Publisher Articles


Human Nature

Dr. Nayef Al-Rodhan is a Philosopher, Neuroscientist and Geostrategist.

He is Senior Member of St. Antony’s College at Oxford University, Oxford, United Kingdom and Senior Scholar in Geostrategy and Director of the Geopolitics of Globalisation and Transnational Security Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Geneva, Switzerland.

He holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. He trained in neurosurgery/neuroscience research at the Mayo Clinic, Yale University and Harvard University.

He founded the neurotechnology programme, headed translational research and founded the laboratory for cellular neurosurgery and neurosurgical technology at MGH, Harvard. He was on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School, has published extensively on neuroscience research and won several research prizes. These Prizes include: The Sir James Spence Prize; The Gibb Prize; The Farquhar-Murray Prize; The American Association of Neurological Surgeon Poster Prize (twice); The Meninger Prize; The Annual Resident Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons; The Young Investigator Prize of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons; The Annual Fellowship Prize of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

“With these shortcomings in mind, our aim is to propose a new and more comprehensive framework for understanding global politics, which we term Symbiotic Realism. Symbiotic Realism may be described as a theory of relations in a globally anarchic world of instant connectivity and interdependence. It aims to go beyond the state centrism of realism, integrating a number of actors that have thus far been either underemphasized or ignored by the realist paradigm. It also attempts to provide a more complex understanding of the workings of the global system by identifying four interlocking dynamics, namely the predilections of human nature, global anarchy, interdependence, and instant connectivity. The actors we believe must be considered, given the substrates of human nature, the condition of global anarchy, and globalization, are: (1) the individual; (2) the state; (3) large collective identities; (4) international organizations (multilateral institutions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)); (5) transnational corporations (TNCs); (6) the environment; (7) women; (8) natural resources; and (9) information and communications technology (ICT). All are important and help to (re)produce the global order while, at the same time, being affected by it. Even in approaches that attempt to depart from the state-centrism of realism, it is often not clear where some or all of these actors fit. The biosphere (the environment and natural resources) is a particularly important addition, given that it is not usually thought of as an actor per se. We believe that it should be classified as a “reactive actor” since it is reacting to human activities in such a way as to call into question current levels of civilization and to transform aspects of the global system, for example, through global climate change. This type of agency is a non-conscious form of agency that originates from the Earth’s “deep structure.”” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 11-12)

“Moreover, in our view, there are some things that are given in nature – most notably human nature – and this is something that postmodernists deny. In our view, a middle ground has to be reached.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 12)

“Adopting a dual ontology helps us to capture the substrates of human nature more adequately. We concede that human beings are, indeed, motivated by the satisfaction of human needs, ego, and fear. Yet, there are also ways in which intersubjective meanings structure facets of ego that require an idealist ontology. We need to be sensitive to the ways in which a person’s specific cultural, gender, and class identities, for instance, shape the way in which they experience the same thing or, in other words, to be able to acknowledge that there are many “truths.”” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 12)

“The neurobiological predilections of human nature, indeed, indicate that the well-being of human beings depends in part on the possession of a positive identity and a sense of belonging. They also tell us that cultural arrogance and exceptionalism, which taken together may increase insecurity and the likelihood of conflict, are equally possible. Symbiotic Realism not only aims to understand the dynamics of the global system, but also contains a normative dimension. Whereas empirical approaches aim to describe how things are, normative theory concentrates on how things ought to be, suggesting moral norms, standards, and rules that should govern society in order to allow it to reach its full potential.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 13)

“Our conception of human nature tells us that perceptions are as important as material capabilities as motivators of state behavior.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 14)

“Like many other approaches to the study of IR, Symbiotic Realism attributes an important role to human nature. Based on the neurobiological predilections of human nature, it contends that morality in global politics is possible only if some form of overarching authority structure is able to prevent, or arbitrate in cases of, conflict as well as to guarantee justice, security, prosperity, and peace.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 65)

Symbiotic Realism is also premised on a particular understanding of human nature. In our view human beings may be driven by basic instincts or higher aspirations, but we do not conceive of this combination coming together in the way liberalism conceives it, that is, on the basis of an evolutionary movement from basic to moral beings as a result of the application of reason. We assume that people are driven by their basic instincts for as long as their survival is at stake. However, once their basic needs have been taken care of, they are capable of acting in a moral way. This process, however, does not occur in a vacuum. The capacity for moral behavior depends on an individual’s moral insight, education, and personal experience. We adopt a view that is based on the neurobiological predilections of human nature. In Diagram 1 below, we identify three facets of human nature: basic needs; ego; and fear. Like realism, we acknowledge the role of ego as a driver of human behavior. A predominant part of human nature is driven by basic survival instincts that ensure the satisfaction of basic needs such as food, shelter, and personal safety. Greed, however, may lead to excess. While we recognize that ego can lead to the pursuit of power and drive the desire for achievement, we add a number of other possible consequences of ego, depicted in the diagram. First, ego can lead to the desire to dominate others or to exercise hegemony. Second, it can also lead to a belief in one’s own exceptionalism. Third, it is behind the need for belonging and the need for a positive identity, since both imply being recognized as an individual of worth. Ego can also result in cultural arrogance when it is fed by notions of superiority.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 70-71)

