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Author Topic: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?  (Read 1874 times)

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2018, 12:26:44 PM »
I thought we weren't supposed to discuss religion. So I guess this whole topic is a bit dubious really as for a lot of people it's all connected.

Online oglop

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2018, 12:46:30 PM »
i reckon a lot of people are only 'good' because they fear the consequences. if they could do something and 100% get away with something and that there would be no repercussions, i think most people would do it

thievery
violence
cheating
adultery
etc

Offline robin_teacher

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2018, 01:37:06 PM »
I think if our needs are met the vast majority of humans are not disposed to inflicting suffering on others. I have vague hopes for the development of some sort of techno-utopia that would therefore eliminate most people's more evil proclivities but I suspect there's a large die-off in the works first la William Gibson's 'The Jackpot'.

"The Jackpot begins in the middle of the 21st century as a combination of climate change and other political issues, followed by a series of droughts, famines, pandemics, political chaos, and anarchy. 80% of the global population dies off. But as this is going on, scientists have created nanotech called Assemblers that begins to rebuild society, as well as finding other scientific and engineering breakthroughs. As a result, everything is very efficient and eco-friendly in the future, but it has mostly empty cities."

Offline ESLTurtle

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2018, 02:34:09 PM »
This next generation of South Koreans are bad because their parents suck @ss at parenting gg gtf0 league m8

Offline kyndo

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2018, 02:46:06 PM »
I think if our needs are met the vast majority of humans are not disposed to inflicting suffering on others. I have vague hopes for the development of some sort of techno-utopia that would therefore eliminate most people's more evil proclivities but I suspect there's a large die-off in the works first la William Gibson's 'The Jackpot'.
     I'm curious why you chose to name the book "The Jackpot?"
     Anyway, ja, I agree that things will get a lot worse before they ever get better: the systems we have in place can't change fast enough to keep up with the current need for change, and that's going to make for a lot of misery not too far down the road.   :sad:
     Go visit those zoos so that you can tell your grandkids you saw all those animals s/he can only ever read about!

     On the other hand, what with artificial/vat grown meat, low-impact textiles, renewable energy, the proliferation of on-demand distributed networks (ie: online shopping etc), etc etc, I think that the future is still salvageable.

     I doubt humans will ever create an actual utopia because for too many people, the only way to measure one own's success is to compare it to that of others. In my opinion, that's one of the basic roots of human inequality, and I can't foresee it changing any time soon.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 02:47:38 PM by kyndo »

Online pkjh

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2018, 02:48:40 PM »
i reckon a lot of people are only 'good' because they fear the consequences. if they could do something and 100% get away with something and that there would be no repercussions, i think most people would do it

thievery
violence
cheating
adultery
etc
I base good, and bad, based if another person gets physically injured.

Of the 4 you listed I'd say when it comes down to basics only thievery, and violence, are really wrong. Cheating, and adultery is usually done by two consenting adults. Sure it may emotionally hurt others, but physically everyone is fine. And thievery only if nobody is hurt.

Online Cyanea

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2018, 05:22:12 PM »
I base good, and bad, based if another person gets physically injured.

Strange cause I'm kinda of the opposite view.

You don't understand that emotionally hurting someone can kill them just as sure as physically stabbing them with a knife?

I think you need to learn about psychology a bit. Verbally abusing someone can do more damage to them in the long term than even breaking a limb. Take for example the victims of school bullies- it can affect their entire lives.
Catch my drift?

Offline englishscholar

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2018, 05:45:34 PM »
Hi, Aristocrat.
If you read through my post again I made no such assertion, I don't think we are born evil but that we are born with a proclivity to evil (read selfishness). I would suggest that this proclivity lends itself more toward bad intentions than good. The selfishness of children seems to be a monumental testament to this. What are the cries of infants other than commands of pure self interest. Their very first actions that they take in the world are selfish ones. Feed me, clothe me, look after me. Yes, we need this selfishness to survive but it is built into us and it would seem, at least to me, that the condition of selflessness is something we impose upon them. I don't think you can argue that self-interest is a purely noble thing. If pushed, it can and will result in tragedies. If something is good, it is good not just in the short term. A true good cannot be good today and bad tomorrow. It will endure throughout time. I think a truly good thing does not always have to be pleasant either. Denial of instant gratification to achieve something of lasting worth is something we do all the time and we know this to be good.

