The River of Humanity: You Have to Harness Human Nature
Imagine human nature as a swiftly flowing river. It sweeps over the land, cutting sharp twists and curves in its path, a powerful force that speedily carries those that are immersed in it downstream. But while the power of the deluge may be intimidating, it is a source of good. It provides sustenance to those that inhabit its banks, facilitating growth and allowing society to flourish.
Now imagine an individual man riding in the midst of the current, bobbing up and down for air while he is swept along. A solitary man in the center of such a torrent is utterly incapable of affecting the flow. He has but a few choices to keep afloat. On the one hand he could fight the current – his very nature – and slow his movement by swimming against the tide. For a fleeting period, swimming upstream may keep his head above water, but after a while fatigue will set-in, sweeping a lifeless body to be drowned in the current.
Alternatively, he can accept the flow as immutable and focus on easing his passage. Rather than fighting the tumultuous stream, he can swim with it and learn how to harness its power. He can use the wildness of the river to raise himself from the turbulence of the white water to a position where he will one day pilot his own route. By recognizing the cruelty of the fast-moving rapids he will not only avoid drowning, but set himself on a course to affect his own destiny.
A moral society is built on the acceptance of human nature. A society is moral if it both allows man to fulfill his potential and, in utilitarian terms, creates the most good. Fortunately, a society based on the profit motive can achieve both of these factors. By acknowledging the fundamentals of human nature – that man is intrinsically self-interested – and channeling it towards productivity through a system based on such an understanding, both individuals and societies will develop and grow. By providing avenues to better the human condition, a culture, a government, and its leaders can establish a moral society.
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