“The fulfillment of basic needs, the requirements of ego, and the assuagement of fear all form part of human nature. Under certain conditions each of these facets may lead to any combination of greed, aggression, dominance, occupation, the pursuit of power, a belief in exceptionalism, cultural arrogance, alliances, the search for a sense of belonging, and the need for a positive self-definition. Given these various innate survival instincts and drivers of behavior, we should be under no illusions about the possibility of morality in the absence an overarching institutional framework capable of guaranteeing security and mitigating against excesses related to the fulfillment of ego and basic needs. It is clear from human history that human beings cannot prosper in an ungoverned state of nature.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 71-72)

“The prescriptions that follow from our conception of human nature are wider than those contained in realism and liberalism. Not only do they imply that some form of overarching governance is required to mitigate egregious behavior and to ensure security and justice, they also suggest that recognition, respect, and human dignity are equally important requirements of governance in the global system. Specifically, we identify the need to be valued as a central part of human nature, which implies that as human beings we require a sense of belonging and to be defined and to define ourselves positively. This insight brings questions of culture, civilizations, gender, and class to the centre of IR. Moreover, these questions take on even more significance in an interdependent, globalized world in which instant connectivity can have significant and immediate security implications. Our conception of human nature, therefore, implies that governance that ensures security and justice is a prerequisite for peace and prosperity. It also means that culture, and gender and class differences, and the various relations of inequality that they entail must be addressed by the study of international relations. Thus, while we share some assumptions about human nature and its consequences with realism and liberalism, our conception of human nature necessitates an approach to IR that is capable of capturing the way in which subjectivities and identities are constituted, as well as the impact of objective structures. In other words, it necessitates an approach that marries idealism and materialism in a way that goes beyond Wendt’s form of social constructivism and neo-Gramscianism.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 72-73)

“Our conceptions of human nature, outlined above, emphasize the need to possess a positive identity, including gender identity, and women’s agency must be valued. Sensitivity to large collective identities, however, highlights the importance of allowing women from different cultures to define themselves as they choose and not how people who believe their cultural values and norms to be superior try to do so for them.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 87)

“We adopt a dual ontology for a number of reasons. In the first instance, our understanding of human nature has both materialist and idealist dimensions. Human nature is motivated by the fulfillment of human needs, ego, and fear – but there are ways in which intersubjective meanings structure dimensions of, for example, ego. People’s identities are constructed on the basis of structures of shared meanings. Depending on someone’s specific cultural, gender, and class identity, the way in which they experience the same things may be quite different. We therefore need to acknowledge that there is no one universal “truth” that is “out there,” waiting to be discovered.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 96-97)

“Symbiotic Realism conceives the dynamics of the global system to be the result of four main interlocking dimensions: the neurobiological substrates of human nature; the global state of nature (global anarchy); interdependence; and instant interconnectivity resulting from globalization.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 98)

“The neurobiological substrates of human nature (basic needs, ego, and fear) imply several things. First, human beings are motivated by the fulfillment of their human needs, including food, shelter, and personal safety, although excess or greed may cause them to go beyond the satisfaction of these basic needs. Second, they are driven by needs related to ego, such as a sense of belonging and the need for a positive identity. Here also, ego may result in excesses, such as the drive for power and achievement, exceptionalism, cultural arrogance, or a yearning to dominate. Lastly, human beings may be motivated by fear, leading to aggression, the pursuit of power, the formation of alliances, and a desire to dominate. In order for morality to arise, the satisfaction of the basic needs for human well-being need to be assured. Therefore, in a global state of nature morality is likely to be scarce, because of the lack of an overarching institutional framework that is able to guarantee security and to mitigate excesses related to ego and greed. In this regard, we share with realism the belief that morality is unlikely to flourish unless global governance mechanisms are created to check excesses driven by ego and fear as well as greed. Only when basic survival needs are satisfied can people afford to behave morally. Many people still live in fear, are malnourished, lack shelter, or experience feelings of alienation. In fact, one or all of these factors may form part of some people’s daily existence. Homeless people in the world’s global cities, the inhabitants of refugee camps, street children, and migrants may all experience one or all of the above, be they in the Global South or North. Globalization, in the absence of adequate governance structures, has arguably increased social polarization, human mobility, and identity crises, which means that the basic survival needs of human beings are not being met.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 99–100)

“The neurobiological substrates of human nature suggest that a more comprehensive approach to security is required in order to avoid excesses that might lead to a spiral of insecurity.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 116-117)

“The predilections of human nature tell us that people need to feel that they belong somewhere and that they are valued by others but – without policies to successfully manage cultural plurality – xenophobia, prejudice, and alienation may result in tensions between different cultural groups.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 123)

Symbiotic Realism is therefore underpinned by the four interlocking dimensions of human nature, global anarchy, interdependence, and instant connectivity. The major actors are believed to be: (1) the individual; (2) the state; (3) large collective identities; (4) international organizations (multilateral institutions and NGOs); (5) transnational corporations; (6) the environment; (7) natural resources; (8) women, and (9) information and communications technology. Adopting a dual ontology that allows us to trace the role of perceptual schemes and norms as well as material conditions on the dynamics of the system provides a more complete conceptualization of these actors and their implications for the reproduction of the global order. Specifically, it captures how a state’s power may be partly cognitive and normative, as well as partly material in nature. This helps to account for the lack of serious balancing behavior where realists cannot. It also suggests that a responsible hegemon may provide the best means of taming the consequences of a combination of human nature, globalization, and global anarchy, and helps to highlight the importance of this nexus to relations between large collective identities, classes, men and women, and human beings and the biosphere. Symbiotic Realism also suggests what a governance structure that takes into account the predilections of human nature, global anarchy, and intensified interdependence and instant interconnectivity might look like.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 135)