I think your point about free will is an interesting one. Yes you are able to curb desires to do evil because of your ability to rise above instinct but we still have desires to do this. I can't see where else these desires would come from other than an innate instinctual selfishness that stems from the very DNA we possess.
I totally agree with you about the issue that presents itself to religious and irreligious people. I think that bridging that gap between such a belief is impossible since they differ on the very fundamentals of how the world is structured.
I am always reminded of Nietzsche's parable of the madman. After he proposed that God was dead, I think he prophetically insinuated that we needed to create the morality of society anew; which I think is an impossible task not only for materialists but anyone else that does not have a belief in the divine. What is up? what is down? What is right? What is wrong? We have done away with the standards by which we measured reality and now we must create laws to replace them. It's not possible and I think that's one of the things that he recognized would happen to us. I mean he really was a genius to have predicted this so long ago and look at what happened to us as we moved forward with that kind of narrative driving us. Multiple world wars, we got Stalin, Mao and many others trying to find meaning in a world devoid of any. Earth was dyed the deepest crimson we have ever known from the amount of blood that flowed as we tried to replace that standard.
For me, that is what it boils down to in the end. Who defines what is right and wrong? Good or bad? In the end it's just a matter of opinion and even if the majority agrees on a definition who is to say it is true? Why should it be followed? Truth by it's very definition, is exclusive and elusive, it lies in the deep, a treasure, smothered by a sea of lies; but who is to say if it can be, or will be found in the collective will or beliefs of the majority. If there is no higher source of moral truth then we will never find it, and if we do, we will not know that we have as we keep searching for it.

I think this dilemma is what is at the heart of this entire thread, the philosophical ramifications for the positions people have chosen have shaped the course of history. We will continue to feel these effects far into the future unless we can at some point isolate the truth of morality, though whether this can ever be achieved is unlikely. Your thoughts on the topic were interesting and I'll certainly take them under consideration as I grapple with this topic.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2018, 06:12:46 PM by englishscholar »

Offline Rusty Brown

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2018, 05:59:38 PM »
Above all else human beings want to survive. They are neither good nor bad, just altruistic when it helps them.

Political leaning: A mixture, depending on the topic.

Online Cyanea

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2018, 06:04:33 PM »
Cheating, and adultery is usually done by two consenting adults. Sure it may emotionally hurt others, .

At what point does the level of emotional hurt count as a crime to you?

A decision to cheat could have long-lasting negative consequences on others. A divorce, a family break-up, children left without a parent, raised in poorer circumstances.. emotionally damaged, leading them to become criminals later in life.. and so on and on.

Moral crimes are just as bad as physical and ultimately they probably even cost the country more in terms of social services funded by the taxpayer.

Catch my drift?

Offline robin_teacher

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2018, 12:57:02 PM »
I think if our needs are met the vast majority of humans are not disposed to inflicting suffering on others. I have vague hopes for the development of some sort of techno-utopia that would therefore eliminate most people's more evil proclivities but I suspect there's a large die-off in the works first la William Gibson's 'The Jackpot'.
     I'm curious why you chose to name the book "The Jackpot?"

Ah! It's an event that occurs in the shared universe of many (perhaps all?) of his books but it's most clearly explained in 'The Peripheral'. That's where I took the quote explaining it from.

Offline kyndo

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #51 on: December 13, 2018, 01:09:05 PM »
I think if our needs are met the vast majority of humans are not disposed to inflicting suffering on others. I have vague hopes for the development of some sort of techno-utopia that would therefore eliminate most people's more evil proclivities but I suspect there's a large die-off in the works first la William Gibson's 'The Jackpot'.
     I'm curious why you chose to name the book "The Jackpot?"

Ah! It's an event that occurs in the shared universe of many (perhaps all?) of his books but it's most clearly explained in 'The Peripheral'. That's where I took the quote explaining it from.
Oh, interesting. I've read most of his works (albeit a long time ago) and never keyed in to that. I'm gonna have to go back and start re-reading a bunch of them!

