, stay alive and die in large degree because of the environment, and we are generally good, self-destruction is not in our nature. As a species, we want to overcome all destructive elements of the environment, and perhaps we will succeed to do so [this will be explained later with the idea of harmony in the unity between Nature and Humans]. We master the physical environment. This is a process we call scientific progress, and we strive to learn to live together, which is a process that we call society or gradual cooperation. The environment has destructive for humans elements not because it is corrupted, rather because its complexity is asymmetrically higher than ours-we as individuals and as a particular group of physical species are less complex than creation. We are part of a physical and social chain of causations and powers.

It should be noted that the environment can be divided in physical and social. Physical environment is what we call Nature and Matter. Social environment is what we call Society or Culture. Human beings are not absolutely good because of the fear for preservation that can be caused by external factors such as scarcity of food, for example. The harsh environment can lead us to commit actions of fear, egoism and agression that harm both our fellow individuals and the environment or it can lead us to will for cooperation. Indeed, the extreme natural environment usually encourages cooperation and goodness. The distorted or perverse culture of the social environment is the one that more likely can cause individuals or societies to move/behave in an unnatural bad way. Perverse culture is especially damaging and often leads to gradual destruction of society and its members. Bad actions can also be caused by mental illnesses and other Natural causes. The prevalence of destructive traits and actions in a person or society can be also understood also as ignorance/lack of knowledge.

Taking decisions for their life people should be aware that physical and social environments are very important things. We have to keep in mind that we are not stronger than our environment and our existence depends in great extend on outer factors. For a successful and productive life, we should do the following-to search and find the best environment for our survival and development and to complement good society and nature with our actions. If we can't find good environment or if we face challenges, we, as moral beings [which is as people who are entitled to make choice], should always follow our optimistic, good nature even if this requires self-sacrifice. Since the physical and social environment is never absolutely accommodating (because of its higher complexity), as a part of the universe, we should bear in mind that we are adequate and ourselves only if we strive to be good. We should work for peace, knowledge, and harmony, instead of causing chaos and destruction, led by fears and bad habits. We must not regard ourselves as something bigger than universe, nor the opposite-as something insignificant or bad by nature.

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*This text is part of a manuscript in progress entitled "Unity".

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Read More:

UNITY AS EFFECT AND MEASURE OF POWER

"The power is the ability to attract. The absolute power is the ability to control..."

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