“Insights from neurobiology, we contend, provide a more complete picture of the predilections of human nature and have important implications not only for how we conceive of individuals and states, but also for how we identify relevant actors and the significance of international anarchy.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 137)

“We also argue that the interdependence and instant connectivity linked to globalization are central to gaining an understanding of the implications of human nature and global anarchy.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 137)

“Based on our conception of human nature and globalization in a nonhierarchical global system, we propose a more comprehensive vision of the dimensions and dynamics of our interconnected world, which we call Symbiotic Realism. In this approach the major actors are believed to be: (1) the individual; (2) the state; (3) large collective identities; (4) international organizations (multilateral institutions and NGOs); (5) transnational corporations; (6) the environment; (7) natural resources; (8) women; and (9) information and communications technology.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 138)

“It [Symbiotic Realism] also indicates that a hegemony based on consent may provide the best means at present of mitigating the consequences of the interlocking dimensions of human nature, globalization, and global anarchy.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 138)

“Finally, we outline a governance structure that takes into account the predilections of human nature as we define them, global anarchy, and intensified interdependence and instant interconnectivity.” (SYMBIOTIC REALISM: A Theory of International Relations in an Instant and an Interdependent World by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 139)

“The theory [Symbiotic Realism] goes beyond realism, which focuses almost exclusively on state actors and self-help, and takes into account the new global circumstances of multiple actors. The theory accepts the realist description of the international environment as being essentially anarchic, but adds three other dynamics that characterise the global system of today. These are instant connectivity, interdependence and the predilections of human nature.” (THE THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL SECURITY IN A TRANSNATIONAL WORLD by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 122)

“Furthermore, the theory takes into account the predilections of human nature. It shares” (but also goes beyond) the basic realist assumption that humans are driven by the desire to fulfil their basic human needs, including food, shelter and personal safety. Moreover, the theory identifies fear as an important motivating factor that can lead to the aggressive pursuit of power and attempts to dominate others. While human beings may be egoistical and ruthless until they can live in safety, they are capable of ethical behaviour once these needs are met. Symbiotic realism uses the neurobiological conception of human nature, which states that the human ego is not simply preoccupied with the pursuit of power and domination, but also strives for a sense of belonging and a positive identity. Perceptions, and not just material capabilities, can thus equally motivate state behaviour.”” (THE THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL SECURITY IN A TRANSNATIONAL WORLD by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 123–124)

“According to symbiotic realism, four features characterise the 21st century global environment: anarchy, instant connectivity, interdependence and the predilections of human nature.” (THE THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL SECURITY IN A TRANSNATIONAL WORLD by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 126)

“Drawing on insights from philosophy, psychology, sociobiology and evolutionary psychology, I put forward a more comprehensive view of human nature. However, discussions of human nature would be incomplete without considering the findings of neuroscience. I therefore use recent research in this rapidly developing field to go beyond the approaches to human nature in the above disciplines.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 14)

“Second, this book explores some of the global and security implications of human nature as I conceive it. The way in which we approach security issues inevitably contains assumptions about what motivates human beings in particular circumstances, and how we attempt to address these issues is circumscribed by those assumptions. It is essential that we get these assumptions right. The cost of getting them wrong is paid in lives. I therefore set out some ways in which we might better facilitate political and moral cooperation, based on our present knowledge of the neuro-psychological impact of our neurochemistry.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 14)

“I refer to theories of human nature in a broad sense that includes philosophical, religious and spiritual, psychological and evolutionary approaches. Here, the main contours of the debate on human nature – are human beings good or bad, driven by passion or reason, constrained or radically free, moral or immoral – are addressed in greater detail.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 14)

“I then present my own theory of human nature, which I call “Emotional Amoral Egoism”. I argue that the human mind is not a tabula rasa, or a clean slate, as Locke suggested. Instead, the human mind is what I call a predisposed tabula rasa, with predilections stemming from its genetic make-up that later will be influenced by the environment. Humankind’s genetic make-up is essentially a code for survival. Survival instincts are emotionally based and neurochemically mediated. I therefore take issue with those who argue that human beings are primarily motivated by reason. This does not, however, mean that we should favour nature over nurture in the nature/nurture debate, or that we should conceive of human beings as prisoners of their passions. Even though we are in part motivated by our basic survival instincts, our environment – which broadly comprises our personal state of affairs, upbringing, education, and societal, cultural and global state of affairs – plays an important role in shaping our psyche and behaviour. Moreover, what distinguishes humankind from other species is our capacity for reason. We are therefore driven by both basic survival instincts and rational thought, although, alas, less frequently by the latter than we might like to imagine.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 14–15)

“In my view, humankind is neither always moral nor always immoral, but can be either at different times. Human nature is governed by general self-interest and affected by genetic predisposition, which implies that there are likely to be limits to our moral sensitivities. In my view, altruism is in the final analysis driven by survival motives that are emotionally based. In this sense, my approach supports Hume’s thesis. Recent neuroscientific findings confirm that we are primarily driven by our emotions rather than reason. Yet, since the human psyche and human behaviour are also the product of the environment, under the right circumstances and with deliberate effort, we are capable of acting morally, beyond the margins of what our genetic coding has primed us for.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 15)

