Are we born evil or born good and become evil because of society? - Page 4

Are we born evil or born good and become evil because of society?

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This is a discussion on Are we born evil or born good and become evil because of society? within the General Psychology forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Good and evil are values created by society. We all have different definitions. But if you're going on society's moral ...

  1. #31

    Good and evil are values created by society. We all have different definitions.

    But if you're going on society's moral ideas, then nobody is born evil. A baby born into ISIS is raised to behead people - he does this joyfully as an adult. He is shot and killed, branded as evil. If he was born into a western country, with the exact same mental capacity, he could have grown to become a doctor who cures thousands of people from their cancer every year, and revolutionises the way we treat cancer patients. Nature vs Nurture. There are very few people who are born messed up to the point where they're prone to 'evil' acts. Just like good people can be warped and become bad people, the opposite can happen to bad people.

    I like to believe that nature determines 98% of what we become. There is no murderer in the world that didn't have a turning point, or negative childhood - even a small event that determined their dark future.

  2. #32

    For the most part, horrible human beings are just the people who maintain the capacity to think of themselves as good human beings despite the perspectives of the people they harm in doing so. We are born with the ability to understand and form narratives, and so the question becomes whether we adapt it to understand how we impact others and what the things we do mean to them or whether we remain exclusive to our own story despite everyone else, in the first case you don't get to see yourself as particularly good, but you are in the position to see when you might not be and choose not too, while in the later you are going to see yourself as good regardless of what you do, yet both of those capacities are based on the same cognitive ability for storytelling and narrative, meaning both good and evil are ingrained, not as a dichotomy containing two sides but rather as the raw material and toolset to become either one and everything in between.

  3. #33

    It depends, the more you need to do questionable things in order to survive within a certain environment the more influence that evil has or is present to corrupt people. If you could extinguish all sources of evil, and create an environment where virtuous people can absolutely prosper in then evil would not exist for a momentum. You would have to take an 'end justifies the means' root, by destroying evil you ensure people will not have to dirty their hands to survive and future generations the same by creating an environment of eternal harmony.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiz View Post
    How does this statement fit with the fact that some people are born with various brain anomalies that causes a inability to feel empathy towards others, as well as all combinations under the sun in terms of temperamental differences of dominance, violence, aggression, etc?
    Which is why we must ensure that the genes of those with high violence, aggression and dominance do not get passed on somehow. These are not fully human in a civilized way but scientifically and genetically what's called under the category of 'sub-human' or a hybrid. Maybe through altering them using technology?

    If we do not stop them people will continue to suffer, die and get killed/butchered in this world. It will continue to be EXTREMELY EXTREMELY DANGEROUS

    I saw a person the other day with ears that greatly resembled a chimpanzee's ears and immediately knew he was a thug by his facial expression.

    Last edited by Priest of Justice; 08-30-2017 at 08:03 AM.

  4. #34

    Quote Originally Posted by Poizon View Post
    Thanks for proving my point.
    If you reason like that, all your opinions are right. This is how religious people prove to themselves that god exists. There's no discussion possible if you reason like that.

    Experimenting and reaching a conclusion is learning. It's not innate behaviour.

  5. #35

    We have to develop an adequate conception of what human nature is like to break the fragmented ontology of biological and social, which we may in word assert the biosocial nature of man but still rely on a unresolved duality.
    When discussing biological factors, one should not reduce them to the genetic. More attention should be given to the physiological and ontogenetic aspects of development, and particularly to those that evoke a pathological effect, for it is these that modify the biology of the human being, who is also beginning to perceive even social factors in quite a different way. Dialectics does not simply put the social and the biological factors on an equal footing and attribute the human essence to the formula of biotropic-sociotropic determination favoured by some scientists. It stresses the dominant role of the social factors. Nor does dialectics accept the principles of vulgar sociologism, which ignores the significance of the biological principle in man.
    Erich Fromm 1961 4. The Nature of Man
    Ilyenkov’s Dialectic of the Abstract and the Concrete II | Marx Returns from the Grave

    Which but a hint at the sort of conception of human nature that should try to concieve before then moving onto the development of man's consciousness before start asking as grand a question to the good/evil of man's being.
    To which then have to consider the manner in which morality is based and how it is formed which I would assert is social and historical contingent on real world conditions and relations.
    Marxism and ethics – International Socialism
    P. 14
    What it means to say that morality is determined by human nature.
    Whenever Marx evaluates the moral status of an economic formation, a political system, the role of a group or collective, or the specific actions of one individual person, he does so within the context of this more abstract and universal conception of human social existence (which is in turn based on the concrete totality of human social being)20. Throughout this dissertation, I emphasize the fact that in determining what is morally required in a specific historical situation, Marx asks whether or not the action, principle, political movement, etc. in question is such as to promote or to inhibit the expansion of human powers and the satisfaction of human needs. Put differently, in order to know the moral status of a thing, one must know whether or not it is such as to help human beings to realize their nature as natural and social beings who satisfy their needs and transform their existence consciously through the labor process. However, this is no mean feat. I do not intend to make it sound obvious or apparent, simply from a knowledge of this abstraction of human essence, which human actions will fit the bill.

