Humankind: A Hopeful History

Source: Vox Popoli

Are humans inherently good or inherently bad; inherently communal or inherently individualistic; inherently altruistic or inherently selfish? An anthropologist reviews the evidence in a book review.

Toward the end Hallpike makes a comment that accounts in simple fashion for an aspect of the Adam-and-Eve story I have always found puzzling:

“But the development of the state is not all about war and violence, and so far we have not considered two aspects of human nature that are not directly implicated in the discussion of whether we are naturally selfish or altruistic. The first is the innate human love not only of personal adornment but of luxury and material possessions in general, and the second is ambition and love of power.”

I had never understood why Adam and Eve became ashamed of their nakedness, once they had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. That a love of personal adornment might be an innate aspect of human nature never occurred to me.

2 thoughts on “Humankind: A Hopeful History

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