Box 1
Summary of “Emotional Amoral Egoism”:
A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications
The enduring assumption that human behaviour is governed by innate morality and reason is at odds with the persistence of human deprivation, inequality, injustice, misery, brutality and conflict. In my theory of human nature, which I have termed “Emotional Amoral Egoism”, I argue that human behaviour is governed primarily by emotional self-interest focused initially on survival and, once achieved, domination. These facets of human nature are a product of genetically coded survival instincts modified by the totality of our environment and expressed as neurochemically-mediated emotions and actions. Reason, reflection and conscious morality are comparatively rare. The human mind is therefore a predisposed tabula rasa, resulting from both an in-built genetic code for survival and the environment. In my view, most human beings are innately neither moral nor immoral but rather amoral. They are driven by emotional self-interest and have the potential to be either moral or immoral, depending on what their self-interest dictates, and will be influenced in their choices by emotions and socio-cultural contexts. Circumstances will determine the survival value of humankind’s moral compass in that being highly moral in an immoral environment may be detrimental to one’s survival and vice versa. Indeed, our neuronal architecture is pre-programmed to seek gratification and “feel good” regardless of the reason. All apparently altruistic behaviour serves self-interest at some level. This insight has profound implications for the re-ordering of governance mechanisms at all levels with a strong emphasis on the role of society and the global system in maximising the benefits of what I term measured self-interest, while minimising its excesses, because human beings cannot be left to their own devices to do the “right thing”. Such reform offers the best chance of facilitating political and moral cooperation through the establishment of stringent normative frameworks and governance structures, that best fulfil the potential of human beings to exist and evolve in peace, security, prosperity and possible serenity. Further, humanity must never be complacent about the virtues of human nature. Therefore, everything must be done at all levels to prevent alienation, inequality, deprivation, fear, injustice, anarchy and the loss of the rule of law. History has shown repeatedly that humankind is capable of unthinkable brutality and injustice. This is often a result of what I call fear(survival)-induced pre-emptive aggression, which may occur no matter how calm the situation appears, although it is not necessarily inevitable. Moreover, where there is injustice that is perceived as posing a threat to survival, humankind will do whatever necessary to survive and be free. In such instances, “might” (military or otherwise) may not prevail or be the optimal solution. Human nature as we know it is, nevertheless, malleable and “manageable”. It may be radically modified as a result of advances in bio-, molecular, nano- and computational technologies. It will therefore be essential to establish a clear code of ethics regulating the use of these technologies sooner rather than later.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 16-17)

“In my view, there is no such thing as a tabula rasa or clean slate. While I agree with Locke that the human mind has no innate ideas, it is important to recognise that some aspects of human nature are motivated by basic survival instincts. These impulses are not conscious motivations. We are born with them as a type of in-built biological microchip for survival and, as such, they reflect the conditions under which our ancestors sought to survive. This does not mean, however, that the environment is unimportant. In fact, it is crucial to how we act on these instincts.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 65)

“The sixth facet of the general theory of “Emotional Amoral Egoism” is environmental influences. Thus far, I have emphasised the genetically inherited factors that contribute to shaping who we are. Yet, as is highlighted above, taking account of the biologically determined aspects of both our physiology and our psychology does not, as people may be prone to believe, mean that we have to negate the critical role that the environment plays in human nature. We do not have to choose between nature and nurture. In my view, we do have predilections towards certain behaviour as a result of evolutionary changes. Yet, how these innate characteristics are acted on will depend heavily on the environment, which I understand as our personal state of affairs, upbringing, education, and societal, cultural and global state of affairs, as depicted in Diagram 8. This chapter considers how environmental factors may contribute to human nature. Acknowledging what has been inherited from our Palaeolithic ancestors helps us to recognise the enormous significance of culture, society and education.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 113)

“In outlining a general theory of human nature and a specific theory of human motivation, I have aimed to construct a comprehensive approach to human nature. In a similar way to Maslow, I have sought to conceive of the whole range of human existence when thinking about human motivations. My specific theory of human motivation also aims to hierarchically organise aspects of human drive. Like Maslow, I argue that basic human survival needs must be satisfied before human beings are likely to act on the basis of conscious reflection and morality. Where “Emotional Amoral Egoism” differs from Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is in its consideration of both the physiological and the psychological determinants of an individual’s psyche and behaviour. It is also multidisciplinary in that it draws on religious, philosophical, psychological, evolutionary biological, sociobiological and neuroscientific insights. In doing so, I have attempted to produce an understanding of human nature that includes some insights from recent neuroscientific research.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 137)

“Yet, in my view, our genetic heritage helps to account more for the similarities in human motivation than the differences. Plato too highlighted the role that genetics (without, of course, using this term) play in shaping human nature.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 138)

