How humanity becomes human Ruthless Criticism

Translated from Sozialistische Gruppe, Erlangen

The yearning for the obedient will as nature

How humanity becomes human

One can do a lot of thinking about HUMANITY. One then enters into pretty wild speculations about whether it turns from dust to dust, whether it tends to progress, whether it is basically good or evil, and so on. One comes up with determinations that are supposed to set human history in some way, usually with the more or less explicit injunction that HUMANS ought to abide by their nature. These ways of thinking are clearly reminiscent of articles of faith.

One is supposed to think it’s completely different when political science, sociology, pedagogy, etc., not only speaak of HUMANITY, but even use it to justify the state, the society, and the education system.

We are talking about the anthropological branch within every science. The state is needed because otherwise humans would not be truly human. Society is needed because otherwise humans would perish in disorientation. The economy is needed in order to mediate between the self-indulgent humans and the scarce goods. Education is needed because otherwise babies would be stuck in helplessness. This derivation of the most diverse institutions of our society from HUMANITY – a being that is not known to anybody, if they are being honest – should even be accepted as the starting point for academic disciplines that claim to be completely empirical and realistic.

Nobody tries in a seminar to prove the claim that HUMANS without toothbrushes do not become HUMAN. But it is supposed be plausible from the outset that all the institutions that are essential to our state are part of the process of becoming human: State, economy, education, laws are absolutely necessary. All institutions that are otherwise not necessarily considered to be the fulfillment of human happiness should suddenly – at least in principle – be extremely philanthropic and only there for and because of humanity?


It goes without saying that this fundamental “what” question is not asked out of curiosity about the discoveries of biology and medicine. It is asked out of the need to have a concept of human nature. It is about the moral effort to commit people to a catalog of “Thou shalt ...!” rules and to then legitimize this commitment as the nature of humanity.

From this point of view, not a single human need is mentioned when talking about what HUMANITY needs. The fundamental need that is mentioned is to BECOME HUMAN. Without the institutions cited by the respective disciplines, humanity would revert back to a stage of animal existence which is left unexplained. Human existence by itself, without all the prerequisites, is not a real one.

The basic structure of HUMANITY is therefore the same in all sciences:

HUMANITY – rather animalistic but with an urge for higher things

The first half of the determination of its essence does not stop at its physical existence, but labels it according to fairly well known moral standards: Economists say HUMANITY lacks abstinence; political scientists say it is violent and unruly; sociologists say disoriented; pedagogues say helpless. HUMANITY is supposed to be characterized from the outset by the fact that it is missing something. It is defined in such a way that it necessarily needs a second half because its first half is already defined as a case of need. HUMANITY should be the absurdity of a deficiency, a defect that wants to rememedy itself.

Secondly, humanity supposedly needs institutions that correspond to its ability to restrain itself. To this end, it should

a) have a need
b) but be incapable without
c) the respective institution to help it become its better half.

Humanity is animalistic, i.e. it would behave badly if it did not at the same time have the need to stop doing so. It therefore summons institutions that help it correct its nature because on its own it would not be capable of it.

So the institutions are quite dei ex machina and can really only be explained superhumanly. Where then does the ability come from which provides these institutions to humanity, which despite its need to get a grip is unable to?

Or to put it another way: why do humans create institutions and rules that they then have to obey?

The paradox, one that is common to anthropological thinking in all disciplines, is that institutions are there for humanity and fulfill its essential nature in that they appear in relation to them, endowed with power, as a contrast. The apologetics of state, society, education, etc., are therefore as follows: These are institutions that appear in opposition to humanity. But it is precisely in this that they fulfill the need of its essential nature of being animalistic and wanting to straighten itself out.

On the one hand, this quite fundamentally legitimizes the ruling institutions of this society: humanity could not survive without them. On the other hand, their violent character is not entirely denied. On the contrary: although the state is not spoken of as absolute force, the fact that it is endowed with power and possibly comes into opposition to humanity with their wolf-like nature seems quite natural and good. The trick is ensured by the fact that rule appears as a necessity, that it is precisely the antagonism of institutions that is presented as a human need.

And in the presence of this need, none of the existing institutions can actually discredit themselves. After all, they exist. What more do people need?

What does the state do for humanity?

