Exploring the Relationship Between Human Conduct and Nature: A Journey into Natural Law and Self-Awareness

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Jan 27, 2024

4 min read


Exploring the Relationship Between Human Conduct and Nature: A Journey into Natural Law and Self-Awareness


The question of whether nature can serve as a standard for human conduct has intrigued philosophers and thinkers for centuries. In this article, we delve into the concepts of natural law and self-awareness to understand their role in shaping human behavior. By examining the ideas of renowned philosophers such as Locke, Hobbes, and Epictetus, we aim to uncover the commonalities and unique insights that contribute to this ongoing debate.

Natural Law: A Moral Guide Derived from Nature

One prominent perspective on the relationship between human conduct and nature is the concept of natural law. This idea suggests that there are inherent principles or rules that govern human behavior, derived from observing the natural world. Two notable philosophers, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, offer distinct viewpoints on natural law.

Locke's Perspective: The Right to Property

John Locke believed that individuals possess certain natural rights, including the right to life, liberty, and property. According to Locke, these rights are not bestowed upon individuals by society but are derived from their existence in the natural world. Locke argues that the pursuit and ownership of property are fundamental to human nature, as it allows individuals to fulfill their material needs and exercise their autonomy.

Hobbes' Perspective: The Possibility of Social Contract

In contrast, Thomas Hobbes viewed human nature as inherently selfish and driven by self-preservation. He argued that without a governing authority, individuals would exist in a state of constant conflict. Hobbes believed that a social contract, an agreement among individuals, could be established to ensure peace and stability. While Hobbes' perspective may seem to contradict the idea of natural law, it is rooted in the understanding of human nature as a driving force behind societal structures.

Ancient Conceptions: Harmonizing with Nature

Before delving into the modern interpretations of natural law, it is crucial to explore the ancient conceptions of living in harmony with nature. The Stoic philosopher Epictetus advocated for living according to nature as an ethical shield against excessive behavior and desires. According to Epictetus, the highest form of human life is achieved by accepting and aligning oneself with the natural order.

Understanding Consciousness: A Reflection on Self-Awareness

To comprehend the relationship between human conduct and nature, it is essential to delve into the concept of consciousness. The term "consciousness" originates from the Latin word "cum-scire," meaning "to know with." It represents an introspective awareness that enables individuals to grasp the unity of their thoughts and actions. By being conscious, individuals gain insight into their own existence and can evaluate the alignment of their behavior with natural principles.

Connecting the Dots: Nature, Natural Law, and Self-Awareness

While seemingly disparate, the concepts of natural law and self-awareness share a common thread in their exploration of the relationship between human conduct and nature. Both perspectives emphasize the importance of understanding and aligning oneself with the inherent order of the natural world.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Cultivate mindfulness: Develop a practice of self-reflection and introspection to enhance your self-awareness. By regularly examining your thoughts, actions, and motivations, you can better align your behavior with natural principles.
  • 2. Seek harmony with nature: Take time to connect with the natural world. Engage in activities such as hiking, gardening, or simply spending time in nature to cultivate a deeper appreciation for the innate order and balance found in the environment.
  • 3. Study philosophical perspectives: Explore the works of philosophers who have contemplated the relationship between human conduct and nature. By understanding different perspectives, you can broaden your perspective and develop a more comprehensive understanding of this complex topic.


The question of whether nature can be the standard for human conduct is a deeply philosophical inquiry that continues to captivate thinkers across time. Through an exploration of natural law and self-awareness, we have discovered the interconnectedness of these concepts in shaping human behavior. By incorporating the actionable advice of mindfulness, seeking harmony with nature, and studying philosophical perspectives, individuals can strive to align their conduct with the inherent principles of the natural world. In doing so, we embark on a journey towards a more harmonious and ethically grounded existence.

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