Human beings are social beings rather than being self-centered mainly because they live and work in a social set up where they interact with one another. Humans solely depend on each other for various needs. This also means that our actions do not exist in seclusion, which suggests that every act executed willingly or unwillingly, has its origin somewhere. As human beings, we are also altruistic which means that we somehow in act towards the interests of others. This is evident when we are offering security to other people or when we develop empathy whenever others are in problem. This disclaims the assertion that we are hedonistic, which implies that all organisms seek pleasure and avoid pain eventually developing a strong sense of self-interest. In my view, humans are more altruistic than they are hedonistic. This is because human beings exist in a social setting, where they interact with other beings, hence developing a sense of interest toward others.
As human beings, we manipulate the environment for our own purposes rather than the environment manipulating or controlling us. Moreover, instincts do not highly govern us as they control other animals. On the other hand, certain aspects like foresight, expectation and anticipation influence our actions and to some extent, we create our own environment. However, even as we manipulate the environment to fit our own purposes, our immediate environment slightly shapes the people who we become. For instance, when one changes residency from the rural areas to urban centers, his behaviors will ultimately change as driven by the conditions of the new environment. Moreover, more of social pressures rather than chemical conditionings influence our behaviors. This is because, we tend to copy what others are doing and we therefore act in a certain way to fit in the society.
I assert that if human beings would act alone without any social influence, they would not develop diverse adaptations for survival. This is because we are inclined to depend on the social pressures that surround us. People will act in a certain way, not because it exclusively comes from their mind but rather, because either others are doing it or there is some social pressure. Similarly, our behavior is highly shaped by the society that we live in. for instance, it is common to find that people living within the same geographical region behaving in the same way. What others are doing, what they think and what the society dictates to us highly affect our behavior. Perceptions in the physical environment also influence our behaviors. For example, when one sees food, he is likely to develop hunger and hence eat the food.
People will always behave differently because they have different perceptions for their actions. Any individual is of the view that he or she is 'correct' in what he considers or believes in. For instance, we may find someone behaving in a very awkward manner according to us, but the person may be behaving in the best manner according to him. This explains that a person can have all sort of misinterpretations, delusions, false information and misconceptions, and be inclined unto them so that the person feels he is doing the right thing. Moreover, different groups will behave differently because of the social set up of these groups.
For instance, you will find students in a university behaving differently from students in a college. This is because the two institutions have different settings. Culture also has some influence on people’s behaviors in that people of the same culture will behave differently from people of another culture. The social forces that are inherent particular groups often drive collective group behavior. For instance, doctors will behave differently from police officers because of their different roles in the society.
The theory that I have developed agrees with the Freud’s theory of socialization. He argues that young children have to develop an appropriate balance between there natural biological drives (for instance sex and hunger) and their acquired social ideas concerning right and wrong. They will need this balance to become mentally healthy adults (Brinkerhoff et al, 57). In reality, these social ideas are not inherent but they get into a child through social integration and nurturing.
On the other hand, a theory that conflicts in some parts with my theory is the theory of Treatise of Human Nature. This asserts that whenever humility or pride motivates us, our own interest drives our outlook. We experience one or other of those conflicting affections depending the practicality of our ideas. In addition, when we are in a situation of pride or humility, whatever other concerns we have, we are always considering them with respect to ourselves; or else they could not stimulate these excitements, increase, or reduce them in the slightest way (Hume, 149). On the other hand, in my developed theory, the social situation at hand drives the feelings of pride and humility. For instance, one cannot humble if there is no another being to demonstrate this humility.
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