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Week 3: Changing Human Nature?

Anne Dalke's picture

At the end of his article about the production of in-vitro meat (!), Andrew Revkin asks, "What do you think? Can we change human nature? Should we?"

Serendip Visitor's picture

Nature and Human Nature

Is "Human Nature" different from "Nature"? Can we change "Nature"? Of course! We do it all the time! Nature changes all the time, with or without the help (?) of humans. Our brain is a product of Nature and it is subjected to an ever changing environment. Can we change human nature? We must. That's the only way to keep this planet and humanity alive.

pxie's picture

Why should we change?

 First of all, I have the same question as many other students have... What do we define human nature? From the article, it seems "human nature" is the nature to eat meat. Of course, our human nature is not only to eat meat. It also includes sleeping when tired, laughing when happy and all the other instincts that we are so used to them that we even fail to notice them. However, if human nature is only about eating meat, I think we simply don't have to. Of course, there are vegetarians who do not consider eating meat as their human nature. But for the rest of us who do not feel that eating meat tortures our consciousness or ethics, we can just go and eat meat. Many people are worried that we have to abandon our "human nature" as eating meat because the world is gonna have difficulty producing enough meat to feed the world population. But we have something magical called technology. With the technological development, I think we can keep up our habit of eating meat. To think it in another way, if all of us become vegetarians, where can we find enough lands to plant all these vegetables because planting vegetables requires much more land than feeding animals? At that time, I think the problem will be much more serious. So far, I think being omnivores is the best way for us to survive with the world's population growing incredibly fast. 

lcatlin's picture

<!--StartFragment-->  I agree

 I agree with Lydia when she said that human nature must be defined first. In this article, I believe that the human nature aspect Revkin was discussing was the desire to eat meat. I do believe that it is human nature to crave meat. We are omnivores, which in its simplest terms means we eat plants and meat. When Revkin said that its easier to change technology than human nature, I think he meant that its easier to allow humans to eat meat and change the way it was produced, than to restrict the consumption of meat. I think this is true. Revkin then asks, "Can we change human nature? Should we?" I do not think we can or should, but we can control the means to an end of how we satisfy that human nature. For me, this would mean controlling the production standards of how meat is produced, even if it drives the cost of meat way up. If the best and humane way to produce meat is more expensive, people should be willing to pay that. This humane way might be in the form of the in-vitro meat, like Revkin discusses. 


Amy's picture

Changing the expression of human nature, not human nature itself

I don't think that it's possible for us to change human nature, try as we might. The idea of doing so sounds like some creepy eugenics project to me. Human nature is overarching throughout all humanity, so to change it, we would actively have to change the face of the human race. That being said, I don't think that eating meat is a direct part of our human nature. It's human nature to eat protein, which meat happens to be a good source of. It's human nature to be part of a culture, and most, if not all cultures eat meat. What would need to happen is a cultural shift away from meat, for us to cease or lessen our eating of it.

It's hard to find where in-vitro meat fits into vegetarianism/veganism. Would I eat it? I really have no idea. Morally, I don't have anything against it. We're not killing animals, nothing is suffering. And while it may be creepy, I don't think it's a bad thing that technology is taking us in this direction. So I don't think that it's wrong. I'm still not sure if I would eat it, though. Even though it's not from an organism, the concept of meat just grosses me out... And it never helps that since I haven't eaten meat in so long, it would probably make me sick.

ygao's picture

we've evolved and are still evolving

I think the word "change" is not the best verb for this circumstance. I believe that human nature cannot simply be changed. However, the way people live definitely has evolved over the ages and is still evolving. Human nature is something that is rooted deeply in our instincts. We cannot change what our nature is even if we wanted to, but we can alter our ways of viewing whatever matter of choice it is we are facing. By that, human nature can be affected, but natural instincts cannot be eliminated or changed. For instance, humans were born to be omnivores; yet, as we evolve, some people stopped being omnivores and started to choose other ways of eating. This change is not a change of human nature, but an alternation of the way people view and choose the food on their plates. It is completely subjective. I think vegetarians still have, in some part of their human nature, the hunger for meat, although they somehow avoid meat in favor of beliefs or diets. Therefore, that does not mean their human nature has been changed, it only made people have an evolved way of eating because of personal preference. It is also my opinion that even if we can, we should not change our human nature. Human nature is what makes us human, it defines who we are in this food chain and distinguish us from other living beings, and for these reasons we should never change it.

nbagaria's picture

So what?


