Saturday, July 1, 2017

Is Human Character Natural?

In wars men are repeatedly asked to undertake acts of selfless courage that they will not themselves survive.  Men are expected to be responsible for the women who bear their children, for as long as they live.  Women in return are expected to be faithful to those men.  For economies to develop, men must be trusted to guard valuables that are not their own.  Again and again, for civilization to exist and advance, human creatures are required to do things that they would not do “naturally” as mammals.  Marriage is unnatural.  Building for the future is unnatural.  The practice of medicine is unnatural.  The deferment of immediate gratification for a greater reward is unnatural.  Literacy is unnatural, as is the passing on of lore and history from one generation to another.  The Beaver may be able to build a dam, but it has always been the same dam, and it will always be the same dam.  Only mankind can advance from making huts out of branches to building the Parthenon (and only mankind can fall back from the Parthenon to shacks and caves).

Peter Hitchens, The Rage Against God, pg.145-146

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