Controlling instinct by rational thought is what makes us human

The ability to transcend 'instinct' as the driver of our actions and replace, or at least guide that instinct by rational thought that takes account of the 'outcomes' is what lifts us above the animal. That is, we can now see our actions as not just 'good' (it worked and I got what I wanted), or bad (didn't work and I didn't get what I wanted), but as also 'good' (morally correct, in line with societal norms etc), or bad (criminal, dangerous, immoral etc). Of course some would say (Nietzsche please stand) that this is a degenerative step, but not many could say that seriously. When man began to use rationality to temper instictive reaction he became human. Prior to such a momentous step murder, theft, rape, incest etc. did not exist as they were but consequences of instinctive action that sustained personal survival. Such concepts/labels only came about when instinct began to be tempered by rationality and (importantly) that rationality was also itself subject to a 'history of rational action'. So then a 'society' was born that had a history, both physical and moral. Society did not exist in an age where all actions were instinctive.

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