The natural man

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by HealthcareHippy, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Are people inherently good or are we all prone to evil? The good old nature vs. nurture debate.

    I've heard this question many times and its almost always with a group of people that are religious. With what I've seen here on GC most of you guys are non-religious, atheists or a non-traditional spiritualist. With that said I want to see what you guys think?

    Are the people capable of great evil born that way or was it how they were raised? Are the great leaders in peace products of perfect place, perfect time or did their legacy start before anyone was able to teach them anything?
  2. Laws of the universe makes us "evil" you can say ,buts that's vague .
  3. #3 jayfoxpox, Jan 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2013
    They're not mutually exclusive , so I'd say both nature and nuture. It's analogous to calculating the area of a rectangle , both the length and the width are important in determining the area , you can't say one is more important , since without the length or width there would be no area.

    There are genetic predispositions that may have a bias towards behaviors and are triggered by events.

    There are precipitating causes like a sudden social movement.

    and perpetuating causes that encourage the behavior to repeat itself in a cycle like having negative thoughts with depression.

    Understanding these kind of causes will help us understand why humans do the things they do.

    We're all capable of positive behaviors and negative beahiors due to our normative nature. If it appears normal to rape children you're probably going to more likely abide to the norm.

    There is a psychological phenomena called confirmity that are caused by informational influence where we follow the norm , because we think the other people have some kind of information we're un aware of and there is normative influence where even if we 're sure something is right we have more confidence in the majority of others in our public behavior.
    These are confirmed by the Asch experiment where there are confederates and one test subject that match the length of lines and the confederates purposley choose the wrong answer , and the subject would follow the confederates despite the obvious wrongness.

    edit:One would also first have to define evil and good.
  4. You sir, are awesome. That is all
  5. In my opinion, a person is born with BOTH good and evil.

    Nobody is born entirely good, or entirely evil.

    I think it's impossible for a person to be good 100% of the time, or evil 100% of the time.

    A person who generally does good thing, could do an evil thing under certain circumstance.

    A person who's been evil all his life, could surprise us and do an incredibly good thing.

    I don't know...
  6. You can't really define what evil is because one person's evil might be another person's good. Likewise someone that does "evil" determined per everyone else, could in their own mind be doing something good.

    I personally believe that everyone exists in a primarily dualistic (good and evil) state until they become balanced within. My motto is, when you're at peace with yourself you shall always be at peace. Once a person is balanced and doesn't have stressors, they begin to help others balance.
  7. neither exist. it is our perception of events that make them good or evil. we can only see from our subjective eyes so just as their is no true reality their is no true good and evil.

  8. Reading this made me think,

    What if someone does something, but nobody knows about it?
  9. I agree to an extent. Everyone has some sort of moral compass, if you truly don't then you are (by definition) a psychopath. If someone goes out and shoots up a school it is an evil act, it's universal. But since we're splitting hairs here, say someone goes and kills a unfaithful spouse then some will perceive this as evil and others will perceive this as "good" arguing that the victim deserved it.

    I'm defining good as something that is beneficial for humanity, something a vast majority of people will perceive as a good deed. Also defining evil as something that is detrimental to humanity, with a vast majority perceiving it as an evil deed.
  10. #10 Boats And Hoes, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 5, 2013
    Yes, this is true, but it doesn't undermine the original question.

    What the OP means by good is "beneficial" -- Are humans, by their innate nature, inclined to help creatures of their species (this help is meant to be beneficial to others) ?... Or, are humans, by their innate nature, solemnly stingy and egotistical?
  11. There we go! I guess I wasn't specific enough in the original post.
  12. If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise?

  13. Then only they know whether what they did was good or not.
  14. Just butting in here -

    I was watching a show about the most infamous gangsters in America and I thought to myself, what could these men, great leaders amongst other criminals, have accomplished in a better environment?

    Almost all the top dogs were charismatic and smart. I blame the impoverished conditions.
  15. Good point. Comes down to opportunity and intention. Upbringing and influence.
  16. Think about this for a minute, were these men leaders or dictators. Would you want any of those guys leading anything in a legal world?

    You blame the environment, but who else from these areas went on the be great "leaders".
  17. I think that we have learned behaviors that come from our environment whether those be negative or positive, and by adulthood we are fully aware if these behaviors are good or bad.

    I was taught to go to church every Sunday, read the scriptures and live righteously (positive influence). I did so until I was about 15 and started to hang with some not so favorable kids and started to get into trouble (negative influence). With those influences pulling in complete opposite directions it was up to me (natural influence) to decide how I wanted to live.

    I am only one person but everyone has something like this going on in their lives. It's up to who they really are to sculpt how they will be.
    So where did your natural self come from? Has any of the ways you were taught really stuck? Or are you something entirely different?

    I might get a lot of flak from this but do you think Hitlers upbringing was so horrible it drove him to genocide, or was he born geared towards such violence?

    When the cavemen (as natural human behavior I can think of) ruled it would have been an advantage to be a predisposition to be aggressive and selfish, survival of the fittest. Were these traits bred into us since the beginning and we are constantly suppressing them? At young ages we are very possessive and self centered but as we age we learn that's not "good" so we learn to suppress very well.
  18. #18 Padovan, Jan 5, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
    What if they started off part of the legal world? Family, education, opportunity?

    No, other people did not go on to be great leaders from those areas because as I said, they didn't get a chance. They got tied up in and snuffed out by crime. That is environmental. They still loved and helped those around them though, to me that shows good inside. Most stories, despite the atrocities, also told of a lot of generosity to those close to the drug lords. Some even donated money to neighborhoods and stuff. Then again that's easy to do when your sitting on stacks of cash.

    I'm still going to have to side with it's the guidance someone receives that determines goodness, but that is our true nature. Look at the phenomenon of love between people.
  19. We are all part of the divine consciousness, we are one and the same. The divine IS love. There is no evil in the 4th dimension and above. It is only because we are in the 3rd dimension that we see hatred, fear, manipulation, evil etc. This is what we came here to experience really. But one day EVERY soul will return to love. So I would say that man is inherently good, it is only through 3rd dimensional influence, particularly in the dark ages when many are seperated from their spiritual awareness and connection to all that is that evil comes. But from evil, comes lessons, from lessons, comes growth, and from growth comes love.
  20. Very much agree, I don't know about dimensions though.

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