Philosophically Speaking: What is Human Behavior?

Happiness Index

What is human behavior? Human behavior is the way in which we conduct ourselves both in private and in public, spiritually, morally, socially, intellectually, and physically. What is the impetus behind human behavior, good or bad? For better or for worse humans behave in accordance with the human ecosystem, underpinned by our cultural influences. More importantly, within a generic human ecosystem, there are multiple sub-ecosystems created to shape, contain, and constraint the behaviors of humans, differentiated by age, race, gender, color, culture, religion, education, careers, employment, and social and economic status.


The generic human ecosystem is a composite of global and national institutions that establish laws, regulations, and policies that attempt to dictate human behavior for the betterment of humankind. Unfortunately, the ruling classes of people use these mandates as a means to govern human life on Earth, not necessarily in the best interest of the people. The great division of people in the world makes up the various class structures dating back to the Middle Ages (or Medieval period), which lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. The 21st century is a more complex macrocosm of the embattled world of yesteryear informed by postmodern political systems of leadership from dictatorship to democracy, and many types of leadership from autocratic to democratic.

Is there a higher “moral order” to human behavior than our fragile political systems that favor one group over another in an ongoing spiral of partisanship? Is there a higher goal of human behavior to enable our existence on Earth as a viable species? Humanity has tried philosophy, religion, mysticism, cultism, humanism, spiritualism, and political systems, but have not found the answer to fundamental questions of human behavior. After thousands of years of applying human leadership and scholarship to human behavior, the evidence seems to demonstrate that the understanding of human behavior is still in the embryonic stage.

From a Biblical perspective, Jeremiah, one of Judah’s greatest prophets advises: “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” (Jeremiah 10:23) (circa 627-580 BCE). The Proverbs of the great King Solomon state: “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies live at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). Could these two great prophetic statements underlie the reasons for the crumbling foundation of human behavior that have perplexed human beings in the premodern, modern, and postmodern ages?

To the social scientific mind, it would be absurd to conclude that the words of the ancient prophets could inform human behavior. Likewise, the graduate in Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences such as Sociology, Psychology, and Psychiatry, would think it irrational to entertain a prophetic statement at the foundational title of his or her Ph.D., dissertation on human behavior. This dichotomy of ideas leads us to examine the evidence of human efforts over the past century (1919 – 2019).

Nations in the international community, recognizing the need for a world body to promote human behavior that could lead to world peace, and harmony and cooperation among nations, created the League of Nations after World War I in 1919. After World War II in 1945, the United Nations (UN) superseded the League of Nations. The UN has since installed six main organs as follows:


  1. The General Assembly
  2. The Security Council
  3. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  4. The Trusteeship Council
  5. The International Court of Justice
  6. The Secretariat

The ultimate hope is that these six agencies would have the capacity to augment human behavior on the legal, humanitarian, and moral end of the spectrum of human survival ( Another vital world body is the 15-member, International Court of Justice (ICJ), or World Court, which is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, seated at The Hague in the Netherlands. The IJC is the body that settles legal disputes submitted to it by states and giving advisory opinions on legal questions from U.N. bodies and agencies (

These crucial global agencies inform human behavior at the highest spectrum of visible international leadership and support in many world situations such as the elimination, avoidance, or mitigation of natural, “humanly inspired,” “humanly caused” disasters, hunger, genocide, human trafficking, slavery, war, and famine. Statisticians tell us that the cost to maintain the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) in North America alone approximates $80 billion per year. Likewise, the cost to keep an inmate in a Federal prison in Canada is $117,788.00 per year ( The world’s expenditure on education in 2014 was $1,776 trillion (Reference: Stockholm International Peace Institute (SIPI).

Western nations over the past century have also written and amended Constitutions, Civil Rights laws, legislation, Charters of Rights and Freedoms, enacted and penned Employment Equity laws for the protection of citizens. They have formed Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) and other equity panels to combat racism and other forms of systemic discrimination in the workplace. Human leadership continues to evolve from autocratic to more widely informed and concerned principles of democratic leadership. In spite of such national and international bodies, human beings still struggle with unsolved problems from past centuries, present problems, and complex emerging problems of the future.

Many global thinkers inform the world of coming calamities upon the earth, mainly by human action, all of which human beings can forecast, and largely mitigate by fundamental changes in human behavior. Paradoxically, spiritual intelligence (SI) informs human beings of our apparent unpreparedness to rise to higher human action without divine guidance. Indisputable, human behavior underpinned by our materially driven life is a threat to the spiritual purpose of our existence, and thus leads humanity away from a “wholesome life” that can only be fostered by spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical development.


