Monday, August 04, 2008

Intergovernmental Panel on Human Nature?

So I just got through reading an article which at one point poses the question "Should there be an Intergovernmental Panel on Human Nature?" The aspect of human nature that they happen to be discussing is the tendency to procrastinate until the breaking point of a problem before we fix it. But that's not what I want to discuss; I want to discuss what an Intergovernmental Panel on Human Nature would be, because...what?

Now human nature is one of those nebulous concepts that can be called upon on whim to "bolster" an argument. This is one of my least favorite writing tricks, since human nature can be called in for almost any argument. "It is Human Nature that one might assume that ramifications of an action are only the concern of Others and never of the Self." (capitals added for necessary pretension) So fine, that particular sentence was designed to illustrate my point, and is therefore meaningless, but my argument still stands.

What is human nature anyway? It has this ability to be whatever the author conveniently needs it to be. An intergovernmental panel therefore would study ways in which to create a human nature that a government desires? or would it work to try to create tricks to get around human nature?

In connection with the article it would somehow try to find ways to motivate people to be concerned immediately and locally about slow moving global issues, specifically, for this article, climate change.

What do you all think about the concept of an Intergovernmental Panel on Human Nature?

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