Throughout centuries, scholars all over the world tried to probe the depth of human nature. There were long-lasting debates on the real essence of human nature and whether it is possible to alter and direct it. Amongst many controversial theories, human nature appears to be imprisoned in between a complex set of social codes and an everlasting, ingrained distress. Thus, human nature is governed by a vicious circle of social imperfectness and psychological fear, and no attempts of reformed education or refined moral conducts can change the core of human nature.
From ancient times, people attempted to pass laws, to regulate and structure their societies. Still, Utopia has never existed. Instead of human justice; injustice, poverty, brutality, and insecurity filled the law courts with human misery and sadness. The ancient and continuous hardship of fallacious societies made humans feel threatened and dissatisfied. The more regulations humans passed, the more chaotic their nature became. Since the start of civilization, people have acquired a certain fear of breaking the established orders. Thus, in light of social and economic hardship, humans were motivated for discipline only by the fear of punishment. In “The Republic”, Plato noted, “Those who practice justice do so involuntarily because they do not have the power to be unjust” (Plato 82). Therefore, if the humans are liberated from any social, codes they will act for their own interests regardless of their moral value. What prevents people from doing injustice is not their personal attributes, but “the fear of law” (Plato 82).
With the complication of social structures and ethics, moral codes have subdued human fears by repressing and moving them into the unconscious. So, fear has become a psychological human phobia. Fear of falling of the social and financial shaky ladder, fear of becoming vulnerable and an outcast, and fear of lose have dominated humans’ psyche. In “Leviathan”, Thomas Hobbes argued that there is no universal power to keep all humans in accordance with morality and ethics. Therefore, “[. . .], every man is at war with every man. This state of war is not only battle, or the act of fighting, but a period of time when there is a common willingness to fight” (Hobbes 134 ). In this regard, humans are damned to wallow in the vicious circle of their inner fears and social evolution.
Controversially, education, especially when moral, can control human conduct and regulate his/her nature. Horac Mann believes that the right form of early education can structure the person’s attitudes, “Train up a child in the way he should go; and, when he is old, he will no depart from it” (Mann 845). Nevertheless, education is just a part of an individual’s life, and cannot undo what the social codes impose from the very first months of humans’ life. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan explained the enormous impact of societal restrictions on the human being. Terry Eagelton highlighted Lacan’s theory of the irreconcilable, endless yearning for the forbidden. Eagelton stated that a 6-month- child starts to picture law and society on an unconscious level through the image of the father. Later on, this image begins to release that “a wider familial and social networks exists of which he [the child] is only part,” and the whole image is associated with fear and a taboo that the child will always yearn to break (Eagelton 146). Consequently, children, in an early age, are programmed with unconscious desires and fears linked to society, as a result, a later moral education cannot deprogram them and make them of a more stable nature. Thus, Hobbs theory is unsound and unproductive in light of such a complexity.
In conclusion, human nature is controlled by a chain of two ends; imperfect social structures and human fear. Acquired conservative morals conduct could be considered as a mere membrane of the human nature rather than a core. In addition, any efforts connected to moral education will prove to fail in changing the intricate nature of the human being.
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