PREVIOUS : BOOKENDING (Part 3) Review
SITE : √ “Human Nature” (Psychology Wiki)
√ “What Are We? Three Views on Human Nature” (2016) from the Reformed Faith & Practice newsletter
√ 6 Characteristics of Human Nature
These Characteristics are based on a study of human action – what people do, say or intend : Ambition, Greed, Ignorance, Laziness, Self Interest, Vanity.
DEF: Human nature includes the core characteristics (feelings, psychology, behaviors) shared by everyone.
We have different experiences of the people in our life, & we tend to label them – ‘good , bad, predators, capable of great kindness’…… These opinions are colored by our personal experiences with our family, our culture & nationality. The group we’re born into passes on its particular ideas about what makes humans ‘human.’
Robert Greene’s 18 “LAWS” : Book Summary
REVIEW : “Human nature (how we act instinctively) comes from the way our brains are wired. Through his study of psychology, philosophy & literature, Robert Greene extracted 18 laws of human nature to explain why we behave the way we do.
They may help us become a better judge of character, manage our own thought patterns, & empathize with others, interacting with them more effectively.”
For full details, get a copy of the book , or the full summary bundle for an overview of the various ideas & tips.
👁 Each law is detailed with at least 1 long story (re. historical figures like Milton Erickson, Anton Chekhov, Richard Nixon, Mary Shelley, Martin Luther King Jr., Queen Elizabeth I….), with Greene’s interpretation, additional insights on human nature, & strategies to manage them.
NOTE: You may or may not agree with his choices. They’re not based on the Bible’s compilation, but some may overlap.
The Christian understanding of human nature includes many positive traits, but is most commonly expressed in the form of ‘character defects’ (AA 12-Step language), as the 7 deadly sins :
Anger, Avarice, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Pride, Sloth.
Interestingly, the Enneagram has the same basic list, called ‘Vices’ plus 2 –> Personality TYPE 1= Anger / 2= Pride / 3= Vanity / 4= Jealousy / 5= Greed / 6= Doubt / 7= Gluttony / 8= Lust / 9=Sloth.
The LAWS of HUMAN NATURE
1. Law OF IRRATIONALITY: Master Your Emotional Self
Humans think we’re rational & in control of our lives, when in reality we’re driven by intense emotions – seeking pleasure, avoiding pain & doing things to soothe our wounded ego.
Emotions & conscious thought are located on opposite sides of the brain – & we feel emotions first before consciously interpret them (often wrongly).
EXP: When feeling hurt – It’s easier to think you’re angry with someone because they’re a jerk, than to admit you’re insecure or jealous of them.
We are indeed emotional creatures, yet often blind to what motivates us. ★ Becoming aware of our own irrationality, we can learn to understand & manage them with introspection & reflection.
Becoming More Rational
a. Recognize biases (“low-grade”) that distort perception & responses. These include the biases :
⚛︎ appearance (assume you can read people but are misled by ‘looks’)
⚛︎ blaming (avoid your own failures, accusing others)
⚛︎ confirmation (think you’re being logical when finding ‘evidence’ to confirm your own opinions)
⚛︎ conviction (defend your views with ‘assurance’ to drown out your doubts)
⚛︎ group (think your ideas are original when just following the herd)
⚛︎ superiority (think you’re better & more rational than others)
b. Beware of inflaming factors (“high-grade”) which trigger certain feelings & intensify them. Step back & consider the underlying sources. These may come from :
✤ childhood memories that trigger strong positive or negative feelings
✤ extreme stress which makes you to get defensive (reactive)
✤ individuals who provoke strong feelings in you or others
✤ infectious emotions picked up from groups you’re in
✤ sudden gains/losses that bring extreme optimism or pessimism
c. Develop your rational self:
☀︎ accept irrationality in people as a fact of life (vs taking things personally)
☀︎ consciously channel your emotional energy instead of being driven by them
☀︎ examine the roots of your feelings & record your observations
☀︎ observe yourself in times of stress
☀︎ wait before you respond (don’t react)
NEXT : Human Nature (#2)