Ashumans, we are brought into this world untouched, uninfluenced, and uncorrupted.New born babies have not had the chance to learn what hate, or violence, orcruelty is; they have not gone through a tragedy or experienced a situationwhere they have become enlightened begins. The age-old question of whether ornot humans are inherently good or evil is complicated and controversial due tothe fact that that it involves the human spices and is completely subjective.As human beings, we are born into a world where it has become easy to bediscouraged by what human nature and societal norms have turned into. Arehumans just good people, that perform evil actions or are humans just evil? Humannature is the belief that human beings have natural instincts or tendencies inthe fundamental dispositions and traits that all humans share. All humans havedifferent experiences, and this is where the dispute begins. Based on people’sviews they will tell you that all people are basically “good” or basically”bad”, that they are either “predators” or that they are capable of “empathyand love”. This is all subjective, these ideologies are colored based off ofthe cultures and subcultures that influenced you while you were growing up andlearning about the world around you.
The people that raised or influenced youwill pass on their particular ideasabout what makes humans “human”. Plato thought that humans were rational, social animals,and he connected human nature with our souls and ability to reason rather thanour bodies. Aristotle differed primarily in his belief that both body and soulcontributed to our human identity. These theories are not mutually exclusive, buthave been built upon each other and adapted over time. Pragmatism is the doctrine that practical consequencesare the criteria of knowledge, meaning, and value. This method is discoveringwhat our idea means, and we learn that by studying their consequences in actualexperiences.
William James, a pragmaticphilosopher said that “If an idea or judgment makes a positive, practicaldifference in people’s lives than it is true. The opposite is thecontrary.” (Paquette, P.
& Gini-Newman, 2003) This suggests that aperson could be evil, just as easily they could be good. In his quote, he states that if somethingcreates a positive difference in someone’s life then it has to be true. Ifsomething creates a positive difference it would have to be good act not anevil act. We relate this to the argument, humans are inherently good, by sayingthey are naturally good creatures that have a positive effect on the lives ofother humans.Sowhat makes a human evil? People that do evil acts have been known to be drivenby jealousy, manipulation, vengeance, materialism, mercilessness andsuperiority complexes. For example, when people steal things it is usuallybecause they “have” to have it, this is a sign of materialism.
Jealousy, or asmy mother likes to call it the green-eyed monster, is an ugly feeling peopleget when someone else has something they way. I feel as though vengeance andmercilessness go hand and hand, an example of this would be what is going on inPurcell Oklahoma. For the last couple of week someone has been attacking dogs,cutting them with knives and other weapons. It is merciless and vengeful. A majorcharacteristic of “evilness” is having a superiority complex, this not onlyhurts a person it hurts am entire group of people whether it be a minority or apolitical party. Idon’t think we are born into the world knowing these attributes. I think youlearn them as you grow and develop in the world around you.
This is an incrediblydifficult question to answer with a simple yes or no. People of all ethnicities,backgrounds, genders, and religions have been asking this question since thebeginning of time. If it was simple we would have already figured it out. Thereis a lot of speculation as to whether or not religions are the key factor in holdingback humanities true nature. Some people think that the sacred texts ofreligion are the guide lines in keeping the peace among people, that without itwe would be complete savages. I could understand that but at the same time if religionwas all it took then why is there still evils and wrong doings in the world. Itis because it takes more than words in a book.
It is because humans aren’tinherently evil beings.PhilosopherMengzi believed that humans are inherently good. He believed that if a childran out into the street and a car was headed right for the kid, somebody wouldjump out and try to rescue the child. He defended the conception of the goodlife, aka the Confucian way.
He said that virtues such as benevolence, righteousness,propriety, and wisdom were key for living a life well lived. He believed thathumans have an innate predisposition towards these virtues and that we are naturallydrawn toward them. Mengzi’s thought is if we fully refine or grow and tend toour predispositions of virtues we will become fully virtuous, we will flourish.
Ibelieve that humanity is inherently good. We strive for positivity, love, andlight. We continuously try to better not only ourselves but a society. Yes, I thinkthat our innate human nature is effected by our surroundings and the strugglesor accomplishments we have made throughout our lives, but I still think in thegrand scheme of things we are good people that tend to perform evil acts.
I agreewith Mengzi completely and I think that if people sat down and took the time tolearn about all religions they would see it the way I do.