In a previous post, we saw a quick and dirty demonstration of human exceptionalism. In short, humans stand out from the rest of the animal kingdom not just in degree, but in kind.
What that means, in other words, is that human nature is something unique and valuable – one might say precious, to be treasured.
Among those who believe humans are exceptional, but are pessimistic about it, are the misanthropes. You will hear them refer to humanity as a virus, as something needing to be limited – or exterminated.
If Nature teaches us anything, it’s that self-loathing indicates a disorder. Quick: What else in all the Universe do you know that loathes itself, other than a human?
Not even a virus does.
In fact, the misanthrope’s very premise, that the Universe would be better without us, justifies this argument that self-loathing denotes a disorder. In other words, everything is in order, except us.
What is the disorder?
Genesis does, indeed, give us the answer, but let St. Paul summarize it*:
What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;there is no one who understands;there is no one who seeks God.All have turned away,they have together become worthless;there is no one who does good,not even one.”
Again – how else will you understand the misanthrope? Do you suggest that humans are entirely and all good? If there is some failing, some disorder, what explains it?**
There is a reason you let the heretic talk: If he goes on long enough, he will prove your point.
Anyway, the misanthrope may wish to respond that, at the start, I suggested that human nature is unique and valuable, to be treasured. I did. He will say, “What makes you say that?”
And I respond: What restrains you from living in the wild, like a beast? Human nature – and the resulting society – are obviously better, even when they’re worse.
**Damn bronze-age religion, it’s like they knew something about human nature.