# Human Psychology and History

human psychology, philosophy [human psychology, history]
psychology, history, historical developments

Home > How fully does "Human Nature" actually underpin historical developments?

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You might well be here in response to our advertising campaign suggesting that Philosophy and Psychology can demonstrate how "discernible Human Nature" may well underpin most historical developments.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a principal figure in the New England Transcendentalism movement which was itself largely inspired by the German Idealist philosophy of Kant and others. The following quotation from Emerson's famous essay History demonstrates his acceptance of a definite causal link between Human Nature and the human? World:-

"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."

In order to explore this notion that the world bursts forth as "flower and fruitage" from human-innate "roots" it is necessary to venture a little into some interesting philosophical areas:-

"...Are all our actions alike performed by the one predominant faculty, or are there three faculties operating severally in our different actions? Do we learn with one internal faculty, and become angry with another, and with a third feel desire for all the pleasures connected with eating and drinking, and the propagation of the species; or upon every impulse to action, do we perform these several actions with the whole soul?"
(Plato - The Republic : Book 4) This same philosopher later poses a related question:-

"...may we assert that men may be primarily
classed as lovers of wisdom, of strife, and of gain?"

At age-of-the-sage we have explored such ideas fairly extensively and have to admit that our own researches do lead us to the perhaps somewhat perplexing conclusion that human nature is basically "tripartite" along the lines suggested by Plato's insightful questions.

Although the range of ideas that directly arise from a consideration of Emerson's quote about "roots" and Plato's questions about "human motivation" tend to be somewhat psychological we are confident that on fuller consideration these ideas will be seen as having immense potential towards leading to a greater philosophical understanding of the human condition.
Thoroughly convincing answers to questionings about "what people innately are" and about "what people are innately motivated to do" are important forms of wisdom we should all be interested in attaining as they have the potential help us to better understand our own lives, our own societies, and the world we live in.

We are seeking to bring the results of our researches into such deep questions about human existence to public attention and, in order to do so, have decided to present what we hope you will consider to be an "intriguing glimpse" of these results as a series of slides.
Interesting, and hopefully conclusive, evidences are then offered in support of the content of these slides.

Slide Shows

The following slide shows, that summarise deep wisdoms about human existence gleaned from many sources, will hopefully greatly pique your interest and lead you to investigate our site further where, we hope, you can find really interesting and profound detail about the "Tripartite Nature of Humanity" and its implications.

(We have been receiving reports that some, usually institutional, computer systems do not allow our dynamic Slide Shows to play as we would like. Most of the same material is available here displayed on a conventional web page).

This slide show suggests that Human Nature
has three main aspects:-
    Materialistic, Spiritual, and Ethnic.
Human Nature?

These slides develop this view of Human Nature
to consider wider questions:-
    about God, about Man, and about Society.
God, Man, and Society?

Please send us your comments via our:- Feedback Editor

Our site is rather large and to facilitate a structured introduction to our findings related to the transcendentalist view of human existence we recommend three routes:-

The Tripartite Soul
  This page is a review of how Pythagoras, Plato, Socrates, Shakespeare and such major World Religions as Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism all hold the view that Human Spirituality is relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath" thus supporting the view of Human Nature and the posited relationship between God, Man, and Society as presented in the slide shows.

More on this...

The Study of History
  "History is for human self-knowledge ... the only clue to what man can do is what man has done. The value of history, then, is that it teaches us what man has done and thus what man is."
R. G. Collingwood

It may well be that one of the most momentously significant things that people do in history is contribute to what might be called "the Construction of Social Reality":-

We all in our every day lives quietly contribute to the construction of a Social Reality. This process may be of paradigm philosophical significance looked at from the point of view of "what man has done" being a lesson in "what man is!!!!"

It can be suggested that what people are moved to do, because people are so prompted by human-innate drives, gives rise to many socially structured practices including the "Human-material" world of homes, schools, shops, places of work, and transportation systems.
Spiritual capacities (again probably innate to human beings) are usually expressed within one of several world religions hence churches, mosques, shrines, synagogues and temples.
Ethnic group forming capacities (again probably innate to human beings) are usually expressed through national or tribal cultures.

The consideration of ethnicity and how it is expressed in the wider world leads on toward a consideration of politics and historical developments. The example of an "Open Society?" as presented above is perhaps a somewhat contemporary and liberal "Social Construct". We have, however, prepared a brief series of pages about the notably turbulent European Revolutions of 1848 in the hope that their content will demonstrate something of what the human "bundle of relations and knot of roots - has done" in an unsettled time in history and thus hopefully facilitate the cultivation of greater levels of insight into what that "knot of roots" actually is and into what that "knot of roots" tends to give rise to in terms of historical and social developments.

Please bear in mind that our history pages actually continue to examine later periods of western european history but that we consider that these few pages about the Revolution of 1848 are sufficient to establish the principle that the "human knot of roots" has a telling influence on historical developments.

More on this...

Comparative Religion
  Charles Darwin, in his Autobiography written late in life, mentions something of his own early religious convictions, (he actually trained as an Anglican priest just prior to voyaging on the Beagle). Towards the end of this Autobiography there is an extensive sub-section actually entitled "Religious Beliefs" that contains these passages:-

  At present the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons. But it cannot be doubted that Hindoos, Mahomedans and others might argue in the same manner and with equal force in favour of the existence of one God, or of many Gods, or as with the Buddhists of no God...
  ....This argument would be a valid one, if all men of all races had the same inward conviction of the existence of one God; but we know this is very far from being the case. Therefore I cannot see that such inward convictions and feelings are of any weight as evidence of what really exists....

In our own times sympathetic translations of the religious texts of many World Faiths have been made available such that western peoples can hope to better appreciate the Wisdoms respected by faiths and cultures across the world.
The philosopher Leibniz is credited with coining the phrase "The Perennial Philosophy" in relation to what he perceived to be a shared respect by several World Religions for such spiritual virtues as "Charity", "Purity of Heart", and "Humility".
Our own studies in this area have led us to recognise that the list of spiritual virtues respected by ALL the major World Religions can be very greatly extended - even to the point of effectively overturning Darwin's reservations as set out in his Autobiography.

More on this...

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Spirituality & the wider world

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