“Accordingly, my theory of “Emotional Amoral Egoism” places greater weight on emotions than reason. It is therefore distinct from approaches to human nature that prioritise reason as a major motivating factor of human nature, such as that of Aristotle, which held that the purpose of humankind is to use reason in the pursuit of a virtuous and thus happy life. In his view, the employment of reason may overcome desire, which suggests that people are ultimately free to choose how to behave. Kant held that the capacity for reason is what makes humankind unique among animals. In a similar way to Aristotle, Kant believed that it is the capacity for rational thought that enables moral agency. Thus, for Kant, morality is a function of reason and not desires. In relation to the debate on the relative importance of emotions and the human capacity for reason, my position is closer to that of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Hume, Bentham, Darwin, Kierkegaard, Freud, Lorenz, Skinner and Maslow, who stressed the emotional aspects of human nature. In relation to whether moral judgements stem from emotions or reason, I identify with Hume, rather than Aristotle or Kant, who argued that moral judgements are prompted by emotions rather than reason.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 138)

“On the question of morality, I argue that humankind is neither moral nor immoral, but amoral. The conception of human nature put forward here therefore stands in contrast to Hobbes’ vision of human nature in which psychological egoism is the primary characteristic of humankind.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 140)

“Globalisation favours some more than others, whether referring to states or individuals. The emergence of multiple authority structures has expanded the sites of the political, but there is also a sense that there is an accountability deficit. Part of the problem is linked to political processes that are not inclusive enough, which brings the importance of governance to the fore. Participatory governance is increasingly recognised as a prerequisite for effective governance. Indeed, as is explained in chapter 5.6, my understanding of human nature tells us just this. It is vital that governance structures are put in place that give humanity the chance to take advantage of opportunities and meet challenges.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 148)

“Elsewhere, I have proposed a new theory of international relations in today’s instant and interdependent world that I termed Symbiotic Realism. Within this approach, I conceived of human nature as being driven primarily by basic survival instincts, which I defined in a broad sense to include basic sustenance, shelter, physical security and ego needs, such as a sense of belonging, recognition and respect. I argue that humankind is capable of realising higher ideals through the satisfaction of basic survival needs. My view of human nature expressed in this general theory of “Emotional Amoral Egoism” develops this conception of human nature further. I argue that human beings are driven by general self interest, fear, pain, grief, pleasure, ego needs and greed. Yet, they are also occasionally motivated by reason, and even less frequently driven by reflection and conscious moral judgements. We, as human beings, are therefore predominantly emotionally driven. What this means is that human nature is emotionally based. These emotions are evolved and neurochemically mediated.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 155)

“My approach to human nature focuses on the conscious and the unconscious, as well as the psychosocial and the physiological drivers of human behaviour. As such, it fits into neither the nature nor the nurture positions, although nature is granted greater relative importance as a motivator of human nature.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 155)

“My approach is, nevertheless, distinct from a Rawlsean conception of human nature and morality, because I take into account the neurochemical mediation of emotions, which reminds us that our emotions are not purely psychological phenomena, but also physiological. This has important implications for the way in which I conceive of morality. While human beings have a predilection for some moral sentiments under particular circumstances, they do not, in my view, possess an innate morality. Indeed, there is no evidence to suggest innate morality. It is therefore important to create the conditions under which the expansion of our moral communities may become more likely.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 156)

“The understanding of human nature that I propose embraces materialism, in particular. I acknowledge the biological aspects of human nature and emphasise the role of our genetic make-up in determining who we are. Yet, I also acknowledge the role of the environment in shaping who we are. Moreover, I collapse the nature/nurture, free will/constrained, materialist/ideational dichotomies by connecting the physiological and psychological aspects of our mental processes through neurochemical mediation. Doing so highlights that we have no innate moral compass that operates independent of circumstances. Human beings are neither inherently moral nor inherently immoral. While they have a predisposition for some moral sensitivities, their environment and general self-interest will determine how this predilection is acted on.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 156-157)

“Within my neurophilosophical approach to human nature, humankind is conceived of as primarily driven by emotions, which ought to be understood as neurochemically mediated and derived largely from our genetic makeup.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 167)

“At the national level, policy makers should take account of the emotional aspects of human nature rather than simply assuming that people will act rationally when they perceive some dimension of their survival or existence to be threatened.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 173)

“In “Emotional Amoral Egoism”, human nature is shaped by both genetic and environmental factors. The human mind, as is explained above, is better thought of as a predisposed tabula rasa rather than a tabula rasa, influenced both by genetically coded survival instincts and environmental influences comprising a person’s personal state of affairs, upbringing and education as well as the societal, cultural and global state of affairs. Consequently, conflict at the individual level is, in my view, likely to be the result of a complex interaction between biological and environmental factors.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 176)

“The domestic dimension also needs to be taken seriously because of the importance of the emotional aspects of human nature. Fear, pain, grief and reputation are particularly important motivating factors that are likely to have a significant impact on the likelihood that a state will enter into conflict or go to war. Politicians often take particular courses of action because of the constraints imposed by a domestic audience. Collective memory, identity and fear can push a country’s leadership to act in an uncooperative or antagonistic way. The influence of strong political constituencies may also affect foreign policy stances. A system of governance is thus an important factor in explaining the propensity for conflict. The issue of domestic “interest groups”, however, is as relevant to liberal democracies as non-liberal states. Indeed, some of the most mature democracies are marked by this problem. Good governance implies representative and effective governance structures as well as transparency, an independent media and electoral and political systems that are sufficiently free from undue influence. The education system also has an important role to play in good governance. Awareness of other people’s histories, past and present pain and fears as well as cultural symbolism are all essential ingredients in reducing the destructive consequences of fear, pain, grief and ego as motivations of human nature.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 184)

