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A Good Way To Learn About Human Nature Would Be To Study Our Behavior From An Archeological/historic Perspective.
The repetition of historical circumstances that revolve around political, social, and moral ideals can tell use a lot about our nature. A prime example would be to read an old literary text like Plato's Republic and compare his ideals to our own. Or consider how not too long ago it was a moral obligation to torture and murder those who were merely accused of being a witch and how today that would be considered a violation of human rights. I think if we do this we (including the religious) will find that morals and truths are constantly changing.
 verum  19 Jan 2011 00:10
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If you want to truly understand human nature, you have to look at it from every angle you can think of.
 ur_wrong  28 Jan 2011 07:56
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I am far from an expert on history, but I recently had a thought very similar to this. I was actually reading a fiction book in which some archeologist had found a library of handwritten books from medieval times. They were trying to piece together what it all meant. Though, the book was fiction, it was along this idea. I thought that would be interesting to read something that old and try to understand those before us and how we got be who and what we are today.
 artemis  19 Jan 2011 04:01
 There are still plenty of handwritten medieval books knocking about in the private libraries (of stately homes) that originally commissioned them, and in museums - so if you had the money/connections you could actually do this.
by  damselfly
 19 Jan 2011 05:22
I like the idea of learning about human nature from the perspectives you mention. Interpretation of the data, however, can be difficult, and can be easily misinterpreted. It seems that if one goes in with the premises that truths and morals change, sounds a bit like self-fulfilling prophecy. I would have worded it more this way: Morals and truths are discovered, or moral and truth applications vary. Let's use your example of torturing or burning witches. Historically, folks may have truly believed that witches existed. Further, they believed that these witches were inflicting great harm to others. Today, we know certain people who do great harm to others. Modern man often tortures (waterboarding, etc), punishes or even executes very bad people. So, even though, at the present time, we know that witches don't exist, our behaviors, including human rights violations, still go on.
 charlee  19 Jan 2011 07:15
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A good way to study human nature is to observe them in the present. The past is riddled with mistakes, unless you mean learning from mistakes, but that's not learning about human nature, is it?
 Balance_92  19 Jan 2011 04:33
 well that is part of it for sure. however without thorough knowledge of the past, one has no perspective on the present and cannot make educated statements about anything.
by  the_atom
 19 Jan 2011 05:51
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