Human Nature is Like Water

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People are like water. At least, in one way critical to understanding why I would even bother creating this entire blog.

As a Christian, I believe that human nature is inherently bent toward sin. Many libertarians and liberty-minded people disagree with me. Well, frankly, I think most people disagree with me.

But whether or not you agree with that premise, I think I can win my case about water.

Water always takes the path of least resistance. It will not climb a hill when it could run down a ravine. It will readily spray from the faucet where a hose has been poorly connected while leaving the plants at the other end just as parched as before. But it is an obvious enough idea that it really doesn’t merit further examples.

Still, allow me to make the connection to human nature. With exceptions that are more rare than normal, most people, without a great enough commitment beyond their own desires, will pursue their needs and wants in the easiest way possible. This is not always necessarily bad. For example, it drives people to industry and efficiency. Why would I learn to write html code to design this blog when I could simply use the wonderfully simple tool of WordPress?

And yet, this pursuit of self-interest along the path that creates the least friction in that pursuit often is wrong, both subtly and not so subtly. The untrained human nature will tend to try to cheat on a test if there is no possibility it could be found out and it will guarantee them an A. But it is not always so obvious and most often is more about a balancing act between integrity—doing right—and lack thereof. Can I get a good grade in this class by only skimming the book? What is the minimum number of sales I must make to earn a bonus at work? Sometimes it’s not necessarily a moral or ethical question. Will I be willing to commit a larger portion of my salary for a longer period of time in order to get that bigger house now?

See where I am going with this? Now, before those who do not believe in an external or transcendent standard of morality that would inherently condemn my suggestions that there is a fundamental right and wrong, follow me to my more practical conclusion…in my next couple of posts.


 

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3 Responses to Human Nature is Like Water

  1. Valerie says:

    Interesting. I find that humans are not nearly as predictable as that, and actually, from a very young age, compassion is evident, something we are endowed with by our creator. This to me is evidence to the contrary, that we are naturally good, but I am curious to read your continuing explanation.

    • rfaramir says:

      While it is predictable that one will take the easiest path, what is unpredictable (usually) is exactly which path they will think is the easiest. Humans are very creative, plus each has a unique point of view (theirs), from which to discover their solution.

  2. L.C.Keagy says:

    I think the discussion from here is more theological, and that the Bible makes the inherent bent toward sin evident throughout. Still, I certainly do not discount the natural beauties and qualities that are endowed by our Creator, such as an inclination to love and compassion! Sadly, and perhaps in contrast to your viewpoint, I think that while God created good, it has been marred by sin, but not entirely discarded by any means! I don’t think arguing that human nature is inclined to the path of least resistance necessarily rejects the notion of these qualities. Compassion is a beautiful human quality. Thank you for your comment!

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