“In sum, this chapter has outlined some of the major approaches to understanding conflict at the individual, intrastate, interstate and inter-civilisational levels, respectively, and suggested how my approach to human nature, “Emotional Amoral Egoism”, may contribute to a better understanding of conflict.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 186)

“The conception of human nature outlined in the theory of “Emotional Amoral Egoism” indicates that basic needs should be conceived not only in terms of physiological needs, such as food, sleep and shelter, but also in terms of existential security linked to ego and identity. At a minimum, this implies making sure that people are adequately nourished, have access to a publicly financed social safety net, and do not feel that their physical security is chronically threatened. It also includes ensuring that people, as far as is possible, have a stable sense of self.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 195)

“In this book, I have proposed a theory of human nature called “Emotional Amoral Egoism”, which is based on a set of assumptions about human motivations that, in my view, comprise a comprehensive conception of human nature developed from a multidisciplinary approach. I argue that our minds are not tabula rasae as Locke suggested. We are not radically free to shape who we are, but this does not mean that we are prisoners of nature with no hope of improving the human condition. In fact, gaining a better understanding of human nature highlights just how fundamental conscious efforts to foster certain behaviour really are. We are neither demons nor angels, moral nor immoral, radically free nor entirely constrained by what we were born with. We might say that the human mind is a predisposed tabula rasa resulting from both our genetic make-up and the influence of our environment.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 201)

“Box 2 Global Policy, Political and Security Implications of “EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan
1. Human Motivations (See Diagram 5, page 74)
1. Promote representative, effective and accountable systems of governance in
keeping with local cultures and histories.
2. Promote the rule of law and consistent impartial and regulated law enforcement mechanisms that focus on rehabilitation and not just punishment.
3. Promote inclusive national, regional and global identities.
4. Adopt anti-racism legislation and promote diversity.
5. Human and societal security should be seen as complementary to state security, and security must be thought of in multi-sum and multi-dimensional terms (human, national, transnational, environmental and transcivilisational).
6. Regular monitoring of ethnic polarisation and distribution of public sector jobs.

2. Emotions
1. The power of emotions as drivers of behaviour, especially when survival is perceived as being at stake, needs to be recognised and taken into account at all levels of society and governance.
2. Policies should take account of the emotional dimensions of human behaviour rather than assuming rational action.
3. Protect the rights of the emotionally deprived or vulnerable.
4. Establish a strong constitutional basis for laws so that they cannot be changed at the whim of a particular political “mood”.
5. Promote basic human rights.

3. Genetic Make-up
1. Policies that assume that human nature is a tabula rasa (clean slate) should be reviewed and revised to reflect that man has an in-built genetic code for survival with no evidence for innate morality.

4. Heterogeneous Variations and Personality Traits
1. Recognition that there are individual variations in genotypes, phenotypes and thus behaviour, tendencies and predispositions. However, such variations are minor and found in all societies. There are as many variations within ethnic groups as between them and these differences should never be misused for reasons of ethnic profiling and discrimination.
2. Ensure early detection of psychopathologies, as well as availability and easy
and affordable access to appropriate medical and non-medical care.

5. Neurochemistry
1. Realisation that humankind is pre-programmed to “feel good” and to seek gratification/well-being regardless of the reason and consequences; therefore, normatively (through parenting, schooling, societal and global influences) couple “feeling good” as a result of gratification with constructive rather than destructive behaviour. Neuronal craving mediated through neurochemistry (e.g., the “dopamine rush”) will then ensure repetition of “feel good” behaviour that will have positive consequences for the individual, society and humanity as a whole.

6. Environmental Influences
1. Society should play a major role in promoting strong moral norms.
2. Promote justice, inclusiveness, equality, respect and opportunity as conflict prevention measures.
3. The role of education, the media, political statements, information and communication technologies, culture and governance structures in shaping the human psyche and behaviour locally and globally must be recognised.
4. Ensure that people’s basic needs are met.
5. Invest in life education on basic rights, human dignity, shared human destiny and transcultural and transcivilisational tolerance and dialogue as well as youth and after-school programmes.
6. Encourage self-reflection, critical thinking, self-regulation and recognition of shared global values through education, an independent media and information and communication technologies.

7. Behavioural Modification
1. Increase research into the neurochemical bases of addiction and other psychopathologies.
2. Establish early detection mechanisms and widely available and affordable psychiatric, psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational care.
3. Support groups for various problems should be subsidised.

8. Morality
1. Morality, if present, should not be relied on because it will be trumped by self interest in most circumstances.
2. All policies should be packaged with full awareness of the limitation of human nature (amorality, emotionality and egoism) in both the short- and the long-term.
3. Establish early warning mechanisms to detect and prevent violence and brutality in situations of near-anarchy (e.g., natural disasters) and within failing or failed states.
4. International cooperation is required to prevent anarchic situations developing and the unmasking of ever-present brutality and injustice that results from fear for survival in such situations.
5. Policy must always be compassionate and humane not only for moral reasons but primarily because it is in every state’s national interest in today’s interconnected and globalised world.
6. Establish incentives for the promotion of high moral standards in the global entertainment, literature and art communities.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 203-204)