    I believe it is a virtue of Marx's theory that his conception of human nature is quite thin. He does not think that human beings are essentially selfish, essentially altruistic, essentially competitive, fallen, vicious, or any other of a whole host of characterizations that other theories have attributed to essential human nature. But then it is fair to ask, Now that one has ascended “from earth to heaven,” as Marx puts it in The German Ideology, and abstracted a human essence out of a concrete totality of determinate appearances, how do we get back down again?

    The move downward is mediated by different levels of abstraction between essential human nature that is universal to all human beings and a particular, concrete historical situation and the agents who are in it21. We approach historical questions proceeding from the fact that human beings are always at least indirectly producing their own conditions of existence when they produce in order to satisfy their needs22. However, that is quite general. This human production can take on a variety of forms, and so in evaluating a concrete historical situation it is not enough to know merely that human beings produce their existence through the labor process. Although of course no human being acts in conditions of absolute knowledge, in seeking to determine what is morally right or wrong in a given situation, we must gather as much information as possible regarding moments of the concrete totality of social existence in which one acts. In short, a scientific materialist knowledge of human social existence is a prerequisite for accurate normative judgements. Here is a non-exhaustive description of some of the most important aspects of reality which we must investigate in order to determine what is morally required at a particular historical moment.

    In addition to knowing that human beings produce their existence, we must also determine how that production is carried out. We must know what the mode of production of a given society is, whether there is a division of labor and if so, how labor is divided, and furthermore, at what stage of development a society is within that mode of production. This is an empirical question about the economic organization of a society. To answer it, we have to investigate such matters as who is taking part in production, and whether society is still at the stage of consuming what is found ready in nature, as in a hunter-gatherer society, or human beings are actively intervening into nature to direct its processes, as in an agricultural society, or whether production has become rationalized and socialized, and its efficiency increased, to the massive extent that it has in industrial production. We need to examine how goods are distributed once they are produced, and whether a surplus is created and if so, how large a surplus and who controls it.

    We also need to know what material resources society has at its disposal, and whether these are such as to allow a transition to a higher stage of society—that is, one that is more amenable to the realization of human nature. It is Utopian, Marx argues, to advocate a new type of society without properly identifying exactly which forces within the old society make such a transition and development possible, and how those forces can be directed at such a transition. A social transformation can only be genuinely moral at a point at which it is historically possible to realize.

    We need to know what if any classes exist in the society and what the balance of forces are among them. The notion of economic class is itself an abstraction out of a totality of individual human actors within an economic system. In the case of capitalism, we often see this economic system depicted as one in which autonomous individuals interact with one another as equals, bringing different wares to market—sometimes corn, sometimes their own labor-power. However, when we evaluate the dynamics of this system we see that in fact, these individuals relate to the market in different ways, so that these “free” and “equal” individuals tend to belong, by virtue of their relation to the capitalist market, in one of two broad categories: those who buy labor-power, and those who sell it. And whether you are the capitalist who buys labor-power in order to produce commodities which she can then sell to increase her profit, or the worker who has nothing to sell but his labor-power in order to satisfy his private needs, your actions are not so “free,” but rather determined in significant ways by the economic laws which govern the movement of commodities in such a society. And these actors are not so “equal,” because those who live by buying labor-power and amassing profit tend to have the upper hand over those who live by selling their labor-power daily, thereby contributing to the store of dead labor in the hands of the capitalist.

    So in determining what an actor ought morally to do within a given historical situation, we must determine the class membership of the particular historical actor in question, how and whether her actions promote the interests of her class, and furthermore how those class interests stand in relation to the interests of society or of humanity taken as a whole. We need to know the level of organization of that class, whether it has become conscious of its interests and whether it has developed a political leadership capable of advancing those interests.

    We need to know the nature and breadth of the individual person's scope for action, and therefore it is important to understand the historical factors which have led up to the moment in which she acts, as well as knowing the individual's own personal qualities and capacities.

