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Stephen J. Gould on human nature: The solution to our woes lies not in overcoming our ‘nature’ but in fracturing the ‘great asymmetry’ and allowing our ordinary propensities to direct our lives. But how can we put the commonplace into the driver’s seat of history?”

“Eight little piggies. Reflections in natural history” (Penguin Books 1994), Gould touches at the core of the debate on ‘human nature’. In essence, he says this:

  • for a purely empirical point of view, humans are genial.
  • the social and historical impact of agressive behavior, however, is blown up disproportionately, because our present social structures are unable to keep such unusual behavior from steering wheel.
  • the problem is not, how to overcome our supposedly wicked human nature; the problem is, how to put commonplace human tendencies firmly and permanently into the driver’s seat.
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