Differences in Human Nature: Perception vs. Reaction

Topics: Black Death, Human, September 11 attacks Pages: 4 (1567 words) Published: December 3, 2012
Andrew Bechini
ENG 101 Nygard M/F 9am
4/13/2012
Essay 4
Differences in Human Nature
When referring to human nature, characteristics such as thinking, feeling and acting are words that describe how we act naturally. What causes these characteristics and how concrete human nature is, are questions that form an important domain for everyday life. As shown in Barbara Tuchman’s report, “This is the End of the World,” perception in the 14th century differed mainly because of certain major influences at the time, such as religion. Centuries later, on the attacks of September 11, 2001; the same initial reactions were shown, but almost simultaneously our improved defense mechanisms were activated to answer their strikes. For these reasons it must be speculated that with change over time, we as humans and our own nature have evolved to deal with the pressures we encounter. The catastrophic events that took place during the Bubonic plague and 9/11 attacks caused two, very different human perceptions which explains the contrasting reactions. When an entire civilization comes under attack from a source that cannot be controlled, panic and distress would naturally be primary reactions. Without proper preparedness it becomes difficult to keep sizeable populations in one accord. The Black Death took Europe by storm and under Catholic dominion; religious influence played a major part as to how the population perceived these events. Brother John Clyn, a monk interprets, “the whole world was as it were, placed within the grasp of the Evil One” (qtd. by Tuchman par. 13). Paired with the earthquake in Italy when disease first appeared, the above statement may have served as evidence to be true. European belief and their strong association with good and evil led them to be convinced that it was in fact, an evil force destroying their communities. Along with the countless deaths and destruction, paranoid Europeans began to view the plague as the end of the world. Death became...

Cited: Keith, Arthur. BrainyQuote.com. Xplore Inc, 2012. 6 April. 2012. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/arthurkeit287829.html
Eaton, Leslie. "In Wounded Financial Center, Trying to Head Off Defections." The New York Times 13 Sept. 2001: A23. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 16, Mar. 2012.
Seelye, Katherine Q., and Elisabeth Bumiller. "Bush Labels Aerial Terrorist Attacks 'Acts of War '" The New York Times 13 Sept. 2001: A16. ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Web. 16 Mar. 2012.
Tuchman, Barbara. "This Is the End of the World." Fields of Reading: Motives for Writing. By Nancy R. Comley. Ninth ed. New York: St. Martin 's, 1998. 231-41. Print.
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