Reading The Lessons of History by Durant, Part I


One of my favorite books is The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant. I have read it more than once. Not because I have a bad memory, like I’ll forget it all once I close the book, but because good books always worth re-reading. I will post my notes from the book here.

On Chapter V, Character and History, the authors start “Society is founded not on the ideals but on the nature of man, and the constitution of man rewrites the constitutions of states.” Talk about biological basis of society! Very interesting!

The authors define human nature as “the fundamental tendencies and feelings of mankind.” They call instincts “most basic tendencies.” They believe “human beings are normally equipped by ‘nature’ (here meaning heredity) with six positive and six negative instincts, whose function it is to preserve the individual, the family, the group, or the species” In other words, people are born with these instincts.

The interesting part is the author’s description of human nature through their “Table of Character Elements” with 6 positive and 6 negative instincts.
To be continued tomorrow…

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