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Moral Nature of Human Beings: Born Good or Evil?

 
 
JLNobody
 
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Reply Thu 6 Nov, 2003 09:48 pm
truth
Yes, thanks.
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BlueMonkey
 
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Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2003 11:10 pm
Everyone is born good. Evil is a creation from circumstances. Good turns to evil by the parenting effort, or lack their of. Evil is not born. babies cannot be evil. They are so perfect at the moment of birth. It is the things that are done to him/her that keep him/her good or change on the easy road of evil.

Good is hard to maintain. Evil is a slip on a muddy hill and getting some on your new white clothes. One of those slips will make you fall and slide down the hill a little. Once that is done and it is found out that it is fun to slide down the hill, your clothes are no longer white. Evil looks like fun and at times can be so, but it is good that gets you across the hill with white clothes, some what spotted. It is good that is difficult to attain in a world that is wrought with evil.

People want to assume to be good without even trying. It is so funny people will put up all this physical energy to get to the top of a mountain or become the big cheese but put forth no effort to sustain the good within them. That is more difficult then conquering a mountain.

I have the utter most respect for people that keep the good they are born with and abstained from feeding the bad.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Sun 9 Nov, 2003 11:26 pm
truth
Beautiful written statement, BlueMonkey. Aldous Huxley once said that man can be good when given half a chance. I agree that our socialization and economic viability help. But I have also noted that very small children have to be taught to share and take turns. They can be greedy and selfish little monsters whose main virtue is that they are too small to do much harm. Consider the quote from Wm. James below.
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cicerone imposter
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 12:12 am
Good and evil are human concepts. Nothing is really good or evil, but man codified some rules to protect the society at-large. We can't go killing each other for food; that would be "uncivilized."
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 05:52 am
cicerone imposter wrote:
Good and evil are human concepts. Nothing is really good or evil, but man codified some rules to protect the society at-large. We can't go killing each other for food; that would be "uncivilized."



AMEN!


I'm happy we've both -- along with several others -- firmly maintained this position in the several threads currently devoted to this subject.
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Heliotrope
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 10:56 am
Absolutely.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 11:17 am
truth
Agreed!
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twyvel
 
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Reply Mon 10 Nov, 2003 02:05 pm
I agree also, though I would add I think people/animals/trees etc. are born, come into being, with predisposition's. I imagine their (our, mine) lives don't just go in any haphazard direction, there are Karmic forces and other energies (for lack of another word) at work though I know little about them.
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BlueMonkey
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 10:52 am
cicerone imposter wrote:
We can't go killing each other for food; that would be "uncivilized."


So what is being stated is that it is good nor bad to kill someone for food it is only uncivilized?

Uncivilized is not a rule or a law it is a statement of perception. What if I found that it was not uncivilized?

I could go and be a mass murder and just kill people for the sake of killing and I would not be evil I would be "uncivilized"?

I am trying to understand this, to grasp the concept that is being displayed.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 11:52 am
truth
Bluemonkey, I understood Cicerone to be equating "uncivilized" with "bad" in the sense that virtually all developed societies have used it, as well as "barbarian," to connote "bad"--and, of course, "civilized" for good--behavior.
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Frank Apisa
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 11:53 am
BlueMonkey wrote:
cicerone imposter wrote:
We can't go killing each other for food; that would be "uncivilized."


So what is being stated is that it is good nor bad to kill someone for food it is only uncivilized?

Uncivilized is not a rule or a law it is a statement of perception. What if I found that it was not uncivilized?

I could go and be a mass murder and just kill people for the sake of killing and I would not be evil I would be "uncivilized"?

I am trying to understand this, to grasp the concept that is being displayed.



It is not an easy concept to grasp, Monk, and it is especially difficult for people who are religious.

But the bottom line is that without the introduction of gods who command certain behavior, there really is no such thing as evil.

BUT...it certainly is reasonable for people to get together to form communities and society -- and to demand certain conduct of everyone in order for this community and society to prosper.

Which is to say -- civilization may seek to prohibit certain kinds of conduct -- and people who do not abide by these prohibitions are displaying "uncivilized" conduct.
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Thomas
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 12:08 pm
Frank Apisa wrote:
But the bottom line is that without the introduction of gods who command certain behavior, there really is no such thing as evil.

BUT...it certainly is reasonable for people to get together to form communities and society -- and to demand certain conduct of everyone in order for this community and society to prosper.

Which is to say -- civilization may seek to prohibit certain kinds of conduct -- and people who do not abide by these prohibitions are displaying "uncivilized" conduct.

Let me try to offer a counterexample to your point, Frank. The Soviet Union had an official doctrine under which killing lots of farmers was a good thing. According to the doctrine, this rid the Soviet society of counter-revolutionary traitors who put the society's peace and prosperity at risk. So under the official rules of the Soviet society, the Gulag was not an uncivilized thing. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure you and I agree it was nevertheless a horribly bad thing that should never have happened.

