Hearts & Minds - Information
Beyond the Dark
Side of Human Nature
Often, we can experience "technical" difficulties
created by our very human natures. This may include:
discounting good ideas brought up by those we disagree with. At its worst, this fuels awful violence.
Both sides cheer terrorism by their "freedom fighters" while using similar acts
on their enemies that "inspire" further bloodshed (tragically
"confirming" how horrible their enemy is and why their own extreme
measures are justified).
In most disagreements, both sides have valid, valuable
ideas. We can accomplish much more by building on common interests.
Harsh judgments: It is easier to
condemn others than to work on our own faults.
can also do things to groups that we would never do to individuals.
Superficiality: We support an
ideal. We feel good about supporting it. And at least in small ways we do. For
example, some people feel like environmentalists when they recycle
some beer cans - but
remain very wasteful on a much larger scale.
attractive, emotional appeals: For example, voting for candidates based on what
they present in 30-second commercials and sound bites.
Hypocrisy: It is much easier to
support an idea than carry it out ourselves. One prominent anti-abortion leader had
Inertia: Getting caught up
in activities because we are used to them, neglecting better alternatives.
Grasping the tangible:
It's much easier to relate to something we can see or touch
first-hand. Unfortunately, things happening halfway around the globe,
including in Iran, North Korea and Iraq, may be far more urgent
Taking the short-term
easy way: Politicians often win or lose elections based the
state of the nation and its economy just before an election. Company
stock is bought and sold based on the most recent, short-term profit and
We can add more ideas to this "hall of shame" - other all-too-human limitations. They have done plenty
of damage throughout history.
But we can also transcend our faults and focus on the positive: We are also capable of great altruism, insight and creativity. Understanding our limits makes us more
By Bill Blackman, Hearts & Minds
founder/president. More of his thoughts are in the Hearts &
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http://www.heartsandminds.org/ideas/darkside.htm - latest changes October 24, 2006
this article © 1997 and 2006 by Bill Blackman,
illustrations © 1997 by John Michael Jones.