Phi 111 Final 2

Human brain

Human brain (Photo credit: EUSKALANATO)

Philosophy 111 – Introduction to Philosophy (Fall 2002)

Final 2

[Students and professors, please read.]

2. Can human nature be changed? If so, in what directions would you like to see it changed?

Sartre would say that, yes, what he thinks the average person considers human nature can be changed, because he feels we are the ones who invent that nature.  I feel there are aspects of our nature that we cannot change, atleast not without changing our physical biology, because humans, like everything else in this natural universe, have a biological definition in nature, a ‘human nature’ that sets us apart from ‘tree nature’ or ‘rock nature’ for example.  But, unlike trees and rocks, we have a part in defining ourselves individually, as Sartre mentioned, because we can ignore certain biological processes which define our human nature.  We can resist the instinct to make more humans, we can starve ourselves to death, and with technology we can manipulate our natures genetically, etcetera–so we do have a human nature we are born with, and part of that in-born nature is that we can manipulate our natures.  Some manipulations are beneficial improvements (waiting until we are ready for the responsibility of children), and some are detrimental injuries (starving ourselves to death).

How I would like to see human nature changed–well, if you are referring to biological human nature, here are some examples that maybe genetic technology can fix:  acne, obesity, birth defects and biologically inherited diseases, mental illness caused by biological processes, increased intelligence capacity, increased empathic (emotion-wise in relation to others) capacity, biologically better able to respond well under stress (less impulsive reactions when feeling vulnerable), a higher pain threshold and a more advanced immune system that would dramatically prolong life (or even do away with death) and increase quality of life (health-wise), and the inability to procreate until mentally ready and willing to do so.  Also, throw in the ability to fly, breathe under water and live comfortably in outer space–and travel faster than the speed of light.  And don’t forget the ability to know everything, be everywhere at once, and not let it all go to our heads in a great big power trip (just kidding about all that).  Another thing I would change is to be able to experience what it is like to be something other than human–same ability to reason, different ‘body’.  I think I would like to try out being a monkey swinging through trees, a Cheetah going really fast, an eagle able to mate in free-fall, a dolphin able to fly out of the water, an alien long enough to understand everything about them (if they’re out there, and if there are a bunch of different species–pick the one that is the most like humans, at first)–and a man, to see if we are really all that different from eachother, men from women.  One last thing:  biological communication devices in everyone, so we all know what each and every person is experiencing with all five senses (hey–we have cell phones, satellite phones, hearing aids, pace-makers–it’s possible!) (talk about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes!).  For the most part, I have no problem with human nature, I think it is a-okay and I love being a human.

Now—if you are talking about Sartre’s opinion of human nature–I can only tell you how I would change it from my own perspective, with the idea in mind that I would be the example human.  I would have more control over my thoughts, I would have no addiction to caffeine, food, or nicotine (even though I quit), I would not feel awkward with people I don’t know (I would be able to make them feel like they are important in a way that does not make them feel awkward), I would be more self-motivating, I would be in perfect control of my monthly mood-swings, I would never say an unkind word to my husband, I would never get annoyed by the kids and would have infinite patience, and I would devote all my spare time to helping people in need–stuff like that.  Aren’t you glad you asked? LOL

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