Social Science - Other

Can Humans Change the way they are

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"Can Humans Change the way they are"
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Change is something which makes most people anxious. It means behaving differently, doing things another way and altering routines to fit a new pattern. Does the question mean humans as a group or individual behavior?

There are a number of ways in which this question could be answered because this is a huge subject.

Most animals and plants evolve into niches which are not wanted by other living things. Humans have evolved into areas in the earth which are occupied by other species and because we are a powerful group have taken over their spaces. Our considerable success as a species means we have damaged the environment for ourselves as well as other species and made many extinct. It is only necessary to look at strip mining to see the changes we are effecting. We could change this by limiting our impact on the environment and controlling our growth of numbers. The will to do this is beginning to emerge but not enough people are convinced yet.

In day to day living, as individuals, we could alter the way we interact with others and use what science and psychology have shown us to be efficient and effective means of communication and cooperation. This would include being respectful of others, treating people well and raising children without abuse. This would eliminate the psychological problems which plague most of us in one form or another. However well meaning parents are and however hard they try, there is always something that goes amiss and the child has a hang up about something.

For change to come it means giving up beliefs we have been taught or acquired. In this case change would mean examining what our beliefs are because we cannot change our behavior if we do not understand what we believe. For example, do we believe in equal opportunity? At first glance yes, but what does equal opportunity actually mean in practice. It requires thought.

The intelligence and physical abilities we are born with are ideal for the type of life we lead. What we do with them are a personal choice at one level. At another, we have no choice because the society we live in dictates how we behave through our culture. Because human society is based on money, regardless of our abilities, if there is no money for education, good quality food or health care we cannot make full use of what we are.

Humans have the capacity to modify the way they are. But until there is a consensus of understanding of the best way forward for individuals in our species, all we can hope for is that individuals will continue to try to improve how they live and help others to do the same. A look at our cultural values is a starting point.

More about this author: Rosemary Redfern

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