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Human Nature: Good or Bad?

By beckycookie Jan 20, 2014 1132 Words
The great philosopher Socrates said “the unexamined life is not worth living.” We are forced to examine our lives at some point by the pressing questions of our own nature. The answers to questions of our goodness or badness are answered every day by our actions and the actions of those around us. One doesn’t have to look far to see both the best and the worst of who we are as a species. Axe body spray and perfumes for men is known to be one of the most sexist and misogynistic companies around. Their commercials depict women as sexual objects, to be rounded up by perfume and used for the wearers desire. Antithetical to that, Dove is known for it’s Real Beauty campaign. Empowering women to be proud of who they are and what they look like, Dove makes great efforts in the self-respect movement. Something that is little known to the general population is that these two brands are owned by the same big corporation: Unilever. This is an example of how people take advantage of other peoples values and circumstances. All they want is money. Large corporations don’t care if you get the girl or if you feel beautiful, they are just trying to make as much money as possible. It is evident that they take advantage of young peoples desires to feel wanted, and many peoples desires to feel comfortable in their own skin for their own benefits, no matter the contradiction in values. Cancer is something everyone will experience in their lives. At some point in any given life, someone will encounter cancer in themselves or a loved one. In New Zealand, an organisation called Project Promise was raising funds to build a cancer research hospital. They were $383,000 short of what they needed, and time was running out. When the members of the organisations were beginning to lose hope, someone donated one million dollars. They set out to find who it was, but the donor wanted to remain anonymous. This was selflessness as best we know it. The concept of altruism is one under debate on it’s own; but the idea of altruism in a broad sense is displayed here. Whoever donated this money was not out for a material return or accolades from their peers. Perhaps this amount was much to give, perhaps not; either way, it was needed and someone gave it. The anonymity let the donor do something good without receiving material or social benefits, showing that selflessness is possible. Hurricane Sandy happened last year and caused devastation for the residents along the Jersey shore. So many people were left homeless and there weren’t many police officers or law enforcement agents around to keep control of the situation. Many people were considered heroes in this situation; giving up their time and resources to help those who lost everything. There are still people helping those who became homeless, and some still who are giving more of their time and efforts to set up programs for the mentally ill to cater to their specific needs. However, there have also been looters. People who took whatever they could find from wherever they could find it. There are construction companies who are taking advantage of desperate families and committing fraud. They are scamming people who already have nothing to take even that away. With no restraints, people do anything, whether good or bad. Religious institutions are more and more in the news with both good and bad happenings within. Religious institutions have been called out for the wrongdoings they have condoned, and praised for the good things they have condoned. The new Pope has made a big step in telling catholics around the world to stop hate and move on from certain issues that have lead to exclusion of certain groups from the church. By telling the world of catholics that they “cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods”, he opened a window for people to get over these things and accept people for who they are. Stephen Weinberg said that “with or without [religion] you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Religion gives people reasons to do atrocious things. If one believes their god tells you to do something under threat of eternal torture, one will do anything. Honour killings, terrorism, hate speech, telling people in AIDS-ridden countries not to use condoms, and systematically moving rapist priests to different churches instead of prosecuting them are all things done in the name of god. Most people would agree that these things are not good things. Government does nothing to control human nature but create the laws to which citizens must abide by. By looking around the world at various governments, it is evident that people will act how they naturally are independent of government. Government only tries to regulate a forced goodness in people. In Syria, China, Egypt, Ireland, Germany, and Canada- all around the world and in all forms of government- people do great and terrible things. However, contrary to that is the example of the country of North Korea. In North Korea it is completely illegal to have differing opinions to the one that the government has. If it is found that someone has different ideas of how things should be, their family, including them, is thrown into concentration camps. In this case, the government is being completely controlling of everything everyone does, thinks, and feels in reaction to anything. There are people in this world who do the right things, people who do the wrong things, and some are indifferent. It is illogical and unfair to generalise seven billion people and counting into one fixed human nature. People make choices every day, and those choices are based on both what one knows and what one doesn’t know; the choices made by an individual may vary depending on what their circumstances are. Other peoples choices can change what may have happened. Ilyas Kassam said that “an over examination of life can deter you from life itself.” There are times when it is helpful and important to examine one's life and think about what it means to be human. The conclusion I have drawn about our nature is that we don’t have a nature. To find out whether someone is a kind or evil person it is necessary to learn about them, to know their circumstances, and to try and understand why they make the choices they do. There will always be evil people, but the one thing to keep hope for is the fact that there will always be good people too.

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