Human nature

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Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally, independently of the influence of culture. .


  • Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of.
  • Human nature, as manifested in tribalism and nationalism, provides the momentum of the machinery of human evolution.
  • Someone who thinks well of himself is said to have a healthy self-concept and is envied. Someone who thinks well of his country is called a patriot and is applauded. But someone who thinks well of his species is regarded as hopelessly naïve and is dismissed.
    • Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life, 1990.
  • Human nature is not of itself vicious.
    • Thomas Paine The Rights of Man: 1779 - 1792, p. 149 (2007)
  • The needs of man, if life is to survive, are usually said to be four -- air, water, food, and in the severe climates, protection. But it is becoming clear today that the human organism has another absolute necessity... This fifth need is the need for novelty -- the need, throughout our waking life, for continuous variety in the external stimulation of our eyes, ears, sense organs, and all our nervous network.
    • John R. Platt (1959) "The Fifth Need of Man," in: Horizon 1 (July 1959), p. 109.
  • Human nature is governed by general self-interest and affected by genetic predisposition, which implies that there are likely to be limits to our moral sensitivities.
    • Nayef Al-Rodhan (2008) “emotional amoral egoism:” A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications. Berlin: LIT, p. 15
  • Human nature is the same now as when Adam hid from the presence of God; the consciousness of wrong makes us unwilling to meet those whom we have offended.
  • It belongs to human nature to hate those you have injured.
    • Tacitus as cited in: William Shepard Walsh (1909) Handy-book of Literary Curiosities. p. 392
  • We're just like other people: We love to sing, we love to dance, we admire beautiful women. We are human, and sometimes very human.
    • Professor Siletsky in To Be or Not to Be" (1942)

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