On Human Nature

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Among the most common battle cries of the reactionary and ill-informed political pundits these days is the infernal chant of- ‘it isn’t natural’. More often than not, it’s used as an attack on anything which fails to fit within the narrow confines of that particular person’s worldview, and is therefore considered unacceptable for anyone else to exhibit. It’s an ignorant and xenophobic reaction at its very best—but that’s likely giving it too much credit.

To speak of ‘normal’ when it comes to humans is an interesting notion. What can possibly be described as a ‘natural’ way for humans to act? Or the better question perhaps—what could possibly be unnatural?

Humans are unique, it must be said. We’re the only species known to use complex language—which does much to inform our ability to reflect on and consider our material world. More important still, we are the only living things we know of which are fully and fundamentally aware of our own mortality, a phenomenon argued by psychologist Ernest Becker to contribute to our psyche the drive of ‘mortality salience’, which binds our behaviours under the drive of what he refers to as ‘Terror Management Theory’ (Link).

These facets, combined with our incredible cerebral capacity, allow us to invent tools, define and solve problems, and create meaning in ways no other animal even comes close to achieving. Yet the fact remains that at the heart of this argument, our animal nature must be acknowledged. Most everything we do would seem foreign if exhibited in any other animal. Monkeys wearing hats? Unnatural! But…it may be natural to a person. At any rate, no one is going to make a political stance out of calling hats—or most any other clothing for that matter—unnatural.

If we’re being practical about the idea, the easiest approach to take would be to look back at our evolutionary roots, and conclude that anything beyond running around naked, scavenging whatever the greater hunters of the world leave behind, would be unnatural. But these ‘unnatural’ abilities we have are precisely what have gotten us here. Without clothing, tools, the harnessing of fire, and other such ‘unnatural’ acts, we would likely have been left far behind. The fire of reason that burns within us and allows us to defy our animal nature is the very key to our surpassing it.

So where might the line be drawn? Is clothing unnatural? If not, then why should we call kinky bondage clothing unnatural? Why is monogamy ‘natural’ (likely not the standard of early humans, and almost, to my knowledge, never in apes), but homosexuality unnatural?

Usually, the terms are meant more aptly to describe what is natural or accepted to the speaker in a pragmatic sense, rather than any true and intellectual consideration of what might be natural to human-beings as a whole. What one culture embraces as undeniable truth, another sees as lunacy. But in a worldview where exposed breasts are an unforgivable sin, yet veiled faces are a heinous affront, there is little room for rational discourse.

Ultimately, we may need to accept that the terms are nothing more than reactionary vitriol, unfitting of any discussion outside of ridiculous GOP debates. After all, with so much behavioural variance in an animal so far removed from true ‘nature’, there is truly no line to be drawn. Either everything we do is unnatural, and we are an aberration in the face of the natural world, or else nothing is. In the case of the latter, nothing at all could be considered unnatural. Just as it is the nature of the ape to draw ants from the hill with a blade of grass, so it would be within the bounds of our nature to clothe ourselves, and set fires, and split atoms, and alter DNA.

The human brain, at any rate, is a natural thing. So too then must be the products of that brain. So rather than waging our personal wars to define human nature, let us rather celebrate its quirky, unassailable depth. After all, we are the exceptions to a very broad rule, and our ability to seemingly defy nature is the very thing which has carried us out of the dark savannahs. It has led us from cowering at the sight of lightening to harnessing it, and taken us from the stony caves of our ancestors to the lauded cathedrals of our true worth.

So let us worry less about what is natural, and work rather to celebrate the diverse and divine nature that is common to us all.

-Brad OH Inc.

It’s Time to Pull the Trigger on the Environment

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgHere at Brad OH Inc., we’ve noticed a disconcerting trend. Whenever we try to dispose of our industrial waste materials in the river located conveniently near our window, people seem to whine. They complain when we burn refuse plastics, and they mumble when we empty our oil into the gutter.

Yes, these days people seem inescapably obsessed with this thing we call the ‘Environment’. Groups ranging from PETA (Link), to Greenpeace (Link)…even such nosey groups as the EPA (Link) are fixated on the protection and promotion of these ridiculous clumps of trees and irritating windstorms to the exclusion of their own fellow, wonderful humans.

Whether it’s annoying and dangerous animals, or the unforgiving confines of the natural world, these folks are having a great big love party over the dirty, disgusting outdoors.

What these people seem to miss—or intentionally ignore—is that the environment they love so dearly is the fundamental and inalienable enemy of mankind. What is human history after all, if not the story of our endless fight against the savage inhospitality of nature?

From the very first time mankind discovered fire, we have been turning the tides against the cold, and the darkness, and the bestial threats abounding in the natural world around us.

But that wasn’t enough. Oh no, nature is a fearsome foe. We needed shelters, clothing, and protective equipment. Through the years, our tenacity has bent the maleficent will of nature to our own noble purposes. We’ve increased the wield of crops, we’ve farmed formerly inhospitable lands, and most importantly, we’ve continued to increase our profit-shares despite nature’s adamant lack of cooperation. If that isn’t survival in the face of adversity, you tell me what is!

And yet, here we are. After eons of combat, and countless lives sacrificed to freezing rains and sudden earthquakes and villainous bears—we almost have nature beaten!

The ice-caps are melting. The ozone is crumbling. Countless wicked species are disappearing from the surface of our planet—clearing the way for more charming little humans.

Remember innocently reaching for a flower once as a child, holding onto the illusion that nature could be beautiful, only to be viciously attacked by some flying menace called a bee?

Well don’t worry, we’ve nearly got the stripy bastards (Source) in check.

Yes, no matter the obstacle nature has thrown in our way over the years, we’ve managed to persevere. After all, humanity is a tenacious species, and our greatest feature is our ability to adapt: to rise to new challenges, find new ways of solving problems, and even better ways to monetize them. It’s our history, it’s our heritage, hell—it’s our whole identity.

So the next time you hear some green jacketed hippy talking about saving the environment, why not ask them why they aren’t standing butt-naked on the savannah, jumping up and down trying to reach the low-hanging fruit?

If they give any other reason than the fact that people are better than that primitive malarkey, they are lying—or they’ve mismanaged their finances, and cannot afford one of our very cost-effective fruit-knockers.

Take it from us ladies and gentlemen—human history is the overcoming of natural struggles, and none are more finely equipped to do this than your modern day Corporation. The destruction of the environment is not a tragedy to be lamented, but the fruition of many millennia’s of effort! And don’t worry, we won’t stop there. Every ending is a new opportunity after all, and with these changes will come exciting new solutions.

Affordable gas-masks in your choice of colour? You bet! Nutrient bars to supply your needs? Damn Skippy! Scenic views of natural coastlines abounding with the wonder of God’s creation? We’ve got a 6-DVD set!

So cry not for the past, but revel rather in the present. It’s time to pull the plug on our old nemesis ‘Nature’, and start to build a better, more profitable world for everyone*!

*’Everyone’ does not necessarily include all people (Corporate or otherwise), peoples in all places, all places with people, non-people that identify as people, people that identify as non-people or anyone not directly associated with the Brad OH Inc. shareholders

-Brad OH Inc.