Anthropology: A New Scope


Anthropology: A New Scope

Theories on Human Nature 

There are four theories on the reality of human nature:

1-Some intellectuals believe that they know man’s nature quite well, and consider man a meritorious being. This theory may be categorized into two sub-theories:

a)Some believe man to be the most well developed being found in nature, the absolutely perfect creation.

There are some points of criticism to this theory: firstly, we do not have enough knowledge of nature to claim man to be its perfect being. Second, we must not confuse man’s complex aspects and diverse talents with his being the most complete of all creatures. 

a)Some other intellectuals believe that although human beings are great, meritorious creatures, they cannot be entitled as the most perfect in nature, for apart from a meager few, mankind is drowning in its selfishness and desires for pleasure. 

2-Some intellectuals believe that man is cruel by nature. They see man as a selfish, inconsiderate being who thinks of nothing but his own benefit. As Nero once said, “If only all men had one neck, so I could kill them all with one single stroke!” Anastas, who taxed the air people breathed, is another example.

If we study the history of mankind, we will not come to accept this theory, for despite all of the animal-like conceited figures, there have also been men of great valor and glory.

3-Some believe that the fundamentals of human nature are still unknown to us, but we do know that man has shown on great many occasions his selfishness and desire for pleasure. Many human beings have considered themselves the end, and many others have assumed the role of being the means to the end. This theory suffers from two weaknesses: first, we cannot claim that we know nothing at all about the fundamentals of man's nature. We are aware of some aspects of man. Some physiological, psychological and social aspects of human nature have been identified. We cannot deny the endeavors anthropologists have made. Secondly, although history has seen selfish vultures of human beings, it has also witnessed men of the highest human values. 

4-Man is believed to have a great variety of potentials and talents, only some of which have been investigated or known. We can study the activation of man's potentials from two points of view:

a)Activating the human potentials related to man's compulsory life.

b)Man's attention and great eagerness for his own perfection. Some human beings have been successful in activating their potentials. These seekers of greatness and perfection have always saved human virtues from annihilation. According to this theory, man possesses both glorious, incredible virtues as well as evil and corruption.


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