Human nature – By Juan-Ramón Capella

This post is also available in: Spanish


In your memoirs you suggest that, when you saw certain behaviors, you stopped believing in the goodness of the human species.

Not so much. What I say is that I couldn’t believe in Rousseau’s noble savage. And I think I must stick to it. Human beings are predatory animals, capable of everything. Of creating Bach’s music and of performing the greatest massacres and injustices. We are all like that. If we are not, to put it some way, evil, it’s because we are educated not to be, because we try not to be. It’s the title of a song by Boris Vian, I haven’t come to this world to kill anybody. It’s a pretty good principle. Rousseau’s noble savage is inside the philosophy of Enlightenment, which is brutally individualistic and, above all, not historical. Rousseau has no idea how primitive societies were, how our historical ancestors were. We are lucky to know “fossil” societies which have remained until now or, at least, until the seventies. People who lived in similar conditions to those of our distant ancestors. We know how they lived and it wasn’t precisely in a society of noble savages. They were societies were sometimes conflicts were ritualized, but they were conflictive societies. The individual’s innate goodness is…

Is there a concept of human nature behind the idea of Law?

The Naturalistic thought I’ve been fighting my whole life. I had to suffer it as a student. And it reappears again and again in its formalistic version. For example, Adela Cortina. She allows herself to write articles with a Kantian Naturalistic view as if nothing had happened. As if what’s just and unjust, what’s good and evil, what law is, what obedience to law is, was clear. She doesn’t question any of it. It’s a kind of thinking that doesn’t realize the lack of foundation of our cultural beliefs. Our cultural beliefs are not based on anything solid. They’re not based on any Kantian principle, in any Platonic, abstract principle, in any general principle that says “you must do this and not that.” No, they are historical conventions which have become more and more established and, in certain sense, we could say that for good, as long as we don’t think about all the atrocities committed during the 20th century and which are starting to happen in the 21st. Our culture is conventional, historical. sociohistorical. There is no naturalism. Underneath it all, behind it all, there’s nothing natural we may aspired to go back to, nothing which may inspire us. I deeply believe in the lack of foundation of everything and in the historical conventionality of the different cultures. There are millions of Chinese people who don’t believe in God. The idea of God doesn’t inspire them at all, unlike what’s happened in western societies, not to mention the North-American puritans. Why? It’s a convention that has been formed historically, linked to solving everyday life problems, without going through many metaphysics. We have followed that line from the Catholic Kings on. All the European monarchs have tried to make religion a state matter.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Bitacoras.com
  • Google Buzz
  • Meneame
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>