And Gibson definitely has a somewhat darker opinion of human nature: not really 'good' or 'evil', but certainly 'weak' and possibly just plain 'dumb'.

Online eggieguffer

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2018, 01:15:30 PM »
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious. ;D

Online pkjh

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2018, 02:05:20 PM »
Cheating, and adultery is usually done by two consenting adults. Sure it may emotionally hurt others, .

At what point does the level of emotional hurt count as a crime to you?

A decision to cheat could have long-lasting negative consequences on others. A divorce, a family break-up, children left without a parent, raised in poorer circumstances.. emotionally damaged, leading them to become criminals later in life.. and so on and on.

Moral crimes are just as bad as physical and ultimately they probably even cost the country more in terms of social services funded by the taxpayer.
Because not every culture will view emotionally hurt at the same level. And even within societies a kid with divorced parents doesn't mean that kid will become a criminal. So not every person is effected the same by 'emotions'.

However, killing someone is 100% dead, the same all the time, and almost a universal taboo (cannibals being the exception, but they're pretty rare).
« Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 02:08:32 PM by pkjh »

Offline kyndo

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #54 on: December 13, 2018, 02:30:02 PM »
However, killing someone is 100% dead, the same all the time, and almost a universal taboo (cannibals being the exception, but they're pretty rare).
I think a better example might be those cultures that practiced head-hunting and human sacrifice rituals: many of them deliberately selected member of their own society as victims.

Cannibal societies, generally speaking, ate the flesh of their enemies, and often only that of enemy warriors... I mean sure, they killed them first, but most other cultures would call that warfare, not murder. Just because they liked to snack on their enemies didn't mean that they had no taboos on murder.

Online Cyanea

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #55 on: December 13, 2018, 03:32:48 PM »
Because not every culture will view emotionally hurt at the same level.

Well if good and evil is defined differently from culture to culture and person to person, then there's not much point even having this discussion.

Unless you start with an agreed moral authority and a black and white code, then its just whatever anyone says it is.

Hitler thought he was doing good by fast forwarding natural selection and killing disabled people. Robin Hood thought he was doing good by stealing from rich people. Pol Pot thought he was doing good by advancing the khmer nation.  Or, at least they claim they thought they were doing good. More likely they actually felt guilty about it but pretended otherwise.
Catch my drift?

Offline some waygug-in

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #56 on: December 13, 2018, 09:48:24 PM »
Just look read the news, what does this tell you?

We are born in sin, shaped in iniquity, come to the world speaking lies.

I am no exception.  :-[

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #57 on: December 13, 2018, 10:17:50 PM »
Just look read the news, what does this tell you?

We are born in sin, shaped in iniquity, come to the world speaking lies.

I am no exception.  :-[

Sin is a man made concept to keep the weak minded in check and maintain religious authority!

Offline some waygug-in

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #58 on: December 14, 2018, 12:29:21 AM »
You don't have to teach kids how to lie, they do it naturally.

You do have to teach them the importance of being honest.

You don't have to teach kids how to be selfish.

You do have to teach them the importance of sharing and caring for others.

I could come up with a whole list of other examples, but I think you get the point.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2018, 12:37:57 AM by some waygug-in »

Online pkjh

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Re: Are human beings fundamentally good or bad?
« Reply #59 on: December 14, 2018, 10:12:54 AM »
Because not every culture will view emotionally hurt at the same level.

Well if good and evil is defined differently from culture to culture and person to person, then there's not much point even having this discussion.

Unless you start with an agreed moral authority and a black and white code, then its just whatever anyone says it is.

Hitler thought he was doing good by fast forwarding natural selection and killing disabled people. Robin Hood thought he was doing good by stealing from rich people. Pol Pot thought he was doing good by advancing the khmer nation.  Or, at least they claim they thought they were doing good. More likely they actually felt guilty about it but pretended otherwise.
The point is that most people don't want to kill, or cause physical harm to others, if they can avoid it in order to meet their basic needs (shelter, and food). That's not taught, it's just natural.

Hitler killed people - bad
Pol Pot killed people - bad
Robin Hood took the extras from people with excess good, and redistributed it - not so bad since, no killing, or physical harm involved