Deepak Chopra
5 min readSep 23, 2019


Solving the Flaws in Human Nature

By Deepak Chopra, MD

Everyone is good at avoiding the elephant in the room, which refers to something everyone is aware of but cannot bring themselves to discuss. In some ways the ultimate elephant in the room is human nature. We all exhibit human nature, but we rarely discuss it for a simple reason: no one knows what to do with it.

Lions suffer no inner conflict when they prey upon the weak, but we do, or should. Mating season doesn’t send dolphins into an emotional tailspin, but human sexuality is fraught with psychological implications, and for some people these are unresolved for a lifetime. The essential problem, however, is that human nature is torn between opposites. We see ourselves as good and bad together, rational and irrational, peaceful and violent.

The divided self is a central topic in a new book I’ve written titled Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential. In it I counter the general helplessness that people feel about human nature. It’s a helplessness born of being human, quite literally. Just to exist as a human being involves an inheritance of opposites. As children we learn to curb the dark side of these opposites, but psychology hasn’t gotten much beyond Freud’s sad conclusion that civilization barely keeps a lid on our innate tendency to violence, sexual jealousy, hatred of others, and similar inherited woes.

If human nature has been in conflict since recorded history began, perhaps it should remain the elephant in the room. This seems to be a kind of silent consensus. People feel free to discuss almost anything except the presence of the divided self. Countries pass military budgets, cities support police forces, legislatures pass laws, all of which try to curb the worst in human nature, and yet the people passing the laws and paying for armies and police forces are afflicted with the same impulses they attempt to curb.

Despite the tendency to take these things for granted, human nature is not like the nature of a lion, dolphin, or any other creature — it isn’t really fixed or innate. We go beyond our nature all the time, which is why I chose the Greek word “meta,” which means beyond, in the book’s title. There is a well-known dictum that you cannot fix a problem at the level of the problem. This would seem to stymie any solution to the problem of human nature, because most people assume they are stuck with being human and all the defects this entails.