"the more profoundly a man thinks, the more tenderly he feels, the more highly he
rates himself, the greater the distance grows between him and the other animals- the
more he appears as the genius among the animals-the closer he will get to the true
nature of the world and to a knowledge of it: this he does in fact do through science."
Stages of Human Nature
Throughout history, human beings have encountered many changes that have altered the way society has viewed them. The cruel hands of history, which constantly hold the foundation of the mind and the spirit, have shaped human nature. Knowledge is the tool by which these hands create different views and mold new beliefs. Human nature is the product of history and is always at the mercy of the fruits of knowledge, such as new philosophies and scientific discoveries. These ideologies have redefined social institutions and changed their methods of dealing with the individual person through new understanding. History has the power to enhance the nature of human beings, and to destroy it. In some instances, the good of the individual is stressed, while at other times, the individual nature is lost in the shuffle of politics, governments, and the selfish interests of the strong. Although human nature has been dragged through the mud of the past, it still gains from history a sense of itself and its environment. Human nature has gone through several different stages in the course of history, and it has been defined and redefined through different social institutions and selfish individuals in power. Karl Jaspers in a discussion on the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche writes, Man is not static and unchanging: his existence is not simply repeated from one generation to another. He is what history makes him. History keeps him in constant movement.
For many people in the early 18th century, life was based on subsistence living. An individualís human nature was dictated by their bloodline and their social position was secured by birth. If a man was born a peasant, he stayed a peasant, and he died a peasant. This theory of blood can be summed up in one statement: "You are what you bleed." People viewed their environment within the confines of localism, which is limiting life to a locality, and described it as ìnasty, brutish, and shortî because of the subsistence lifestyle they led in an agrarian, nature-based society. An individualís inherent qualities, their ways of life, the very spirit of his nature, were completely encumbered to the process of survival. The individual did not exist to express their being or their mind. The difficulties of this life led to collectiveness among people of common blood. Human ingenuity, the desire to be free, and the ability to reason for themselves, instead of living by the divinely bestowed power of an absolute monarch, did not...