human nature.. innately good or evil?

Reply Mon 23 May, 2011 09:29 pm
To scrutinize the question is human nature innately good or evil many have first made the point that man has to be taken away from society for true human nature to be revealed. e.g. Lord of The Flies by William Golding.

My argument, however, is that human nature can be revealed from within the structures of society. The structure itself demonstrates the human desire to get along with one another. To make the dichotomy between humans and structure and then pronounce this to be the natural state of human nature is actually taking away an aspect of human nature. An analogy can be made between two people who first come into contact and form a friendship based upon values and morals. After this structure is formed it becomes part of the entire meaning of friendship. In the same instance, if one takes the morals and values away, it can not be said what is left is the natural state of the friendship so neither can human nature be without the structure.
Although by leaving humans within the structures of society ones conceptions of right and wrong are already determined, it does not affect human nature. Human nature can be revealed by examining the actions of individuals based upon ones own perception of right and wrong, whether or not the perception was formed by them or not.

This is only the surface to my theory, but I just wanted to form a basis for the discussion. Please add any opinions related to the question 'Is human nature innately good or evil?' !

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Reply Tue 24 May, 2011 03:51 am
It is very interesting to study human nature. And also the factors that structure our patterns of thinking, of behaving, of judging, of setting values, of discriminating between good and bad and the like. Social climes indeed engineer our mindscapes and the age-old molds, i.e, ethics, codes of conducts bequeathed by one generation to another direct our beliefs and values.

Innately, therefore humans are neither good nor bad. Can we say cows or goats good or bad? Along the same lines we are neither good nor bad.
Reply Tue 24 May, 2011 08:37 am
Since you're talking about the innate human nature. I would think that it would lean more towards evil, not that it is evil however. My reasoning behind this is that we are creatures of survival and survival is mainly about yourself. So innately we would think more internally. It's not neccessarily evil, it just makes us lean more towards a selfish behavion which can become "evil". It's not a bad thing to be selfish in certain ways, it's the process by which you do it. It's our culture and society in which we learn our behaviors and how to act in which teaches us right from wrong. It also depends on how we perceive and interpret all of our experiences.
Reply Tue 24 May, 2011 10:28 pm
I agree, so in other words even if "evil" may occur it will have some benefiting factor involved no matter how selfish it may seem to others. So its not really evil.
The range of benefit used will vary from person to person. Depending mostly upon the individuals experience with what methods work; gaining desires and needs through benefiting others while benefiting themselves or only benefiting themselves. Those who choose the latter, I believe, have been disillusioned from experiences attempting to use this method but not being successful so then labeling it ineffective, while it can create unity among humans. For example, I once had a friend tell me, "You don't get anywhere in life by being nice to people." along with a few other views I've come across where people believe you must be all for yourself to survive in this world. (typical American attitude) This is where my interest first sparked in this topic.
Reply Tue 24 May, 2011 10:48 pm
@haribol ,
Can you go more in depth with your view humans are neither innately good nor bad? Even if our behaviors and beliefs are formed through social climes, the reaction to them can still be observed. The fact that humans will act upon what they think is right could be proof human nature is good. Could you imagine a world where people would recognize an action as bad, no good derived from it whatsoever and acting upon it anyways? Since this difference can be made, it seems human nature can be either innately good or evil.
I also intend on researching human nature more, it is very interesting!
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Reply Wed 25 May, 2011 09:46 am
RisingToShine wrote:

I agree, so in other words even if "evil" may occur it will have some benefiting factor involved no matter how selfish it may seem to others. So its not really evil.

Not exactly, basically selfishness is just inward thinking and acting, you have to be able to help yourself and be in a good place in order to help others. You can't save someone from drowning if you're drowning yourself, you can't donate money if you're broke, and you can't help anyone study if you're stupid. It's not being selfish that's the problem, it's the method in which are used to achieve those selfish goals and what is done after those goals are achieved.

Part of the book "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand
"In popular usage, selfishness is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment. Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word 'selfishness' is: concern with one’s own interests. This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests."

I think it's a good book to read but Ayn Rand is kind of a "zealot" with it and expects people to follow it to the letter. She actually booted Nathaniel Branden from an kind of association because he disagreed with her a little on certain things.
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