Is it human nature to want to transcend human nature?
We humans exist as divided beings: divided between what we are and what we want to be. This quest for improvement comprises the essence of our life-story.
Of course, all living beings want to improve. But sub-human living beings simply want to improve their eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They try to improve themselvesaccordingly– run faster, smell better, see further, for example.
We too want to improve these things, but we also want to improvemorally. We want to become kind, noble and selfless, for example. In different people, this calling for moral improvement may be less or more evident depending on their circumstances. Yet they too have their own system of values on which they try to improve.
It is human nature to have moral flaws. It is also human nature to want toovercome those flaws.
It is human nature to want to transcend human nature. Paradoxical, isn’t it?
Not if we understand that our essential identity lies beyond human nature. We are souls, parts of Krishna. So, like him, we are inherently pure, free from all moral flaws. This spiritual nature becomes obscured by material bodies that impel us to pander to physical drives. In sub-human bodies,this obscuration blocks out almost all moral sense. In human bodies, that moral sense is aroused and serves as a pointer towards reclaiming our spiritual nature.
The lower human nature that rivets us to moral flaws for the sake of bodily pleasures is actually this covering. The higher human nature that prods us towards moral improvement is a reflection of our spiritual nature that is trying to work its way out of the covering. Showing the path to victory in this inner conflict, the Bhagavad-gita (06.05) exhorts that we elevate ourselves to our higher nature.
“One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.”