Is Man Good or Bad?

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Belle Scherer
Prof. Mitchell
Composition I, Sec 111A
March 1, 2011
Is Man Good or Bad?
Sigmund Freud was a psychologist who believed that the unconscious stores our instinctual desires, needs, and psychic actions. He believed that the unconscious hides one’s socially unacceptable ideas, wishes or desires. These unconscious thoughts can only be exposed to the person when they are "tapped" by special methods, such as psychoanalysis. You may be confused, thinking that I have accidently handed in my Psychology paper, but the truth is that my own personal theory of whether human nature is inherently good or evil is based on Freud’s theory of the unconscious. I believe that man’s nature is inherently both good and bad; man is born thinking only ‘good’ thoughts, but have the ‘bad’ in their unconscious, and with external forces the ‘bad’ can be brought out. We learn of the evil in us from our environment and after that consider both good and bad in making our decisions. After all, how did man learn of greed without being taught the use of the secondary reinforce of money? The works done by Mencius, Gandhi, C.S. Lewis, and Hardin support my theory that we are instinctually good, but our environment can influence us to act upon our evil thinking. Mencius, a famous Confucian Chinese philosopher, believed in a theory much similar to mine, that human nature was inheritably good and by only external influences in their lives do they turn evil. Mencius’ thinking is exemplified in the reactions of others when they watch a child fall: they all feel alarm and distress, neither to win a friendship with the child’s parents nor to win praise from those who see them, but because they have an innate tendency towards goodness. He argued that if people just followed their original feelings, like the alarm and distress they feel when seeing a child in danger, they could continue to be good. However, with the bad influence of our environment, people could ignore their original...
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