Thank you for the opportunity to write to you. My question is around human nature – why do we seem to always take 2 steps forward and 1 step back? Can we ever achieve harmony and peace with ourselves and our planet? Thank you! Melissa

Philosopher's reply

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for your questions! These are things I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about myself! So, as for why we seem to take two steps forward and one step back, I think that’s just part of being human, we need mistakes to learn. I think It’d be weird if we marched forward in a perfectly straight line (as much as we may wish we did); we’re just not that kind of thing.

As for whether we will ever achieve harmony and peace with each other and the planet, this is a pretty difficult question. I do believe that it’s at least possible in principle, but whether it actually happens is another thing entirely. I used to spend a lot of time worrying about whether it would but I never found an answer, and thinking about it made me anxious. So I started thinking about what it means to live in ‘harmony’. After coming across Gaia theory, this became much clearer. For us to live in harmony, we need to each understand our part within Gaia and play it well; this is all anyone can do. So now I try not to focus too much on what will actually happen and instead focus on trying to make my actions (however small) count towards achieving harmony.

I hope this helps a little!

Love Amber x

Philosopher's profile

Amber Sahara Donovan


Iris Murdoch’s philosophy has had a profound effect on me. Reading The Sovereignty of Good gave me the tools to salubriously transform my experience of the world, which subsequently led to a complete re-orientation of my perspective on ethics, and on the scope and potential for philosophy more broadly. This fresh perspective played an important role in my decision to pursue a career in academic philosophy and I continue to remind myself (daily - and to great effect) to pay loving attention.

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