Naturality, Frightful

As a leading representative of philosophical anthropology Arnold Gehlen fears the “frightful naturality” of mankind, which comes to light wherever this latter is not bound into institutions. Gehlen wants to protect us from ourselves, from “the setting-free of a frightful naturality, because the weakness of human nature which is not protected from itself by strict forms is of a murderous kind.” (Urmensch und Spätkultur) Gehlen is referring here particularly to the falling away, in the case of humans, of that inhibition about killing which is found in many animals, for which reason he recommended the institutional subjugation of Man. Gehlen, however, was blind to that salutary unnaturalness of human beings which consists in the fact that Man is, as an essentially cultural being, not given over to that Diktat of procreation to which other animals are subject. It is not an absolute necessity that human beings give human beings over to the tender mercies of other human beings.

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