Human Nature

Date: Sep 14, 2017
Category: Philosophy Essay


Human nature forms a significant topic in philosophy. Human nature entails the different characteristics associated with human beings. These characteristics include the way they act, think, and feel. These human characteristics form an integral part of the society as they influence theology, ethics, and politics. Human nature contributes towards the norms of the society. In addition, it provides obstacles that limit the virtuous life. The Allegory of the Cave by Plato, Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu, and The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau provide some insights on human nature. For instance, in the Allegory of the Cave by Plato, human nature depicts like been reliant on ethical values and morality. This is observable where the prisoner who escaped goes back to the cave and tries to enlighten the other prisoners who admonish him. From the poem Tao Te Ching, human nature also depicts. It also focuses on morality and views them as the hindrance factor for human beings doing the right thing. On the other hand, the Social Contract also explores human nature and asserts that it is human nature to seek your own self-preservation before taking care of others.

This paper explores human nature in relation to three texts, The Allegory of the Cave, Tao Te Ching, and The Social Contract by Rousseau.


The Allegory of the Cave depicts human nature through representing the different worlds that the human beings exist. The ‘cave’ depicts a world that offers man insecurity and impermanence. This concludes that human nature is restricted on the search for permanent existence and security. This is true because all human beings long for happiness, comfort, and contentment. Ignorance also is in the Allegory of the Cave through the people that were born, and chained in the cave. There is some movement in the fire behind the people although they cannot establish what is moving, and they have only being exposed to shadow, they assume nothing else exists besides the things exposed to them. The Allegory of the cave also depicts the way human nature is alien to the truth. The people in the cave do not believe what the other member who freed himself and experienced reality had to share with them. In fact, the chained men considered him mad. Human nature also depicts in the Allegory of the Cave where, it seems that the people in the cave feel a certain type of emptiness when they try to question themselves the purpose of their existence. The Allegory of the Cave establishes how human beings feel whenever confronted with such a question as to why they exist or what is the purpose of their existence.

Human nature also depicts in the poem Tao Te Ching. From this poem, naming of all things depicts as human nature. When compared to the real world, this depicts as the truth because humans name everything that is discovered, since new things are continually discovered. According to the poem, the things that human beings do not name are eternally real. That is true in relation to human nature because they cannot name things that they found in existence or they cannot explain how they came into existence. Secondly, human nature depicts like been interdependent. The poem asserts that both the high and low depend on one another. This is true in relation to human nature because no person can exist alone without needing others in one way or the other. Human beings are social animals and, therefore, need to interact with each other. Human beings operate with a philosophy that “too much of something is poisonous to the human body”. The poem illustrates this human nature through asserting, “Colors blind the eye, Sounds deafen the ear, Flavors numb the taste, Thoughts weaken the mind and desires wither the heart. The poem also touches on the human nature of existence. The poem establishes that there is the beginning and end to life of every human being. The poem refers to this by use of the term ‘Source’.

The Social Contract by Rousseau also depicts human nature. It refers to human nature as having attachments. Members of families are attached to each other because they need each other’s assistance in times of turmoil. The text provides an example of a father and children who stay attached as long as they need each other. However, human relationships tend to lose meaning when interdependence subsides, and everyone has the potential of taking care of himself or herself. The significant point that the text addresses concerning human nature is that of self-preservation. This is human nature, as all human beings tend to take care of their needs before contemplating to assist others. Social Contract also refers to the family as the model of political societies. This is true in reference to human nature because people receive their first training from their home comprising of the surroundings and the people. The Social Contract confers how humans respect their rulers, and observe them as gods. This is true to human nature because humans tend to respect the authority especially a popularly elected one.

Human nature comprises of the different characteristics depicted by human beings. Human characteristics have enormous significance as they influence ethics, politics and theology. From the Allegory of the Cave and Social Contract, human nature depicts as formed by relationships and power struggles. Struggle is a characteristic of human nature because, without it, humans cannot be able to survive. The Allegory of the Cave also reveals how humans are trapped in a world. The world is represented by the ‘cave’, and in case they try to question themselves the essence of their existence, they end up feeling empty. Tao Te Ching also reveals several characteristics associated with human nature such as interdependence between human beings. The poem asserts that both the high and mighty and the low depend on one another. It is true that no one can survive on his or her own. The Social Contract sums up human nature through focusing on how families help shape humans. It also asserts that political societies emanate from the family, which is true as the family forms the basic unit of society.