    The investigation into each of these questions, according to Marx, will proceed from an understanding that each of these aspects of social being have arisen out of a long process of human beings producing their own existence through their active adaptation to the world in which they live. However, in order to derive specific, concrete moral claims out of this abstract and general principle, we must understand the particular manner in which this essence is realized, and also the manner in which it is distorted, frustrated, or limited, in the various historical formations that have arisen during this process. It may sound as though it is an awfully tall order, to need to know so much about the historical context in which an agent acts. But the point is that in order to say with a high degree of accuracy what is morally required in a given historical situation, we need to know as much of this context as possible and we need to understand it in a manner informed by categories such as class and mode of production, so that we can understand how all the parts of this totality interact with one another and form a developing whole into which human beings can consciously and rationally intervene. With regard to morality, what it means to say, as Marx does, that “When reality is depicted, philosophy as an independent branch of knowledge loses its medium of existence” (The German Ideology, MECW 5:37), is to say that we cannot make accurate moral claims without investigating the concrete historical situation as thoroughly and systematically as possible. Philosophy continues to exist as part of our knowledge, but there is no longer a hard and fast border between philosophical knowledge and the scientific knowledge of society and nature23. The question, What is to be done? is answered by determining what, in a particular situation, is most likely to promote the realization of human nature, and this is something that can be determined empirically via the method I have sketched here.

    If this is adequately understood I speculate that should be able to at least better consider the nature of people and whether their actions are good or bad.
    But explaining things like their agency is a bit difficult but it has to be situated in the real world and not abstracted from it and considered in a vacuum. But what ever freedom to do things is, it's mediated through social products, which then constitute our inner symbolic world that mediates our perception of the empirical world ( See 1 and 2)
    Free Will and the Analytical Mind | Andy Blunden -
    So we actually can intentionally “operate” our own brains, much as we can operate a car, while the remains all the while subject to the laws of physics. There is no border line with physical/law-governed on this side and free/voluntary on that side. Our growing up as human beings within a culture means that we are taught, and we learn to control the inner psychological and biological processes of our own bodies. Our bodies are a realm in which the determinate/physical is mixed in with the indeterminate and free.

    The point (for me) is that we gain this freedom to control our own bodies only mediately via other people and the products of the culture around us. The question is: are we exercising genuinely free self-determination, or are we simply acting in a way that is determined by the means that the culture places at our disposal.

    And that is a question which is not so easily answered. Perhaps Nature will trump Culture in the end, but it is not a trivial question.
    In the end I have no real conclusive answer because I don't adequately understand the nature of people so extensively as to even speculate a plausible answer. Only press what I think are fruitful ways of thinking about some things which are necessarily conditions to consider before a satisfactory answer can be asserted.

  6. #36

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    If you reason like that, all your opinions are right. This is how religious people prove to themselves that god exists. There's no discussion possible if you reason like that.

    Experimenting and reaching a conclusion is learning. It's not innate behaviour.
    Is it not human nature to experiment and learn? Then it must be human nature to also do evil. Whether you think it's due to a learning process or not, you must admit that humans are naturally evil and only grow up to be good due to society.

  7. #37

    I agree with Kant, being evil is a part of human nature. We have many capabilities and being evil is one of them.

  8. #38

    Tabula Rasa. We are all born a blank slate. I agree that we inherently have the potential to be good or evil. That is our human nature. I think a person is a product of their environment and ideologies. It depends on how you grew up, who raised you, these and other factors predispose you to be good or evil.
    Kommandant thanked this post.

  9. #39

    Quote Originally Posted by Poizon View Post
    Is it not human nature to experiment and learn? Then it must be human nature to also do evil. Whether you think it's due to a learning process or not, you must admit that humans are naturally evil and only grow up to be good due to society.
    If you use that logic then humans are naturally good as well. You´re not saying anything with that logic. You just want people to be mean without being responsible for it. I'm not going to give you that.

  10. #40

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter View Post
    If you use that logic then humans are naturally good as well. You´re not saying anything with that logic. You just want people to be mean without being responsible for it. I'm not going to give you that.
    I can agree that humans can still be good without even being taught but not the kind of 'good' we imagine today.

    For example, in a tribe of people, I can expect that the humans of that tribe to very 'good' to one another but even back then they did questionable things such as incest, cheating, killing for power etc.

    To say humans are naturally good is to ignore human history. We've been very evil in the past. We simply evolve and change what 'good' means as time goes by. We then structure our societies to uphold these new values.

    I don't want people to be mean at all which is why I'm arguing that humans are naturally evil. If we accept that part of our nature then we can maintain that it's society's job to keep the 'good' in humans and not a centralized government.

    Socialists are the ones that argue than humans are naturally good so they can use big government to take over. Because afterall, if humans are naturally good, then big government wouldn't be a problem as people would still cooperate.

    We don't work that way, as history has clearly taught us (or should I say some).

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