Human Nature is Like Water


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.