In this article we move forward from our discussion of human evolution to explore the reality of our human natures.
In this article and the next three, we will discuss the idea that human nature is inherently good and cooperative, though this may have been forgotten.
Human nature is good because it springs forth from Nature itself, which is inherently good. Nature grows and evolves through cooperation, not competition.
We will discuss human growth and value fulfillment, impulses and free will, and then idealism and fanaticism. These topics will help us understand the underlying motivations of humanity, and what occurs when these motivations are out of balance.
“Physically speaking, humanity’s “purpose” is to help enrich the quality of existence in all of its dimensions.
Spiritually speaking, its “purpose” is to understand the qualities of love and creativity, to intellectually and psychically understand the sources of its being, and to lovingly create other dimensions of reality of which it is presently unaware.
That which is in harmony with the universe, with All That Is, has a natural inborn impetus that will dissolve all impediments. It is easier, therefore, for nature to flourish than not.”1
As Keith Critchlow writes, “We are nature, we are the ‘conscious’ living cells within our mother planet – to divorce ourselves from nature is to divorce ourselves from ourselves, in short a suicidal act.”
Or as Manly P Hall writes, “We are the gods of the atoms that make up ourselves but we are also the atoms of the gods that make up the universe.”
The Goodness of Human Nature within the Goodness of Nature
“Because you are natural creatures, within you there is a natural state of being. That state can be an ever-present reservoir of peace, vitality, and understanding.
You cannot place man’s good intent outside of the physical context, for outside of that context you do not have the creature that you know.
You cannot say that nature is good, but spawned man, which is a cancer upon it, for nature would have better sense.
You cannot say, either, that Nature will destroy man if he offends her, or that Nature has little use for its own species, but only wants to promote Life.
For Nature is within each member of each species; and without each member of each species Nature would be nonexistent.
You realize that a tiger, following its nature, is not evil.
Looking at your own species you are often less kindly, less compassionate, less understanding. It is easy to condemn your own kind.
It may be difficult for you to understand, but your species mean well.
You understand that the tiger exists in a certain environment, and reacts according to his nature. So does man.
Even his atrocities are committed in a distorted attempt to reach what he considers good goals.
He fails often to achieve the goals, or even to understand how his very methods prevent their attainment.
He is indeed as blessed as the animals, however, and his failures are the results of his lack of understanding.
It is imperative, for any peace of mind that you believe in that existence of man’s innate good intent.
It is shared by all of the other animals.
Each animal knows that under certain conditions the other may fight or posture aggressively, or defend its nest. Each animal knows that in time of hunger it might be hunted by another.
Except for those situations, however, the animals are not afraid of each other. They know that each other animal is of good intent.
Grant your own species the same.”2
The Distinction between Man and Man’s Works
“There are those who make careers of condemning the faults and failings of others, or of the species itself, and because of that attitude man’s great energy and good intent remain invisible.
Man is in the process of becoming. His works are flawed – but they are the flawed apprentice works of a genius artist in the making, whose failures are indeed momentous and grotesque only in the light of his sensed genius, which ever leads him and directs him onward.
When you are considering the future in your terms, constructive achievements are as realistic as destructive ones.
In those terms, each year of man’s existence in fact justifies a more optimistic rather than pessimistic view.
Make a distinction in your mind between man and man’s works.
Argue all you want against his works, as you read in your newspapers of errors, stupidities, treachery or war. Collect pages and reams of such material if it suits your fancy.
To identify man with his poorest works is to purposefully seek out the mars, the mistakes, of a fine artist, and then to condemn him.
To do this is to condemn yourselves personally.
If a scientist says consciousness is the result of chance, or Darwin’s theories say that basically man is a triumphant son of murderers, many people object.
If you say, however, that men are idiots, or that they are not worth the ground they walk upon, you are saying the same thing.
For you must be concerned with this reality as you know it; in those terms, to condemn man is to condemn the species as you know it, and the practical terms of your world.
When he is destructive, man does not seek to be destructive per se; but in a desire to achieve that which he thinks of as a particular goal that to him is good, he forgets to examine the goodness of his methods.
While man’s works may often certainly appear destructive, you must not blame man’s intent, nor must you ever make the error of confusing man with his works.
By concentrating too deeply upon the world of newspapers and the negative reports of man’s actions, it is truly easy to lose sight of what I tell you is each man’s and each woman’s basic good intent.
That intent may be confused, poorly executed, tangled amid conflicts of beliefs, strangled by the bloody hands of murders and wars – and yet no man or woman ever loses it.
That represents the hope of the species, and it has ever remained lit, like a bright light within each member of the species; and that good intent is handed down through the generations.
It is far more potent, that illumination, than any hates or national grudges that may also be passed along.”3
Primary Experience vs. Secondary Experience
Primary experience is that which exists immediately in sense terms in your moment of time – the contact of body with environment.
At the level we are concerned, the body must primarily react to present, immediate, primary existence in space and time.
Secondary experience is that information that comes to you through reading, television, discussion with others, letters, and so forth.
“The secondary experience is largely symbolic. This should be clear.
Reading about a war in the middle of a quiet sunny afternoon is not the same thing as being in the war, however vivid the description.
Reading about the energy shortage is not the same as sitting in a cold house.
If you are safely ensconced in a comfortable room in no present danger, your senses should accurately convey that information. Your conscious mind should assimilate it. It should be an easy enough accomplishment to look around you and see that you are in no danger.
Your conscious mind is meant to give your body an assessment of what I will call cultural conditions, for there are sophistications and specifications that in your terms consciousness alone can assess.” 4
Over-reliance upon Secondary Experience Can Lead to Powerlessness & Hopelessness
“Often you ignore your senses’ reality in the world – the luxurious vitality and comfort of the daily moment – by exaggerating the importance of secondary experience as defined for this discussion.
