Monday, October 11, 2010

The Third Way-Cooperative Living as Steampunk Culture

The following is  a blog post by Larry Amyett, (a local diesel Punk Blogger) about his views regarding a better world that has been and can be again.

Who We Are: Part I

Longevity, Cooperativism and Human Nature

Philosophers have historically taken the three highly simplified views of human nature and have built various models consisting of differing degrees of complexity. Jean Jacques Rousseau believed that we are by nature good and that we are corrupted by society (the “noble savage”). The existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre held that human nature is neutral, with an individual’s free will being the sole element that decides our actions. According to Sartre as humans we have a radical freedom to the point that we are “condemned to be free.” Others that share his view of neutrality often give control largely to environmental socialization and conditioning (such as B.F. Skinner). Then there was Thomas Hobbes who held that human nature is bad. In Leviathan Hobbes wrote, “So that in the first place, I put for a general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death.” He thought that any goodness exhibited by someone was the result of society keeping that person’s dark side in check. Otherwise, without society’s restrictions, human existence would be “nasty, short, and brutish.”

There is a growing body of scientific studies that now point towards an understanding that humans have a hardwired predisposition in which working together appears to be intrinsically reinforcing and which in turn encourages future cooperative behavior. Studies show that this drive is so powerful that if someone fails to cooperate then another person will go out of his or her own way to punish the uncooperative one, even at his or her own sacrifice. This revelation of the cooperative nature of humankind is so important that it deserves close examination.

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