Without the state, humanity would only be commiting mass murder and destruction: this is the derivation of state power in political science. It is clear to the political scientist that humanity is violent by nature. This makes a closer examination and explanation of actual acts of violence superfluous. This state derivation also means that asking why someone would steal someone else’s property, beat his wife or kill people in war is a completely inappropriate question because the state, which it introduces as a power for preventing violence, always appears as the determining subject on the side of rectifying this: as an authority that maintains property relations, turns love into legal relationships, declares and wages wars, etc. For the same reason, asking how on earth one is now doing with the state in matters of violence is also completely inappropriate.

In political science seminars, where this justification of state force from the violent nature of humanity becomes the second nature of humanity anyway, so not worth mentioning, there is then all the more room to give free rein to a bad opinion of humanity: An extended family is supposed to be at loggerheads over the use of one bathtub – that’s how humans are, they couldn’t complete the simplest hygienic task without a state authority over them equipped with the necessary force. Opera tickets, which as always are in much too short supply, lead to chaos among culture lovers and this makes it necessary for an authority to organize the legally binding distribution of tickets with the police – this creates opera seats which apparently a reasonable person would not want to do without even if they are only available at the price of a force apparatus equipped with all the necessary means. And finally traffic lights: without the state, people would violate all the rules and prohibitions – which would not exist without the state.

The far-off and silly trifles mentioned above do not really fit together with the grandiose things that are supposed to follow from them. But that doesn’t matter when the aim of the proof is clear and the pattern of reasoning has been mastered. Order is needed when everything that humanity does leads to chaos, and the fact that order is synonymous with the order that the state establishes and guarantees with its power is clear to everyone involved – wherever this order exists …

This politological non-human who is violent for no reason is intentionally constructed so that, against this background, force then appears as peacemaking. In these images, state violence does not ultimately prevent any specific human interest, but the gratuitous tyranny of human nature. In this way, the violent character of the state disappears into the sheep wool of the incontestable order. The state, which has the monopoly on violence, incorporates all human-animal-wolfish aspects, and as the chief wolf it is supposed to guarantee harmony?

Such a thing can only succeed in the case of a human nature that is at once raging randomly and obedient; a human nature that implausibly attacks everything around it and at the same time has the ability to obey the state and thus overcome its own nature.

What does society do for humanity?

Sociology and other sciences are no different from political science in the stupidity of the process of deducing the necessity of institutions from human nature. However, they naturally see the nature of human beings somewhat differently because they are supposed to justify something else: society.

What do humans need, according to sociology? Civil behavior, of course. Who gives it to them? Who do you think? Society. So what would happen without society? Humanity would not be viable in its behavioral insecurity.

Anyone who is not yet familiar with the world of sociology is advised to study its examples in this regard. While political scientists visualize a wolf inside humanity that is constantly running red lights, stealing and assaulting, and thus tries to derive the harmony of human coexistence as an achievement of state violence, sociologists see human nature differently. In their derivation, they aim to show that humans need, in contrast to happenstance, rules. Consider Dahrendorf’s little known derivation of society from human interaction:

“Let us assume that our behavior is subject only to the laws of random probability: when we shake someone’s hand in greeting, there is an equal chance that he will spit in our face or overlook us or kiss us on the forehead or threaten us with a gun or even shake our hand; when we board a train, we do not know whether it will take us to Rome or Moscow, Madrid or Copenhagen or just to the next station. When we try to sell a car, we don’t know whether we’ll get 4000 or 10000 marks or 50 dollars or a punch in the face for it (and none of these series is complete) – in short, the idea of merely random human behavior conjures up an image against which even the bellum omnium contra omnes is still a world of reliability and fellowship.”

To put it nicely, the basic message of sociology is: Even a society with the ugliest conditions is still better than none at all! How can this idea be proven?

For this, sociologists also imagine human nature to be a contradiction: On the one hand, it wants something; on the other hand, it is incapable of making a decision. Only on this basis does a rule then appear, i.e. a restriction of behaviour as an enablement of the same. If humans were really driven by chance, then they would probably not care much about this whole painting of insecurities. The sociological image is based on an anarchist who demands security.

Because human behavior has so many possibilities, it can’t realize any of them, is the logic. It is precisely humans’ freedom from instincts or the like that justifies their inability to act. Sociologists imply that humanity has no footing in its search for a foothold. This kind of orientation is then offered to them by society from outside, but at the request of the second half of their nature. It is only through this idea of a human being who is so full of possibilities that the idea of regulation, of institutional determination becomes a service of society for the human being.