“What I call emotional self-interest constitutes a major driver of human nature. Measured self-interest may, of course, have a number of positive consequences, including cooperation under some circumstances. However, excessive general self-interest risks leading to deception, criminality and conflict. In order to minimise its harmful effects, mechanisms need to be put in place that check unregulated general self-interest. Good governance should, for example, include adequate checks on government powers and effective law enforcement, as well as the defence of human rights and their extension to include basic physiological needs. ” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 205)

“This points to a fundamental issue that needs to be acknowledged both in theory and in practice, namely that the emotional aspects of human nature are more significant drivers of human behaviour than reason. What this means is that theories and policies relying on assumptions of rational action are flawed.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 206)

“Yet, my understanding of human nature suggests that if we can transfer the attributes of individuals to the collective level, we would be better advised to do so by taking into account the role of emotions as significant drivers of behaviour, rather than rationality. Theories of IR and public policies need to better reflect the whole gamut of human psychodynamics. Governance structures should also be informed by the more comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-civilisational conception of human nature captured by “Emotional Amoral Egoism”. The most vulnerable in society ought to be protected. Ethnic polarisation and the representation of minorities need to be regularly monitored as a means of ensuring human well-being and individual and societal security. A strong constitutional basis for laws ought to exist so that they cannot be altered at the whim of a political “mood”.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 206)

Symbiotic Realism contends that the basic structure of the international system has not fundamentally changed (the international system is anarchic, states seek security, and states are still dominant actors), but believes that there are other dynamics that characterise the global system, namely instant connectivity, interdependence and the predilections of human nature. Instant interconnectivity refers to the speed of communications and the flow of information, an element that fundamentally changes international relations and the ability of states to control information. Hence, the inclusion of actors other than states. Higher levels of interdependence between states has resulted from a growing number of common interests, leading to the rejection of the assumption that IR is a zero–sum game. Finally, the theory also takes into account human nature: “like many other approaches to the study of IR, Symbiotic Realism attributes an important role to human nature. Based on the neurobiological predilections of human nature, it contends that morality in global politics is possible only if some form of overarching authority structure is able to prevent, or arbitrate in cases of, conflict as well as guarantee justice, security, prosperity, and peace.” (“EMOTIONAL AMORAL EGOISM”: A Neurophilosophical Theory of Human Nature and its Universal Security Implications by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 29)

“Besides introducing multiple actors, symbiotic realism emphasizes three dynamics that decisively impact today’s global anarchic system: instant connectivity, interdependence and the predilections of human nature.” (NEO-STATECRAFT AND META-GEOPOLITICS: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 134)

“…that shared values and interests play in mitigating conflicts and hostilities among unequally powerful states. Additionally, the theory accounts for the predilections of human nature. Although humans are primarily driven by the desire to meet their basic needs, including food, shelter and personal safety, they are willing to observe ethical principles once these needs are met. Symbiotic realism argues that humans are not driven exclusively by the pursuit of power and domination but that they also strive for a sense of belonging and a positive identity. Perceptions, and not just material capabilities, can thus equally motivate state behaviour.” (NEO-STATECRAFT AND META-GEOPOLITICS: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, pages 134-135)

“When in danger, humans will put their individual survival instinct first. Human nature, then, is “a product of genetically coded survival instincts modified by the totality of our environment and expressed as neurochemically mediated emotions and actions”.” (NEO-STATECRAFT AND META-GEOPOLITICS: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 146)

“Totalitarianism is a major threat to humanity and can occur either suddenly, as in the case of the Soviet Union, or more insidiously, for example as in the case of Nazi Germany. In the past, totalitarian states have focused on military might and internal security persecutions that have resulted in mass murder, slave labour, migration restrictions, starvation and inequalities. These usually occur due to lack of insights into the motivations of human nature and through ignoring major looming catastrophic events, primarily linked to the concentration of extreme power in the hands of a few leaders who are frequently out of touch with the realities of their own populations as well as with others. In the past, the duration of such regimes has been short, but that does not preclude their recurrence – especially if new totalitarians can learn from past mistakes or weaknesses.” (POTENTIAL GLOBAL STRATEGIC CATASTROPHES: Balancing Transnational Responsibilities and Burden-sharing with Sovereignty and Human Dignity edited by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan,  page 23)

“Naturally occurring disasters are likely and could result in unspeakable destruction and misery. It is my personal belief, however, that the greatest risks are likely to be due to humankind’s aberrant behavior and misuse of the destructive aspects of various technological innovations when unchecked human nature is allowed to emerge in the absence of accountability, law and order.” (POTENTIAL GLOBAL STRATEGIC CATASTROPHES: Balancing Transnational Responsibilities and Burden-sharing with Sovereignty and Human Dignity edited by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 25)

“The recognition that human nature is largely influenced by neurochemically mediated emotional self-interest does not mean that we cannot do anything to modify human nature. This realisation means that attitudes and behaviour are explainable and transformable. We may do many things, but we will only repeat consistently what gratifies us. It is also true that we are unlikely to give up gratifying behaviour unless we replace it with something equally gratifying.
Strangely, at the neurochemical level the brain neither recognises nor cares about what produces this gratification – and therein lies the danger for humanity.” (POTENTIAL GLOBAL STRATEGIC CATASTROPHES: Balancing Transnational Responsibilities and Burden-sharing with Sovereignty and Human Dignity edited by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 26)