I can see why people may object to eating meat that has been artificially made but really what is the big deal? We make our babies in laboratories nowadays so why not the food we eat? Morals and ethics aside logically speaking it will probably not be possible for mankind to survive as a species unless we take such a step. What with predictions of adding two Chinas to the already overpopulated planet, it seems kind of strange even thinking that science would not have to intervene at some point. In my eyes better sooner than later so really, what is the problem? It is not like the food we eat now tastes or even looks anything like the source (which is why most people can eat it). Since we have accepted cans, packaged food and most importantly buying meat when we do not even know whether it comes from the same animal that it says it does on the box, what is so difficult in accepting something that looks just a little more alien and is (possibly) a lot healthier? We are already alienated from our food source (when was the last time you hunted down the animal that you wanted to eat?) so another step which is more in our own interest (when is it not?) than anything else will hardly make a difference. It just depends on how you look at it. Humans trust instinctively, which is why we have gotten so far. Hence, this is just another leap of faith which all of humanity will have to take eventually, so why crib?
 Is it possible to change human nature? Well, the very fact that mankind has come to a point where it can possibly cause its own destruction proves that we haven’t changed all that much. We are still greedy and selfish. We are willing to accept the fact that entire species of animals have gone extinct just to satisfy our greed. On the surface, possibly, we can and do change but at the very core I think change is impossible. Society may make us the civil and polite people that we are and make us feel that each and every one of us is a distinct individual but deep down we are all really the same. All of us want the same things it is just the means that we use to reach these ends which are different.
Jessica's picture

Sounds too extreme to me

I was so surprised by the idea of in-vitro meat. And even disgusted. To me, creating in-vitro meat to not eat the real meat sounds very weird and ironic. So we are going to create another gigantic industry of in-vitro meat to go "organic"?! Sounds like we would be creating the same amount of waste or even more. Sorry if I am sounding sarcastic and dramatic here, but I don't know who thought of in-vitro meat in the first place. Can you imagine yourself chewing and eating artificial fiber created by other humans in the labs instead of real meat? Why would we want to make ourselves do that?

Human nature has never changed. If we are tired, we sleep. If we are hungry, we eat. Although some things in humanity have changed, I believe it's human behavior that has changed, not human nature. I believe that human nature is something intrinsic, something all humans  have been born with throughout generations.

But maybe we are now challenging human nature with our technology because we now have technology that we think is advanced "enough." If it happens, I think it's going to have a very ugly ending, like everything else that resulted due to ignorant human thoughts.

avietgirl's picture

changing human nature

 Human nature can be define differently from different people. To me, it is human nature to act upon what we desire and want. It would be almost impossible to change human nature. How many people out there can resist themselves from acting as they desire? You know that something can be bad for you if you eat it, but since it's good, you will eat it anyway. This doesn't apply to everybody but a large percentage of us do act upon what we wants. As long as the things that we want are not illegal. But even then, there are some who is willing to act upon that wants even if it's illegal. That's is why changing human nature might be possible but the chance of it is too low.

lkuswanto's picture

we have been changing, haven't we?

 To my knowledge, people have been changing over time. They have been changing their lifestyle, preferences, and even their natures. I second some people here who have been saying that people have been changing. 

Try looking back at those times when people had no specific place to live in and had to move around to hunt for food. They used bows, spears, and arrows to hunt animals. They killed and skinned the animals using knives made from metal and wood. They lighted the dry woods by rubbing the stones against each other to create a spark. Do we still do that now? Humans have changed, and so is the human nature.

