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The Ultimate Deflection Of Personal Responsibility Is Human Nature

Problem solving and cooperation are skills we learn, just like everything else.

5 min readFeb 26, 2022


I’m having a years-long debate with someone. I have this belief that humans can have peace if they just learn to get along with each other. The other person believes that peace on earth is not possible because human nature does not tend towards peace. From our divided nation to international wars, she says, until we can change human nature, we will always have humans inflicting pain upon other humans. There is no way around it.

But I disagree.

I have found piles of evidence to show that human nature is to cooperate. From our language to studies that show that isolation can lead to mental illness, we need each other to survive. I believe that our genes are coded to reward us for engaging in cooperation. Everything else, like “evil”, is learned behavior.

I’ve been studying this concept in one form or another for almost 30 years now. I’ve been wondering why it is that we suffer so. And every time I come up against some behavior that is destructive or goes against our mutual survival, I consider that kind of behavior as learned behavior. I consider predatory or challenging behavior as inconsistent with our genetic code.

I believe that every act of violence diminishes our chances of survival. I believe that economic predation diminishes our chances for survival, too. It doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, every act of predation diminishes our chances of survival.

I recall a study of human skulls across 100,000 years. In that study, they found that around 50,000 years ago, there was an abrupt change in the shape of our skulls. Our brows receded. We became less aggressive. Culture flourished. There was a flowering of tools and art. The scientists concluded that the most aggressive humans killed each other off, favoring those with less testosterone. Humanity became more cooperative.

I recall a movie starring Tom Shadyac, the man who directed every blockbuster Jim Carrey movie. He directed films like Ace Ventura, The Cable Guy, and Bruce Almighty. At the height of his career, Shadyac found himself in a multi-million dollar mansion. And…