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What is human nature?

In our day-to-day lives we look to others for help and others look to you for influence. Every person, however big or small, has the ability to create a huge impact on another human’s life. Are we fully aware of the power that we have: to teach and to aid?

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Human nature is to feel, to think and to act- everything we do as a race has repercussions however big or small they may be. I, as a writer, choose to inform people about what I think is interesting and important. As someone living abroad I choose to tell stories to my friends at home, to entertain them and make them (hopefully) a little bit envious of my life. Those in positions of greater authority have the possibility to terrify or encourage others, the ability to create difference where it matters more than anything else. Is it human nature to help and inspire others? This month at That’s it we’re celebrating humanity and everything we, as humans, have to offer. The aim: to inspire.

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Elon Musk just announced a variation on his Mars rocket technology,

‘Humanity’, in and of itself means to possess compassion and goodness. This would suggest an inherent goodness in people. The world relies on people, we rely on each other to function as a human race. Perhaps on a day to day basis it is fair to say that we may be a little selfish as individuals, however on a large scale, I think you can say that most people would come to the aid of others if it was needed. People feed of each others happiness and helpfulness and whenever a good deed is done it creates a butterfly effect. That’s to say that is has positive repercussions on other people. Imagine a very mundane task: doing the shopping. If you’re greeted with a smile, maybe someone offers to help you with your stuff, and someone lets you go in front of them in the queue, you’re so much more likely to feel great for the rest of the day. And, if you’re in a good mood then you’re more likely to do make someone else’s day.

Sadly, given the inquisitive nature of us as humans there are multiple examples of us not always reaching our full potential as a philanthropic race. You may remember the video that went viral on social media showing a homeless girl looking lost and scared on the middle of a busy street, completely ignored. This was then contrasted with a girl all dolled up- in a cute dress, done up hair and ultimately it looked like she came from a wealthy family. The response she got was much more immediate which makes it seem that people are more willing to help if they see social status rather than human need.

Of course, this sort of stuff should be taken with a pinch of salt as we have to consider that this was the goal of video and, perhaps it was manipulated and the ‘homeless’ girl was actually approached. But we, as the audience, were made to believe that she was completely ignored and only the wealthy ‘civilised’ girl was helped. When the producers of the video were asked about the girl, they said that it was a traumatic experience for her, to be ignored in the middle of a busy street… and she was simply acting. 

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Maybe this does shine a negative light on us… There have been multiple social experiments which showed similar ugly behaviour: civilian ‘prison wardens’ abusing their power, actors sitting on the side of the road in need of help- again ignored. Yet, we hope that if we were in a vulnerable position someone would help us… so why don’t the majority of us do anything?

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Of course we can’t blanket shame the human race, there are so many people who do embody ‘humanity’. Given the vulnerable position of our planet there are many who are looking to make it a better and safer place. Medicine is making crazy advances, renewable energy is clearly the better fuel source with most countries placing heavy investment in this industry and philanthropic work/investment is on the rise. For example, if we look at stem-cell research in medicine it’s being used to help neurodegenerative diseases and help counter paralysis and this is just one small section of the health-care industry.

 

Big companies are also taking care of our planet, pledging to be run 100% on renewable energy: Burberry is aiming for this by 2020, the Carlsberg group wants all factories to do so by 2022 and has taken it one step further by wanting to be carbon-neutral by 2030. 

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By taking small examples from varying industries maybe we can say that human nature is good and always looking to help others, is it just that some of us have lost sight? Human nature, humanity, being human should mean working as a collective to be the best that we can, to help others and ensure that everyone lives their best life… it’s 2017, why isn’t this thought seen universally?

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Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean doesn’t not become dirty.

--Gandhi 

Words l  Aishia Ratcliffe

Photos l  Online