Human behavior speaks of our nurturing, our values, our beliefs, our worldviews, our tolerances and intolerances, our empathies, and our emptiness without the acknowledgment of a higher moral guide. Every society up through the ages, from early primitive societies, to postmodern monotheistic, and theistic societies, believed that they had explicit instructions and guidance necessary to promote life–saving behaviors to ensure peace, harmony, cooperation among neighbors, and fruitfulness. Christian literature exemplifies the Two Great Commandments as the guiding principles for its adherents: “‘…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 26:37-39).

Observably, human behavior is rather complicated to discern yet, we have, to some extent accepted the human behavior as rational and controlled but at times, random and often uncontrolled, and unpredictable. We have also accepted to some degree, hate, envy, jealousy, bigotry, racism, prejudice, greed, wealth accumulation, aggression, competition, and violence as natural to ways of living in our digital age of independence. The natural response to these human behaviors is the demand for more human authority to curtail these behaviors, but human authority has not managed to control the base human nature. Observing human behavior, one can surmise that despite our nurturing, there is a tendency to respond with some level of aggression; either verbal, mental or physical, when someone does wrong to us, or our wants rise above our needs.


When something goes wrong within society, we look to our governments for answers, because governments have the responsibility, and the macro–administrative mechanisms to address problems of society. However, we ought to look also within our religious organizations, our churches, our corporations, our educational institutions, and in particular our families for solutions as well. The family is the tree from which all members of society have sprung. The communist, the socialist, the dictator, the conservative, the liberal, the democrat, the republican, the capitalist, and the socialist came from within families. Is there a central authority to unify human behavior to achieve the common good of humanity?

Can nations rise to great heights of civilization without the help of God? The six thousand years of human history say “no.” The proliferation of tens of thousands of human laws penned by nations to maintain a tenuous social balance among individuals, societies, and nations provides sufficient evidence of the weaknesses of human laws unaided by God’s law. God has made His Laws available to human beings through the writing of the Prophets and Apostles. The Christian Book of Proverbs is a comprehensive guide to human behavior. It provides simple instructions and explanations in clear and understandable language.

According to, the leading source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis. Copyright © Media. All Rights Reserved, cited there are at least 5,000 federal criminal laws, with 10,000 – 300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally…” On February 4, 2013, the Canadian Minister of Justice announced the Government of Canada’s intention to move forward with the creation of a Victims Bill of Rights (Bill C–32, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights). The bill passed on June 18, 2014, and will amend certain Acts currently in effect (Criminal Code, Corrections and Conditional Release Act and Canada Evidence Act). The human behavior continues to perplex postmodern behavioral scientists.

Human beings do not have a natural inclination to seek His wisdom. Furthermore, when we pursue wisdom, it generally occurs in the latter years of life. For these reasons, Biblical literature has provided special instructions to youths, and it spells out the rich benefits of acquiring wisdom when one is young (Proverbs 1:1–7). Unfortunately, there are no modern schools advancing wisdom as the first directive of general education of children. The acquisition of Wisdom is not a mandatory requirement in our great educational institutions of higher learning, yet, corporations could not function without a steady stream of advanced science and technology academics to engineer and develop mass production techniques.

Corporations recruit the best and brightest with advanced degrees in mathematics, science and technology, and advanced management disciplines to satisfy the need for human genius. The Masters of Business Administration (MBA) has become more prominent as a core requirement for management positions. The popularity of the MBA, Masters’ Degrees, and Ph.Ds. have mushroomed throughout universities and within private corporations over the past several decades, but what about scholarship in Ethical Human Behavior, and leadership by spirit, integrity, and authenticity?

Is this reason the behaviors of many in our enlightened society fall victim to behaviors that destroy careers, friendships, corporations, families, and even the lives of the elites in our society? Observation demonstrates that there is significant vitality in Western economies. Concurrent with great advancements in corporate management. The past decade has seen the collapse of many great Western corporations, including those that have filed for bankruptcy protection, or that have experienced a decline from positions of great prominence.


The view of the family is more or less in the context of a unique social entity. Families tend to identify themselves in the context of race, culture, religion, nationality, and social and economic class. The independence of members, rather than interdependence, leads to family fragmentation, as each member strives to cope with the stresses of his or her daily life. Consequently, many family members seek solace outside of the family, as opposed to within the family, which further weakens family cohesion and likewise, the cohesion of society. Intervention by family members, friends, and professionals can often help to bring stability to the family. There is also excellent help for the family founded in the prophetic writings of earlier times.

