Why Human Beings are so Fallible and Vulnerable

Human beings are set up by society to be classified and defined as fallible and vulnerable, so we are.  Human groups and societies make up overwhelming numbers and complexity of rules, codes, norms and values, then progress toward agreeing upon them, and codifying them in law or etiquette. Humans persist in identifying those acts, beliefs, norms, values and behaviors which are acceptable and which are unacceptable. Human beings also persist in being homo sapiens who have limits for living under a mountain of controls over their behavior, beliefs, and instincts.

Being human, we are naturally going to be tested in our resolve to comply with the sheer weight and mass, along with the diversity of generally accepted rules that are made by mankind. Such non compliance has it’s source in our natural desires, personal standards, behavioral constructs, judgment, need to survive, and instincts. The farther a rule, value, or norm gets away from matters of life, death, and simple laws of good behavior which makes our communities safe and well ordered, the more personal and conditional it gets when we decide whether a norm, law, rule or value is legitimate enough for our compliance or acceptance.

An extremely orthodox member of any religion will see enormous fallibility and vulnerability in everyone. In some cases, not saying “Praise the lord!” after every paragraph is viewed as being fallible and vulnerable to sinful and negative influences in life. In other cases, not shutting down for Shabbat is viewed as giving in to selfishness and desire.

Religions cause their followers to expand their religious beliefs and values into secular matters and apply them to every day, political, and social life in order to control vulnerability to political movements that represent challenges to the religious standards; to impose religious infallibility in making secular decisions; and in some extreme cases, to control issues of spiritual vulnerability and fallibility for everyone else in society.

A military officer goes through years of training and reinforcement against even the slightest hint of professional and personal fallibility or vulnerability, yet faces challenges every day in dealings with new recruits, younger soldiers, and even overwhelmed peers and the self.

There is far more going on with serial killers, racist extremists, social outcasts, sexual predators, and drug addicts. These are situations where serious past trauma, a breakdown in physical or emotional systems, or addictive processes have permanently changed the person’s thought processes and ability to resist temptation. Such individuals are compelled and controlled by internal forces that go beyond normal fallibility and vulnerability.

Most of us simply get through life by making the best choices and decisions that we can. Most of us have established beliefs that work for us, even they may evolve in the face of the challenges and comprehension that we experience in life. And most of us are human, ready to give in to the temptation of too many chocolate chip cookies, but not ready to kill someone just to get pleasure from killing them. 

We turn a blind eye and ear to an abusive relative when we should step in on the bullying. We fail to warn a good friend that the new boyfriend has a criminal record and history of abuse. We come up with all sorts of excuses for not giving some spare change to a homeless person, or contributing to the food bank for the needy with a few spare dollars that we want to spend on a pizza, instead. We go over the speed limit, or talk on cell phones when driving, and can be otherwise rude drivers.

But we also step in to help someone who has fallen. We give things away when we have too many or don’t use them. We do not eat with our hands at formal dinners, stuffing food into our mouths and talking at the same time. We pray or we do not pray, depending on our fixed and firm religious beliefs and commitments.  Most of us are not in jail and do not have serious criminal records. And we do much that is right and good, according to our abilities and decisions in life.

We are human and we are generally good, infallible and invulnerable to the worst of lies and the worst of evils.