So what does sociology say about the human will? It wants a regulated will. It legitimizes any rule over humanity by presenting a portrait of humanity as a servant who calls for its subservience: incapable of thinking about its actions, humans nevertheless create rules for themselves which they can then cling to. They have no idea what they are actually doing – so they are helped by a dictate which they are supposed to have created themselves. Therein lies the freedom of their nature to overcome “behavioural insecurity” through dictated obedience.

Sociology goes so far as to deny the forcible character of laws and institutions, unlike political science: It sees norms only as the wishes of the members of society. So that science asks itself: how can humanity’s attachment to a society that corresponds to it be shaped more closely?

What does education do for humanity?

Pedagogues by profession are inclined to a particularly subtle variant: they initially note a lacking instinct in HUMANITY and, measured by this, identify an excess of impulse: Both together, of course, require teaching so that human beings become human.

The many affectionate animal comparisons with which professors have made names for themselves always prove the same thing: whether it is the “secondary nidifugous birds” [birds that leave their nests early] (Portmann), whether it is its “instinct reduction” (Lorenz), whether it is the “biologically defective creature” (Gehlen) – all want to make the “helplessness” of babies into an argument about humanity’s essential nature. The fact that a baby doesn’t plant the potatoes he eats is intended to discredit him in relation to ANIMALS. The human “‘matures in the womb to the stages of hatching, foaling or calving with open sensory organs and trained movement systems’ (Portmann). Nevertheless (!) – and this distinguishes humans from other higher mammals – the child is much more helpless at birth than, for example, the foal, the calf or the baby elephant.” (College Pedagogy 3, 52)

“The helplessness of the newborn child is expressed in its lack of physical endowment, but above all in its lack of drives and instincts that could govern his behaviour in a species-specific environment.” (Schiefele, Study booklets, 1, 10)

The imprinting of the ANIMAL consists in the fact that it bonds instinctively – not exactly a biological truth. The first ideal of educators is the fixed action patterns of human behavior. This makes humans look foolish, in their view. They are not as inflexible as their idea of an animal. At the same time, they have the ability to be taught modifiability – by educators. Although

“(human drives) again and again exceed the limits of the self-created world with new desires. The drives of humanity obviously aim at infinity.” (Roth, Pedagogical Anthropology, 1, p. 118)

But at the same time humanity can be educated:

“It is necessary to educate people so that responsible values based on an understanding of facts and values prevail over subjective, emotional and egocentric opinions.” (ibid., p. 117)

In education, a human learns to meet his responsibilities (“subjectively” and “egocentrically”). And this should be his true nature!

How does the educator see HUMANITY?

As the potential of uncontrolled drives which he wants to control so that the drives become something at all. He does not claim that education goes against human drives. No: By channelling the uncontrolled potential, he helps it come into its own in the first place. Thus the legitimation of the educational conflict becomes the actual educational authority:

“We are not at their (the drives) mercy, however, like animals, if education has succeeded in building up in us a superior person who is able to intervene in this world of impressions, instinctive impulses etc. in a regulating and controlling manner.” (ibid. p. 176)

The dual nature of humanity:
The will to submission

HUMANITY is a wolf with a propensity for good; a bunch of hooligans who long for rules; a bundle of drives that want to be guided. This is a point of view that always revolves around one problem: the relationship of humans to state institutions. It is not without reason that bourgeois scientists construct a conflicting human nature: each one recognizes in the form of quasi-natural core characteristics that humans pursue their needs in order to talk badly about this side at the same time. No one argues that the human is a slave, a subject – but that he wants to submit, that it is precisly his needs that can only be met if there is rule. That is what they all want to justify. This is how democratic science sees free will: born to subordinate itself.

So bourgeois science does not simply say: Our state is good. No: it already wants to give a good reason for it, as well as for education and society, and a total, unquestionable one at that: Without a state, society, education – no humanity; a specious conclusion that elegantly avoids establishing even one characteristic of the existing state and declares its for humanity. But this also means that democratic scientists have no standards by which to judge institutions. The main thing is that they exist; then the condition of the intellectual elite has already been fulfilled.