Humanity Essay

Humans separate themselves from animals because they are afraid to embrace the darker side of human nature. When talking about naturalism we use the term “human beast” in juxtaposition to to the term “human being” to show that there is an animalistic side to human nature. Yet even as these words “human nature” are written there is a huge act of hypocrisy. How can we ever truly show that humans are a part of nature when we use the word ‘human’ to describe ourselves. When we talk about nature we mean to imply birds and trees and animals that live out in the forest. We don’t think of humans being a part of nature, in fact we have a tendency to envision ourselves above and beyond nature. Some people might think human beings transcend the natural world. How ignorant we are as a species to think ourselves any bit higher in the grand scheme of things than ants and mice. We see ourselves as gods over our world and take into our own hands the tasks of ranking animals by how much they please us. We eradicate with fire and poison those species that we deem to be undesirable vermin and we prolong the existence of other species that should otherwise have gone extinct. And while humans have been busy; off playing god, they have forgotten that even gods are a part of nature.

Humans have a darker side. The human form has the capacity to do great good but also great evil. In our ignorance we have wiped entire ecosystems off the face of the earth - never to return. On the other hand people have united to rebuild entire cities and restore the homes of countless victims in the wake of natural disasters. It is in the struggle to achieve goodness; to work hard and earn what we receive, to show respect and be respected and to live happily in a place where we belong that humans find comfort. This is shown when George is telling Lenny about how they are going to get a home and live off the fat of the land. George says that there will be “All kin's a vegetables in the garden, and if we want a little whisky we can sell a few eggs or something, or some milk. We'd jus' live there. We'd belong there. There wouldn't be no more runnin' round the country and gettin' fed by a Jap cook. No, sir, we'd have our own place where we belonged and not sleep in no bunk house" (Steinbeck. Of Mice and Men 63).

These things fill people with contentment and hope with their lives and who they are. Realizing the darker side of humanity however does the opposite. Realizing the destructive and cruel power that humans in their ignorance can have does not fill the soul with feelings of goodness and contentment but with fear and doubt. Men have killed other men ever since the beginning of recorded history simply because their leaders told them to do so. People are ignorant and it seems that not one of them ever figured out that if all of them chose not to fight than everybody would live. War is a cruel and pointless thing but humans still harm each other without the excuse of war. It seems that fighting is in our nature but we refuse to consider ourselves a part of nature itself. We think of nature as savage and barbaric but we are no different. Nature is where humans came from and yet we show no signs of acknowledging our worldly parent. It is as if nature nurtured us into existence and now we are ignorant teenagers who have disowned our parent in defiance.

The origin of our species is nature. We fail as a species to embrace what we are because we want to remain separate from the world we came from. It is like a kid who grew up in a bad neighborhood and moves away later in his life; he knows what his old neighborhood is like but he does not want to return, nor does he want to associate himself with it. Of Mice and Men illustrates all of these points when Lenny crushes Curly’s hand. Lenny is a symbol for the dark side of humanity. Lenny has unparalleled strength compared to those who surround him but the best description of him that can be given is that he is like a child. Lenny is driven by simplistic wants and desires. Lenny has the power to destroy anything that the touches whether he wants to or not and the same can be said about humanity. Human beings don’t often intend to be so destructive. In the story Lenny wants to touch soft things but he doesn't get to keep them once he kills them. This seems perfectly analogous to the harvesting of valuable resources from places like the tropical rainforests in south america. When humans are too rough with the land everything dies. The trees no longer exist to hold in the rich soil and so the rain washes it away. In the end all that remains is a dead patch - barren and void of life. The scathing sand crackles in the heat of the sun. People don’t get to keep a valuable place full of resources once they kill it.

The darker side of human nature is as ignorant as a child. This side of who we are is the part of us that has done horrible things and has the power to do them again. We carry the strength of humanity with us as both a burden and a blessing. We are afraid of the darker parts of ourselves because we have no idea how much we can do. Only when humans finally accept the fact that they are animals will we truly become human.

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