How do you justify your position if you accept categories of "civilized vs. uncivilized", but not "good vs. evil"?
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 12:39 pm
truth
Paul Krugman (aka Thomas). I would imagine that the Russian oligarchy perpetrated its genocidal atrocities for cynical pragmatic reasons, not because they thought it to be a moral "good." They most likely thought it was--given their ideologically driven economic goals--a "necesssary evil." Also, I'll bet they had to engage in intensive propaganda campaigns to "justify" it to the Russian public. Like Goebbel's propaganda machine, however, complaince was was ultimately obtained by the KGB's (in the case of Nazi Germany, the Gestapo's) threat of knocks on the door at night.
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Heliotrope
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 12:48 pm
Thomas wrote:
How do you justify your position if you accept categories of "civilized vs. uncivilized", but not "good vs. evil"?


You don't.

They also depend on your point of view and are therefore invalid except as social terms to describe behaviour accepted by the majority of those in that society.
They have no other meaning, relevence or reality.
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 12:52 pm
Thomas wrote:
So under the official rules of the Soviet society, the Gulag was not an uncivilized thing. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure you and I agree it was nevertheless a horribly bad thing that should never have happened.

How do you justify your position if you accept categories of "civilized vs. uncivilized", but not "good vs. evil"?


Well, at not point did I suggest that all civilizations must come to the same conclusions about what may or may not be proscribed.

Killing, per se, is simply not an evil thing.

Many religions teach -- and have taught -- that some killings are not only necessary, they can be thought of as virtuous.

"Civilized" -- as I see it, means doing what civilization expects of us. "Uncivilized" seems to mean doing other than what civilizations expects of us.

But good and evil simply have a different connotation -- especially as presented and argued in this thread.

As I see it, a thing can be "uncivilized" without being evil -- which really, in my estimation, needs a "god" component to make sense.
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BlueMonkey
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 12:55 pm
Heliotrope wrote:
They also depend on your point of view and are therefore invalid except as social terms to describe behaviour accepted by the majority of those in that society.
They have no other meaning, relevence or reality.


If I was to think like that then nothing has meaning, relevance or reality. The concept of love, sex, war, children, murder, rape, happy, mean, stupid, intelligent and such have no meanings. They have no reality because they are based, also, on the majority. Every word is based on majority. So nothing has meaning, even the word nothing has no meaning. My nothing could be different from another's nothing.
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dyslexia
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 01:00 pm
Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee.
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JLNobody
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 01:21 pm
truth
Bluemonkey, I don't know how many times this issue has been raised. All the terms you listed DO have meaning; they ARE meanings. But they are not absolute God-given meanings. They all have their philological evolutions. They are socially constructed meanings, cultural phenomena, and like all cultural phenomena, artificial. That does not, to my mind, diminish their validity. Indeed, I think we should take credit for having created our world.
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Greyfan
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 01:57 pm
Even if we were all to agree that some act -say, murder- was an act of absolute evil, that would not make it factual. Most of us probably do equate murder with evilness. But unanimity of opinion does not equal proof. We can demonstrate the laws of physics, chemistry, etc. But there is no proof, outside of the invocation of God, for the "laws" of morality. They are true simply because we believe they are true. If we believed the opposite, that murder is good, then that would be true instead.

Reasons -good reasons- can be given for most of our beliefs about good and evil, and the realization that we as a species have created them does nothing to diminish the influence they have over us.

We stop on green lights and go on red lights simply because of convention. If the realization that no higher authority is involved leads someone to the conclusion that he might as well go on red and stop on green, because they have no meaning, well, good luck to you.
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Greyfan
 
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Reply Tue 11 Nov, 2003 02:15 pm
In considering the main question of the thread, it seems to me that IF there is no evil or good in an absolute sense, it is obvious people cannot be born inherently one or the other. They do have an inborn desire to please, and relate to other people. There seems to be a genetic basis for self-confidence, which is re-inforced by every interaction the baby has. It can be modified, and even reversed, but in general the timid, fearful babies have a harder time of it than the bold, fearless ones.

Whether or not people become "evil" or "good", I believe, is a function of their natural demeanor (timid or not timid), modified by the nature of positive and negative reinforcement they receive. In other words, are they rewarded for "good" behavior, punished for "bad" behavior, or do rewards seem to be merely random occuring events?

If they perceive a greater benefit to being "good", they are more likely to adhere to "good" principles. If "good" behavior leads to random results, the connection will be less solid. And if self-esteem, based on the negative or indifferent response of others reaches the point of self-loathing and hatred of society, the individual may feel "bad" responses are appropriate, both as a way to gain the attention that has been denied, to punish the "good" for its unfairness toward them, and, in extreme cases, to end their own unrewarding lives, and maybe take a few of the enemy with them.
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