This stability within the family is important because it translates to stability in society. Families in our highly mobile era may not view themselves as integral building blocks of societies, but they are the building blocks of nations, with children as the nucleus. This intrinsic link between family and society is evident. Observe the breakdown in the family and consequential decline in societal behavior. There are measurable connections between family behavior and the behavior of members of society.

The judge, the lawyer, the officer of the law, the delinquent, and the offender all are the products of families. The scientist, the engineer, the doctor, the nurse, the principal, the teacher, and the student all have their roots within the family. The murderer and the victim also have “roots” within the family foundation. The family then becomes the first place to look when something goes wrong in society. Where, when, and how do human beings develop patterns of unsocial behavior? From the moment a child is born, he or she begins to experience the effects of his or her first social environment – the home, the first society of “altruistic love.”

Family love and care for each other are the hallmark of family relations, particularly in caring for infants and older family members. Respect for family elders and uninformed members of society were, at one time, customary within families. In other words, social behavior was once and is today, paramount to the stability of the family and society. Societies that care for their children promote early understanding of God’s counsel (Romans 12:16).

The traditional and cardinal rules for raising children are good manners, personal discipline, responsibility, and respect others who are directly or indirectly responsible for their care. In generations past, the family offered its members a more crowded centralized unit, which operated within a framework of moral and social principles and values. The growing child’s many hours in school allowed the teacher to have a significant influence on his or her behavior likewise, the influences of his or her schoolmate were generally positive. More importantly, the family circle of uncles, aunts, grandparents, and friends of the family played a crucial role in helping to maintain family stability.

In our daily conversations, regarding the behavior of youths in the postmodern age some would say that the availability of drugs, cars, and fashionable clothes motivates them. Others would say that the demands for money to purchase high–end items such as jewelry and cars, add force to youth behavior. Some others would say that youth behavior is rooted in environmental circumstances such as boredom, television advertising, carefree lifestyles, peer group influence, and family neglect. Observations lead to an additional set of conclusions such as information overload thus giving a false sense of knowledge and maturity.

In our postmodern era, youth are more susceptible mainly during the teenage years, because of the more significant influence of their peers compared to that of their parents. Some youths engage in unsocial behaviors that society labels as delinquent. Despite great moral efforts by parents and family members to train and discipline children. The decline in youth behaviors may have links to a need to escape from family violence, abuse, loneliness, despair, depression, and or boredom. Paradoxically, the family unit ought to provide the most stable and nurturing environment within which to grow.

Problems affecting the modern family result from a shift from family cohesion, as a unit in society, to family synthesis. Family members in contemporary times strive for greater independence as opposed to interdependence. Modern enlightenment seems to take us further apart from our responsibility toward each other, as our first and foremost “moral duty.” Thankfully, people respond to natural disasters that unify them from a perspective of mutual survival.

If the ultimate social goal is to develop stable societies underpinned by human behavior that is progressive, a first place to begin is with an understanding of human actions that can unify the human family. Following, are twenty human actions that could modify human behavior to achieve the higher purposeful existence on Earth.


  1. Worship God.
  2. Serve humanity.
  3. Obey authority.
  4. Forsake revenge and forgive others.
  5. Strive to be a good corporate citizen.
  6. Preserve the health and safety of children.
  7. Nurture good behavior in children.
  8. Maintain family loyalty and unity.
  9. Care for the elderly.
  10. Demonstrate empathy for others.
  11. Develop competency and perform diligent work.
  12. Maintain commitment to employees or employers.
  13. Strive to live peacefully with others.
  14. Care for the environment.
  15. Respect the property of others.
  16. Give generously to the needy.
  17. Practice volunteerism.
  18. Travel and meet unfamiliar people.
  19. Get to know your neighbors.
  20. Maintain a positive attitude for life.

Adhering to these twenty principles of human behavior will enable nations to rise to great heights of civilization with insurmountable benefits (spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical) to people, communities, corporations, and governments. This critical knowledge should be the starting point of any attempt by societies and nations to modify human behavior. There is a need for a more holistic understanding of how the absence of a transformed heart affects human behavior. Likewise, there are natural links to the behavior of all of humankind that relates to the generic ecosystem and the sub-ecosystem that demands a more holistic approach to the problems of humanity than the psychology of the individual.


In 2002, Errol Gibbs relinquished his technical career to research, study, and write about the betterment of humanity, enabled by spiritual, moral, social, intellectual, and physical growth and development. Errol hopes that this article will shed light on another path that will better inform the mutual survival of humankind as a viable species.


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