We do not do things that were done years ago. Thanks to technologies and science we now live in a completely different nature than people in the olden days used to live in. Some human natures do not exist anymore. We do not do things that people in those years do. We are no longer living in the same human nature.

Then, what about the in-vitro meat? I totally think that it is doable, and who knows that in a couple of years we will have in-vitro vegetables? Through technologies and science, everything is possible and they contribute in changing the human nature. It is just a matter of time, but other than that, we HAVE BEEN CHANGING our human nature. Once again, thanks to technologies and science.

kdlz's picture

Can we change human nature?

I don't think we can -- at least not immediately. I think that human nature is something that is innate and instinctual; something that is built into us. I think that our nature predisposes us to have particular traits such as selfishness -- so that we do what is in our best interests. This makes sense because hundreds of thousands of years ago, the people that looked out for their own interests (even at the cost of others) were more likely to survive.  Thus, because of natural selection and 'survival of the fittest', those that survived were able to pass the trait of selfishness and self-preservation (along with other innate traits, such as disgust etc) 

However, I believe that human nature can be affected by how we 'nurture' it -- or the rules and standards society imposes on us. The expectations and morals that are imposed on us, such as what is 'right' behavior and what is 'wrong behavior, help to keep our instincts in check. For example, if you find $1,000 lying in the hallway of your dorm, your first instinct would probably be to pocket it. However, because of our morals and conscious, we don't and return it to the person it belongs to.

maliha's picture

Changing Human Nature

The problem with this article was that it didn't really explain the author's definition of "human nature." I don't think that what we eat is part of human nature because we are omnivores and so can eat anything. Buying food in cans doesn't become part of human nature, no matter how long people do it. That's something learned from your parents and society. The only part of eating that is part of human nature is the need to do it. Since human nature involves all the basic, intrinsic needs and desires of people, I don't think it can be changed. So, Revkin is right in saying that because human nature can't be changed, technology should change instead. 

Rabbitbmc's picture

the hope for no catch

In class we tried really hard to pinpoint an exact definition of "human nature". After going back and forth between a binary and a loop description, we didn't come to a consensus. Personally, I feel like human nature simply boils down to instincts. It is our feelings, our reactions, our survival tactics. Human nature are the things that our ancestors did, and what we are now prone to do.

I'm not sure if this nature of ours is genetically ingrained in us from years and years of doing the same habits or if it is learned from our culture, but I definitely feel like it can not change. We will always be selfish and want more than we need. We will always want to overextend our power. We will always do whatever it takes to survive. And I think that we will always be meat eaters, as sad as that is to me.

As for fake "invitro" meat? If they can possibly come close to a yummy substitute, I definitely think it could revolutionize the world of the meat eater! It could be a great option. Then again, as we've seen with everything else that we thought was organic and good for the planet, the production of fake meat will inevitably have a catch. This production will probably affect us in a more negative ways than positive. So hopefully this future "non-meat meat" industry won't have the catch that Pollan seems to find in everything else we all assumed was good.



Lydia Jessup's picture

 Before we can answer this

 Before we can answer this question, we must first define human nature.  This is difficult to do and even harder to relate to the food industry.  I do not think that it is human nature to have industrial farms and treat animals inhumanely.  These are technologies that have developed over time and were not in our “nature” to begin with.  It is in human nature to eat, to have wants, and needs, but I think that the human nature Revkin refers to could be better described as habit or societal norms.  Human society is constantly changing.  One of the main reasons we have been so successful as a species is because of our ability to adapt to different environments.  Creating new technology is part of this change and society will have to adapt to that.  I do not agree that we will need to change human nature to live sustainably.  There is nothing in our nature that forces us to consume the great quantities of food and materials we currently do.  If we need to cut back on our meat consumption, engineer meat, or use a combination of strategies to live sustainably, it will be possible to do.  We do not need to change human nature to do it. 


jrf's picture

what is human nature?