If under conditions naturally safe in the terms of primary experience, you become overwhelmed by unsafe signals from secondary experience – that is, from your reading or whatever – you show a lack of discrimination.
You are not able to differentiate between the physically safe present situation, and the imagined, which is perhaps unsafe, calling forth the alarms of danger.
The body mechanisms become highly disoriented.
The signals to the body are very contradictory, so that after a while, if such conditions continue, you can no longer tell whether you are in actual danger or imagined danger.
Your mind then forces your body to be in a state of constant alert – but more unfortunately, you train yourself to ignore your direct, sensual feedback in the present moment.
Your body then might say you are safe, and your senses show you that no danger is present – yet you have begun to rely so upon secondary experience that you do not trust your creature reactions.
Because of man’s great gift of imagination, the alarm signals not only invade a safe present moment, but go jangling into the next one and the one following, and are endlessly projected into the future.
To whatever extent, and in whatever fashion, each individual is therefore robbed of his or her belief in the personal ability to act meaningfully or with purpose in the present.
The body cannot act tomorrow, today. Its sense data must be clear.
This resulting feeling of powerlessness to act leads to a state of hopelessness of varying degrees – and that mood does not tie itself to specific details, but pervades emotional life if it is allowed to.
To whatever degree, the condemning, critical material too often becomes self-prophesying – for those who put merit on it allow it to cloud their reactions.
Therefore, I entreat you not to behave as if man will destroy himself in some future – not to behave as if man is an imbecile, doomed to extinction, a dimwitted, half-crazy animal with a brain gone amuck.”5
Over-reliance upon Secondary Experience Can Lead to Pessimism & Fear
“Your beliefs often tell you that life is hard, that living is difficult, that the universe is unsafe, and that you must use all of your resources— not to meet [life] with anything like joyful abandon, of course, but to protect yourself against its implied threats; threats that you have been taught to expect.
As a result you forget your natural selves, and become involved in a secondary, largely imaginary culture: beliefs that are projected negatively into the future, individually and en masse.
People respond with illnesses of one kind or another, or through exaggerated [behavior].
The most negative projection of prophecy seems to be the most practical one; when you are reading of the world’s ills, you say in all honesty, and with no humor: “How can I ignore the reality, the destructive reality, of the present?”
In the most practical, immediate, mundane terms, however, you and your world are in that moment naturally and physically safe, as your bodily senses immediately perceive.
In the most basic of bodily terms you are not reacting to present conditions.
While disasters, imagined or encountered second-handedly, may in fact later occur, they are far different from physically encountered ones. You only add to their unfortunate nature by negatively brooding upon what might happen in the future, and you destroy your own stance.
Your stance in time is highly important, for it is your practical base of operations.
To some people wars, poverty, murder, treachery, corruption – are primary experience and must be dealt with – as requiring immediate action.
You cannot react physically in the same way to projected or imagined dangers.
There seems to be no possible reaction. You are frustrated.
You are meant to deal with your immediate, primary experience, and in so doing you take care of your responsibility.
You are able to take action in your own experience, and therefore affect others.
You do not have to be ignorant of wars in other corners of the world, or close your eyes. But if you allow those experiences to overcloud your present, valid intersection with reality, then you speak and act from a position not your own, and deny the world whatever benefits your own present version of reality might allow you to give.
The natural creature-validity of your senses must remain clear, and only then can you take full advantage of those intuitions and visions that must come through your own private intersection with space and time.”6
Relying Upon Immediate Primary Sense Data
“Through cultivating the clear experience of your own consciousness and being with time and with the moment as you feel it, you can draw upon the greater vitality and power that is available.
To do this, rely upon your immediate sense data, not secondary experience as described.
That primary sense data, while pinpointed can open up to you the timelessness from which all time emerges, can bring you intuitive intimations, hinting at the true nature of the ever-present coming-to-be of the universe.
That kind of experience will let you glimpse the larger patterns of man’s creativity, and your part in it.
You have been taught to concentrate upon criticisms and faults in your society; and in your times it seems that everything will work out wrong – that left alone the world will rundown, the universe will die, man will destroy himself; and these beliefs so infiltrate your behavior that they organize much of your experience and rob you of the benefits nature itself everywhere provides in direct primary experience.”7
This article describes the inherent goodness of human nature and human evolution. It implores us not to confuse humanity’s works with humanity itself.
Most often people do wrong in the name of good. They are misunderstood and ignorant, but they are not evil or bad.
We must not concentrate on the wrong-doings of humanity to the exclusion of its goodness. We must learn to rely on our primary sense data and not project our fears into the future, but to deal with things as they come, learning to use our consciousness to form a present and future reality that is positive, in which justice, peace, abundance, unity and prosperity prevails.
We should try hard to not get caught up in pessimism and fault-finding, but work towards educating and enlightening others (with compassion) when we see them commit acts of wrong in the name of right.
In its largest sense, humanity means well. It doesn’t yet understand that its means must justify its ends. You cannot do ‘wrong’ in the name of ‘right’. You cannot commit murder in the name of peace (war), or commit torture in the name of health (cruel human and animal experimentation). The means must ALWAYS justify the ends. If not, you become what you hate and what you are trying to avoid or change. You become the criminal. You become the ‘bad’ guy if you do wrong in the name of right.
Good ends need good means. There are NO exceptions.
We will discuss this topic in greater detail in Article 211.
Go back to Articles 145-165 to better understand the human mind and emotions. Those topics tie in with these topics of human nature and together must be read in order to receive the full spectrum of information.
- Roberts, Jane, Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1986
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1979