Respect Human Nature

Article excerpt

What we need in South Africa is a leadership that acknowledges and understands the force that motivates people.

Respect for human nature is the cornerstone of a working democracy. Then politicians may get to understand why previously they so often had to endure the painful experience of seeing their initiatives wrecked by unforeseen consequences. And ordinary people will at last see that many of their desires, thoughts and actions actually need no justification nor deserve any guilt.

Starting in the last few decades of the 20th century, human nature has become a popular topic for scientific analysis and research. Because there are always new things to discover, there can be no ultimate certainties in science. But there is comfort in the knowledge that each move is a step closer to the truth.

Science is not a dogma or religion and does not rely on philosophy or faith. Its conclusions are dictated and supported by tested evidence collected over decades. Human nature is a universal framework, passed to us through our genes. On it we hang our learning and training. It is not malleable putty which societal, peer and parental pressure and education shape to produce an environmentally determined finished article. There is actually a genetic leash beyond which the powers of nurture are feeble indeed. …