I don't think human nature can be defoned so specifically that it includes the act of killing animals/eating their meat. I understand the concept of human nature on a grand scale to mean "things groups of people will tend to do"-- general patterns in human behavior. I don't see our eating habits as something enduring enough to be classed as "natural." We used to hunt animals and forage for plants; now we flake and reform our food into whatever shape we want, and let other people kill our animals and grow our plants for us. We've eaten meat that came from real animals for a long time, yes, but I'm not sure that fact makes it "natural" for us to continue doing so.

A question that makes more sense to me: is the added layer of artificiality that fake meat inserts between us and our food harmful to us? As Pollan has made very clear, we're already pretty far disconnected from our food sources; synthesising meat might contribute to that problem.

kgrassle's picture

Survival is Different Around the World

 I also believe that in class, we are often talking about how we incorporate human nature into America's society.  What about other societies?  Do third-world countries really have the resources to become more environmentally friendly?  Their nature is also to survive.  In their case, they cannot make changes in their lives that would be environmentally friendly without threatening their survival.  If eating meat was banned in the world, some countries do not have the technology or the money to spend on creating synthetic meat.  Eating animals is still an essential part of their lives.  So is it moral to stop producing animals for meat if it means the death of innocent people?  

kgrassle's picture

We Need to Change our Society, Not Human Nature

It is human nature to want to survive, which in prehistoric times meant eating food whenever it could be gathered or caught, and thinking about immediate consequences rather than future consequences.  Today, our human nature is still to survive, but surviving in today's world is much different than in prehistoric times. Now we can instantly gratify ourselves, and "surviving" is not as hard to do as before.

In present day, it is so hard for people to grasp how their actions effect the future, especially if what they do won't impact their own lives. What is the motivation for people to change their habits if it won't change their lives by next week?  Why should people choose to eat organic or buy a fuel-efficient car? If people aren't aware of how their actions impact the world around them and future generations, people will see no reason to change their actions.  When people see how their actions can harm themselves in the future and the health of the planet, it will motivate them to gain a new prospective on what their priorities should be.  

It is not really human nature that we need to change, but how our society works as a whole.  Without the motivation to survive, news about the degradation of the planet and health problems related to certain foods would not stir action.  People are now doing many things to try to reduce their impact on the world.  It is important to keep human nature because it is a motivator for change.




hlehman's picture

Human Nature

I think that human nature is a very difficult concept to fully comprehend.  It is something we know but don't, something we do but can't always understand why.  Human nature is something that develops over time and often change is beyond our control.  Our nature changes as we change and as society develops.  Things like technology and science effect our human nature because they change the way we think and process, and although we can contribute to the change, we cant force it on humans as a whole.  The fact is that human nature is our "nature".  It is what makes us human.  It is something inside us that we can try to adjust and fight, but in the end we can't stop being who we are and feeling what we feel.  

Calála's picture

Human Nature

When we were talking about human nature in class, we made the distinction between a binary argument for nature vs. nurture and a circular argument. The differences between these two ways to view the words nature and nurture struck me. Is human nature independent of how we are nurtured or socialized? Or does the nurturing lead to changes in human nature? Although I am wavering back and forth between these ideas, I think that the idea of nurture leading to changes in our innate nature is most convincing. Despite the fact that evolution is an extremely slow process, much too long-term for a generation to witness, I believe that depending on conscious choices about how we live and how our society behaves, we can change human nature over time. Looking at human nature in this way, leads to a loop between how we are socialized and how future generations behave.

ellenv's picture

Human Nature

 I also agree that it would take a lot of effort and time in order to change the nature of humans at this point. That being said, there have been various instances at which society has changed significantly. Often, these changes take time and require a lot of conflict. It is not possible to come about change on a societal scale in a short period of time. The movement towards lessening out dependance on fast food will take a very long time because at this point it is such an integral part of our way of life. I do not eat fast food all of the time, but it would be odd to me if it was eliminated all together. I dont know if it is possible to completely change human nature though. For instance, there are always going to be people are center their worlds around themselves, but there are also people who are all about helping out others. With these two extremes, it would be hard to make one become like the other and vice verse. There are some things like that which we just cannot change completely.   