The sustainable history approach set out in this study views history as propelled by good governance paradigms that balance the tension between human nature attributes (emotionality, amorality and egoisms), on the one hand, and human dignity needs (reason, security, human rights, accountability, transparency, justice, opportunity, innovation and inclusiveness), on the other.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 13)

Human nature Discussion

“Rather than thinking in terms of multiple civilisations, we need to think in terms of one fluid human story with internal characteristics linked to the time and place in which it manifests itself. Thinking in terms of the totality of human civilisation requires an approach to history that allows one to conceive of a period of time that extends beyond that of the longue durée outlined by Braudel. A philosophy of history needs to encompass a span of human time that captures human nature and its mastery of its environment. Rather than thinking of competing and separate civilisations, we should think in terms of only one human civilisation (one human story), comprised of multiple geo-cultural domains that contain sub-cultures.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 34)

“Psychological approaches to human nature tend to challenge the notion that we are primarily rational beings.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan,  page 70)

“Societal influences also shape human nature. If society fails to provide for the basic needs of members of its population, it will reduce the likelihood of ethical behaviour. Basic needs, it should be remembered, concern not only shelter, food, safe drinking water and physical safety; psychological and identity needs are also central to human well-being. Society therefore needs not only to ensure welfare and health provision, but also an environment in which every member feels he or she belongs. An inclusive national identity that allows enough room for people to hold multiple identities forms an essential part of meeting society’s needs. The cultures to which we belong are important media through which we make sense of the world, and are vital building blocks of our collective identities. Recognising, and respecting, cultural group rights insofar as they do not violate individual human rights is equally part of ensuring that people’s basic needs are satisfied. Cultural and ethnic plurality should be viewed as adding to cultural vigour, just as molecular/genetic diversity gives rise to “hybrid vigour” manifested in resilience and strength. Religious and spiritual belief systems also help to inform how we think and act in the world.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 79)

“While the environment in which humans exist today has significantly changed, human nature has not. Human beings are therefore highly emotional and predominantly driven by emotions rather than reason. This does not mean that individuals who live their lives based on reason do not exist, simply that emotions drive a greater part of the human psyche than reason.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 97)

“Good governance needs to ensure that adequate mechanisms are in place to check harmful excesses related to human nature and to promote human dignity through encouraging more reason, security, human rights, accountability, transparency, justice, opportunity, innovation and inclusiveness.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 99)

“In broad terms, justice may be defined as the morally correct distribution of benefits and burdens. In non-contractarian conceptions, justice is a matter of truth. This approach is premised on particular conceptions of human nature as well as normative ideals.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 219)

“Yet, given that human nature is largely emotionally driven, implying that human behaviour is predominantly driven by emotional self-interest and that human beings have emotional needs that are fundamental to their well-being, dignity, to which justice is central, must be ensured.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 229)

“Sustainable history depends mostly on good governance, because human nature attributes need to be balanced against human dignity needs.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 243)

“Given human nature attributes (i.e., emotionality, amorality and egoisms), security is critical for achieving a sustainable history.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 297)

Human nature in a realist vision of the world is driven by fear, reputation and self-interest, with very little place allotted to free will and, thus, for the capacity to alter one’s nature. Any moral behaviour that may be displayed is thought to result from self-interest rather than altruism.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 334)

“Yet, human nature is composed of a greater number of facets than those emphasised by realism. As is pointed out in Symbiotic Realism, the realist conception of human nature neglects those elements that require an ability to capture the manner in which perceptions and norms may alter behaviour and may, indeed, be at least partly constitutive of self. This indicates that shifts in the distribution of military power may form only one explanation for change and transformation within the international system. Norms and perceptions are also likely to account for change and transformation.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 335)

“The basis on which statecraft is conducted as well as how it is conducted also has a critical role to play in achieving a sustainable history. Neo-statecraft and Meta-geopolitics: Reconciliation of Power, Interests and Justice in the 21st Century by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan (2009) explains that statecraft has to contend with three factors: human nature, conceived as primarily emotionally driven; the need to manage relations with other states and to employ foreign policy tools to ensure that the state flourishes and is secure; and the question of how power should be employed.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 355)

“No matter how human nature changes it will still need to be balanced with human dignity needs through mechanisms of good governance.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 417)

“The transition from trans-human to post-human would be completed with the creation of cyborgs or robots endowed with the same human nature, such as an emotional repertoire, the capacity to reason, consciousness and spirituality.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 428)

“I conceive of history as propelled by the tension between human nature, on the one hand, and human dignity needs, on the other.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 435)

“It is important to grasp that human nature has been crafted during this relatively short period of time and owes much to the challenges faced by early humans. They were endowed with a predisposed tabula rasa rather than a tabula rasa or clean slate. As a result, human beings are largely driven by emotional self-interest, which equips them with the capabilities required to survive in their environment.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 435)

“The ability to successfully address multidimensional security threats also depends on developing the capacities to respond to such threats in a coherent, coordinated and legitimate manner. Security depends on moving beyond the state-centric paradigm of realism and engaging in burden-sharing, as is outlined by symbiotic realism, which identifies four interlocking dimensions of the global system: the predilections of human nature, global anarchy, interdependence and instant connectivity.” (SUSTAINABLE HISTORY AND THE DIGNITY OF MAN: A Philosophy of History and Civilisational Triumph by Nayef R.F. Al-Rodhan, page 440)

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