[ 3 min read ]
A human being isn’t infinitely malleable. Something will eventually kill us. Something must be capable of killing us, even wiping us all out, as I don’t believe we’re that special and strong among species.
We can take a lot, adapt to a lot, but not to everything. If it’s too much, eventually we won’t be able to take it and we will die. But we’re definitely way more malleable than the society. Revolutions are born out of a very limited malleability of the society (human beings as a group), not out of the limited malleability of a single human being considered as an individual (i.e. without a group).
A single person will take a lot more. Out of dumb hope (or lunacy, or naivety), but also out of the fact that he / she is alone and out of the sense of powerlessness. Of course, the sense of powerlessness can lead to a faster death of a human being, and earlier to his / her mental breakdown, but I guess the force against which it needs to compete (the survival instinct) is so strong that self-destruction is anything but obvious.
A society, on the other hand, is way stronger because many people are part of it and thus each individual person knows that he / she is not alone and even if some people have the sense of powerlessness, the society as a whole never does.
Why do we always seek to be part of something? Why do we always want to belong to some group? Why do we always feel better when we know that we’re not the only ones? Why do we so often want to know if anyone has ever done this or that (or whether someone is doing it) before we attempt to do it?
Because we want this feeling that we’re part of something bigger, because if there are people like us in the world we can relax at least a little bit — we’re not the only people, we’re not crazy.
Besides, those who are of the opinion that it is a myth that a human being is infinitely malleable, or very malleable (I think that even those who say that a human being is infinitely malleable wouldn’t believe it if they pondered their words properly) fail to factor in that we’re always part of some group of people and thus any discussion about the nature of a human being who is not part of this group (society) is pointless and will give us an very erroneous image of a human being.
If we talk about human beings we need to factor in that they’re always part of a group of people and that they always have some point of reference (they can always compare their current state / status with their previous state / status, or with the state / status of those who are above or below them.
An analysis of an individual human being (without consideration that he / she is part of the society and has multiple points of reference) is pointless because such human being doesn’t exist, never existed and probably never will exist. Pointless is also pointing out the characteristics of such nonexistent human being. If so, whenever we talk about human beings and their characteristics we must consider the powerful force which is the society.
Hence the error of linking certain phenomena (revolutions for example) to the characteristics of an individual human being. An individual human being without any point of reference and without other people would, in my opinion, never start a revolution (read: he / she would be very, very malleable). Besides, such people don’t exist (and probably never will) so debating their features makes no sense at all. It could make sense if someone wanted to write a fantasy about human beings.