Avocado's picture

human nature....

 ;I don't think human nature is subject to change. &nbsp;True, enforcing vegetarianism on everyone might eventually lead to some evolutionary change in our teeth or digestive tract, but how can we use a process that takes millions of years to help us change behavior now? &nbsp;I think that, especially regarding the very brief amount of time there has been of recorded human civilization, human nature has remained essentially the same. &nbsp;That is why the works of Jane Austen still appeal to us and are relevant~ because they focus on humanity, not culture. &nbsp;Reading her novels for me is like reading any modern story of personalities~ the only difference is the culture that surrounds it. &nbsp;If human nature is survival, and culture a means to ensure better, more efficient, social survival, then culture must be constantly changing to affect, constrain or encourage certain natural human behaviors, depending on what we think is most likely to aid in our survival and fulfillment. &nbsp;</p>

<p>As for invitro meat... I think it's our attempt to have it both ways. &nbsp;Which is silly. &nbsp;Have meat, or don't have meat. &nbsp;Trying to acquire some meat substitute (which will never be as satisfying as the real thing) is just asking for trouble. &nbsp;Like eating fat-free ice cream.</p>

rshen's picture

The "Green Noise" article

The "Green Noise" article made human nature much more clearer for me to comprehend.
In my opinion, humans stubbornly fight change in all respects. For instance, aging, which is a completely natural process, is fought against with loads of cosmetics, botox and face peels. So, back to the green noise idea, humans were willing to grasp onto the environmentally-friendly lifestyle, but once things traveled to the grey area, people tuned out.
Can we change human nature? Well sure, I do think it can be done, but only with a simple cause and effect approach, which is unrealistic. In my limited experience of 18 years, people tend to be too comfortable in their current positions to want to sacrifice for a goal they can't yet see the benefits of in their lifetime.
It's too convenient for someone to just go through a McDonnalds' drive through than research the conflicting healthy living articles. This tendency to stay the same is what I believe is human nature and although I do think we could alter it globally, I think it would have to be very clear what the ultimate goal would be.
thatcaliforniagirl13's picture

Human Nature?

I feel that there is no single, generic definition of the word nature. One person's nature can be quite different from that of the person he or she is sitting next to. Everyone has their own nature based on their experiences and how they were raised. For instance, it is natural for me to eat meat in almost every meal. However, it is not the same nature of a person that has never eaten meat in their life. Changing nature is something that can be done, but isn't done so easily. The fact that many people have different natures, different needs and desires, it makes it extremely difficult to make change happen.

If we were to change, it would have to start small. You can't all of a sudden change people's ways and expect a positive outcome.Chaos would arise. If the changes occur slowly, it is quite possible for people to adapt and grow accustomed to it without any complaints. Should we change? I'm not quite sure. However, somewhere along the line there will be a need for change.


jtm715's picture

Change is Required

 As someone else mentioned, I was also amazed by the amount of people that will populate the earth by 2050.  I think that we need a change in how we consume food, because most of it is processed food that we eat too much of, which I am certainly guilty of (there's a stash of Whoppers in the bottom drawer of my desk).  If we or the government begin to emphasize eating healthier foods, the demand will go up and lower the costs, solving the problem of lower income people who can only afford cheap processed foods.  I think the main reason for the problem is that people can't fully understand the effects of something that is so far in the future.  This is also the case for so many government issues, from climate change to the economic reform policies.  

Shayna S's picture

Yes and No; What is human nature? and A Different Question

Revkin asks, “Can we change human nature?" That depends on what we are defining as "human nature."

