Lately, I’ve been musing on the debate between those who claim that human nature is inherently selfish and those who say that we are oriented to cooperation and care. I am beginning to think that this is artificial, that the drive to name our nature is, in fact, an urge to excuse our actions. It does seem to me that those who advocate loudest for selfish genes are rather self-absorbed and self-satisfied folk. But then, on the other hand, we are not natively self-less. Or at least we learn early on to be a self that looks out for itself. I don’t know if this is our society or if this is how humans generally work. But still, to cooperate and share and care, to give of that self, seems to be acquired wisdom, something we learn in maturity.
I’m not sure anymore that there is a human nature. I believe there are learned responses and behaviors, some deeply ingrained, but learned nevertheless.
I believe I learned this deep care for the world. And if I can, you can as well.
Though it may be too late to save the Ass-Holocene from itself.
for 18 August 2021
You can respond in the comments below or make a Twitter post to the Wednesday Word. Either way, begin your response with #nurture. Your response can be anything made from words. I love poetry, but anything can be poetic and you needn’t even be limited to poetics. An observation, a story, a thought. Might even be an image — however, I am not a visual person, so it has to work harder to convey meaning. In the spirit of word prompts, it’s best if you use the word; but I’m not even a stickler about that. Especially if you can convey the meaning without ever touching the word.
If responding in Twitter, you are limited to the forms of Twitter. I would prefer that there be no threads because that is difficult. So if you have something long, post it in the comments below. That said, please don’t go too long. Keep it under 2000 words. I’m not going to count, but I’m also not promising to read a novel. Unless it’s really good!
If I receive something particularly impressive, I’ll post it next week. If not, well, that’s fine too. I know you all are busy. But if you’ve read this far, then I’ve made you think about… nurture.
she learned this
the body becomes me from womb we to i infant mind defined refined in cold self-preoccupation separation isolation devastation gestation of world broken of which, what and who born of you beyond me and we grow as selves absorbing we grow ourselves abhorring you and me desiring we i was you and you were mine for this brief time before a me first learning this yearning to salve our selves with we but in these severed days mother-child connection frays becomes a me without a you becomes one self without we two becomes a body self imbued and we lose the nurtured ways
©Elizabeth Anker 2021