One of the defining characteristics of our global society is it is full of people we vehemently disagree with, with whom we differ on core fundamental values and ways of seeing the world. No matter who you are, it seems, many if not most of the other humans on Earth are people you fundamentally do not understand. Never has this been more evident than in America in 2019. We can barely hear other people’s perspectives on how the world is and what’s important without decrying them as “un-American”, idiots, fools, or deplorable. Even those of the left most devoted to humanism and compassion can’t seem to hold back their bitter contempt for those who don’t share their values. It’s nearly impossible for us to conceive of how others come to the views of the world they hold.
While we often talk of an inescapable “human nature” that defines and binds us, on the contrary, it appears many of us are guided by fundamentally different natures, fundamentally different ways of seeing the world, fundamentally different conceptions of the “good.”
While this makes life incredibly difficult at times, it also is yet more evidence to humanity’s ongoing evolution and genius. After all, these natures have continuously emerged and evolved throughout history. Consider a drought. 10,000 years ago, most humans would likely have performed something similar to a rain dance to coax the spirits to open up the skies. 5,000 years ago most of us would take up as much water as we possibly could without mind to whether that deprives others or hurts our future prospects. 500 years ago most of us might have prayed to our God for repentance, as the drought surely meant He was angry with us. 50 years ago our core solution may have been to devise some technology that allows us to use water more efficiently. Today, the dominant approach may be to form pacts and management plans with all the others sharing a common water source in order to ensure the wider sustainability of the supply.
Our natures – the way we conceptualize problems and their solutions, the values that we aspire to align with, the very lens through which we view the world, the way we derive knowledge – have been constantly evolving over time.
— to be continued