If we are referring to human nature as the instincts and biological processes that have evolved and are evolving with us, then a yes or no answer would depend on how much we are willing to change of our own biology through scientific methods.

However, if our definition is closer to that which are the values we use to guide our tendencies (what might be seen as "natural" because it has been established for a long enough period of time to have consequences in our lives), ways of life, and to establish institutions that we rely on, then the answer would be, historically, yes. Values can change over time. Examples range anywhere from slavery to lead usage in household products. On the topic of sustainability, look at the burgeoning awareness and communities for the slowing or stopping of global warming by human fossil fuel consumption, or, more appropriately, the conflicting values that might define a reader’s mindset after reading Dot Earth: I don't want to buy a product that was artificially created, but I don't want hunger to be a growing problem because of an increasing population and a decreasing supply of food. Conflicting values set the basis for change. They allow for a reassessment of what values a person possesses. In a highly generalized overview, this would ideally lead to a reassessment of influential groups’ values, then to new policy, and finally reform (the change we are searching for).

And now, the real question, “Should we?”

Previous posts have answered the main concerns that would lead a person to choose “yes”; a desperate need for more sources and options for the sustainability of the Earth and humanity. On the one hand, Earth is now being viewed as a limited resource for us, and if we do not force this change, we cannot survive. On the other, we may not have to forcibly change “human nature”. Human nature may, as Jess Ausubel points out in the same article, not need humans to actively pursue change. We will have “little choice.” The implications of Revkin’s question that a human force is needed to change humanity have little application to a society that is already aware of a problem and in the process of new policies and reform. The question therefore is not “Should we?” but “When will we?”


rmilitello's picture

..for sake of sustainability, yes!

It was somewhat shocking to me when I read that the population of the world is estimated to be around nine billion by 2050. If our resources are beginning to be a problem now, how can that possibly become any better 41 years from now? Resources would be much less of a problem, had we begun thinking about them 50 years ago...but because that did not happen people are going to have to alter their lifestyles sooner or later. I am always surprised to see people driving around in "gas guzzlers" simply because they like the style of the car, even though it is not sensible, nor eco-friendly for someone who does not have the need to haul anything but themselves. I mention this point because everyone has been living without limitations for so long that everyone has become stuck in their ways. No one wants to do anything out of their comfort zone, even if it is for the sake of the environment. I can't name everything I think is human nature and everything that isn't, but in my opinion it really does not matter. If people had to eat meat made in a petry dish...I would hardly say that is a sacrifice. People already live without meat, and if they can do it I'm sure others could live with a meat substitute. Meat will not look the same, but if it tastes the same...why not? It's about time people made a bigger sacrifice for the sake of sustainability. I don't know if we can change human nature or not, but I think we are all going to find out. 

ED's picture

Can't change fast enough

Realistically speaking, if the population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, and if many more drastic, negative environmental changes will be apparent by then if we don't act now to prevent them, then I say we cannot change human nature-- at least not fast enough. We can change some people-- there's a trend in vegetarianism increasing, for example-- but this is a global issue. Many rapidly developing, previously "sub-par" (I guess you could say) places (such as cities in China) are ambitiously trying to catch up with the US, but there are characteristics of US life that people in such places associate so strongly with the success of the US that they want to copy them, too. These behaviors include things like driving SUVs and eating red meat-- those actions symbolize a wealthy life to many non-Americans because that's what many rich Americans do (because they can afford to). The world can't afford this to be happening, and as Jared Diamond said (in some article written in '06...I forget..oops), these nations (China, others?) won't listen to the US now when the US tells them not to imitate us in these ways. We're hypocrits! they think. They'd be right. But it doesn't make what they're increasingly doing okay.

"The paper noted the reality of the climb up the protein ladder as countries move out of poverty, with global meat consumption at about 270 million metric tons in 2007 and growing at about 4.7 million tons per year."

