Religion, Science:
Human Nature as Its Own Opposite

As Taoists know, things sometimes turn into their opposites. So it is with human nature. First, human nature was God's design. Adam's slip-up explained the bad stuff. Then the liberals did away with human nature. Everything, they said, was culture. Finally, the scientists have brought human nature back. Now, however, human nature isn't divine handiwork but a collection of evolutionary tricks strung together after eons of trial and error. Human nature is now the opposite of what used to be meant by it, a parts-up development rather than an essence-down design. It used to be a perfect thing that had been damaged, and now it's a primitive thing that has evolved up.


October 2007