Aristotle refers the human race as a rational animal. Considering the two words that he used which is rational and animal, we can have an idea what is the implication of this definition in the theories of criminology. Being an animal by definition and nature, the human race possesses the desires and instincts of a creature of the jungle. Humans feed, sleep, mate and socialize with other creatures. Being a rational animal, human beings had the capability to direct its action towards things that are far beyond what the eyes can see.
It can comprehend concepts that are beyond the instincts like justice and inequality (MacIntyre, 1999). With this in mind and as we characterize the two sides of human nature, we can clearly see how each one of this two natures are incompatible for each other. These contradictions brought a perspective on how we can interpret human actions in relation to criminology. As we understand these paradox and dichotomy that lives inside the human mind and human nature, we can then provide a perspective on explaining the occurrence of crime and why people commit crime.
As stated, there is a never ending battle between the two natures of humanity namely its animal nature and rational nature. To understand the opposition of the two natures, it is necessary for us to give a case in which they provide different terms of action. Suppose that you and your friend are stuck in an island without any food or water to eat and drink. The island is also dead that you cannot extract any resource from it that can feed your hunger and quench your thirst. You stayed there for almost four days without anything to eat.
You know that you will die sooner or later unless someone can bring you some food. Your animal nature will say to you that you must kill your friend and feed on his flesh for you to survive at least for some days until a rescue will arrive. However, your rational nature will say to you that you should not do this at all cause because killing is strictly prohibited using the grounds of spirituality and rationality. Rather than killing your friend and feeding on his flesh, you will just wait for any help and rescue or just die there.
This classic example had showed us the two sides taken by the two contrasting nature in the human mind. Our animal nature will permit us to do things that can ensure our survival even at the cause of someone else or something else. In the animal kingdom, it is common for us to see animals that feed on their young in cases that foods are not available. The animal nature permits us to do things that will be otherwise restricted by our rationality. Our rational nature on the other hand will try to transcend our focus not on our mere survival alone.
Though our rationality will never teach us to totally withdraw from our needs for survival, in cases wherein these needs contrast some other ideals of rationality like justice, equality and fairness; we are obliged to settle for the quest toward these ideals rather than the satisfaction of our nature. Our rational nature treats humanity not as mere animals who are just programmed to satisfy their instincts and desires but rather a higher being who can comprehend things that are far beyond things of survival.
In this sense, we can argue that crimes or criminal acts are the domain of our animal nature. Crime happens whenever, our animal nature who is ought to be subsided in case of conflict with our rational nature manage to get up and bury the influence of rationality. Arguably, all crimes are products of our animal nature in which our instinctive desires like food, sex and dominance manage to get so high that it erases our rationality.
Originally, our rational nature can control these instincts and desires, however in cases that some elements enter in the equation that has the ability to blur this rational function of our mind, it loses its capability to halt our animal instincts and with these cases, a crime is made happen in the pursuit of the satisfaction of the carnal desires. There are many factors that can affect our rationality. Inventions such as drugs and alcohol possess the capability to blur our judgment and disable our rational faculty.
Another element that can disable our rational faculty is the emotion that managed to be so strong that it can force us to do things that we will never do if we are not under the influence of it. Some upbringing can also put at bay our rational faculty. Some family environments that are characterized by unethicality and immorality can sink our rational judgments. Some people that do crimes that are neither the influence of drugs and alcohols or even strong emotions can be commonly categorized in this section (Regoli & Hewitt,2010) .
The question of human nature can be regarded as one of the most important question to ask. The discovery of our real nature can explain numerous mysteries of human nature. The complexity of our own nature had provided us to think of numerous theories that attempted to explain our actions and beliefs. In my own opinion, the dualistic tendency of human nature is providing us a simple, clear cut and accurate answer on the question of human nature. The world is bombarded with different dualistic, paradoxical dichotomy.
The suns, the moon, the light, the darkness, the good, the evil, all of these are paradoxical in nature. It is not difficult to understand why human will never be the same paradoxical creature of time. References MacIntyre, A. (1999) Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues. Carus Publishing Company. Illinois. Print. Accessed 24 July 2010. Regoli, R. & Hewitt, J. (2010) Exploring Criminal Justice: The Essentials. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC. Ontario. Print. Accessed 24 July 2010.