All that said, I think we need to depend on technology-- especially food technology that is sustainable-- if we are going to have to sustain 9 billion people and prevent global environmental monstrosities happen sooner rather than later. As Jesse Ausubel said in Revikin's article : "Human nature is probably harder to change than technology."


I'm just being practical. Even if the whole world took our Food for Thought seminar, I don't think people would give up eating meat. It (food choice) is just a decision that's too personal to have suddenly changed by government or outside forces (I mean, I wouldn't mind, but people would "sneak" it-- and then what...?) Maybe people could be made to cut back....?


Serendip Visitor's picture

Change? maybe

To completely alter the essence of human nature is one thing. I don't think that's possible. The basics of human nature is set in stone: we need to eat, we reproduce, and we try to better our lives. However, certain aspects of human nature have changed over the years. It is not natural for our body to simply eat plants because we were made with teeth that could bite through meet. Yet we have found that it is possible to adjust our lives to reflect what we care about. If you notice, this is a very personal aspect of human nature - controlling what we eat and how we eat it – and if we are aware of a “problem” we can be open to altering our habits. But, on a grander scale, I don't know if there is such thing as controlling "human nature". Over the last few decades as humans have begun to eat fast food and cook with easier methods, we have become addicted to this easy way of living life. So, what really others may be calling human nature to eat such things, I think of as a need to eat certain foods. We are addicted. Can we stop this addiction? Probably. Will it take a full-fledged movement and a commitment to a greener earth? Yes. But is it human nature we are completely altering? No. We are simply changing our habits on a grand scale. And we cannot change the basic necessities that our bodies need.

Maiya Zwerling's picture

Human Nature - attempt two

 Side note, this is really frustrating because I posted on this on time and my post is no longer showing up. Oh well, I will do it again.


Human nature - survival, reproduction, eating (meat?), so on. These are things built into our DNA. They are how our body works and how we continue to survive. I don't think the basics to human nature are changeable at all. If they were, evolutionary, we may not exist. But within all of these categories, we make various choices that allow for variations in our path. For instance, although we have the instinct to survive, some people become more successful than others (possibly due to laziness). This is a choice on their part. They have made choices that have no allowed them to be as successful as another. Human nature is not modified - it is simply circumstantial. In the case of food, humans simply need to eat. Food is necessary for our survival. But do we need meat to survive? No. Eating meat is not human nature although our bodies have adapted to be able to do such. Eating in itself is human nature. I think it is odd excuses to say that humans eat meat because of they were built that way. Humans were built to be able to complete these functions but they were not built for the purpose of eating meat. They were built for the purpose of surviving. In general, we cannot change these three parts of life. Without them, the human race would not continue. We would not be able to survive. Human nature in this sense is not alterable. We do have the luxury to make choices that allow us to place ourselves on a scale of where we want to be in each of these three things. That is our choice when it comes to human nature. That is our leeway. 






Maiya Zwerling's picture


 (this is me reposting under my name, I am almost positive i wrote this!)


To completely alter the essence of human nature is one thing. I don't think that's possible. The basics of human nature is set in stone: we need to eat, we reproduce, and we try to better our lives. However, certain aspects of human nature have changed over the years. It is not natural for our body to simply eat plants because we were made with teeth that could bite through meet. Yet we have found that it is possible to adjust our lives to reflect what we care about. If you notice, this is a very personal aspect of human nature - controlling what we eat and how we eat it – and if we are aware of a “problem” we can be open to altering our habits. But, on a grander scale, I don't know if there is such thing as controlling "human nature". Over the last few decades as humans have begun to eat fast food and cook with easier methods, we have become addicted to this easy way of living life. So, what really others may be calling human nature to eat such things, I think of as a need to eat certain foods. We are addicted. Can we stop this addiction? Probably. Will it take a full-fledged movement and a commitment to a greener earth? Yes. But is it human nature we are completely altering? No. We are simply changing our habits on a grand scale. And we cannot change the basic necessities that our bodies need.