by Rosina Pzena, M.S.
I recently watched the new Wonder Woman movie, and it made a very interesting point about human nature. For some background (spoiler alert, although Wonder Woman has been around since the 1940s) Wonder Woman, or Diana Prince, is not human. She was created by the Greek gods to defend man from evil influences. Therefore, in the context of the film, Diana goes into World War I believing that men are innately good, and that they have been corrupted by the Greek god of war to fight for eternity.
The idea that humanity is innately good got me thinking. It’s different than how many would look at humanity through the lens of World War I, with its high body count and horrors such as mustard gas. World War I highlights the evils of man, but Wonder Woman focuses on the good of man despite corrupting influences. Therefore, the movie shows a multifaceted view of human nature as capable of both good and bad, similar to a view used in REBT to help with self-, other- and life-acceptance.
The core theory we apply in REBT is that we are all fallible, and thus made up of good and bad qualities. So, in a broad world perspective, humans are not evil beings for fighting wars and other cruelties, as we are susceptible to prejudice and fear. It’s important to also remind ourselves of the positives of humankind, such as the capacity for love and kindness. It may help us to remember this, especially when watching or reading about current atrocities in the news. When it is easy to condemn the world as wholly awful and get ourselves down about that, instead we can remind ourselves humanity is fallible and strive to also acknowledge the good that exists in the world.