The Purpose of the Natural Man
What separates man from animal is nothing more than what has been categorized as Human nature, but what Is Human nature? What actions of man can actually be considered as being a causation of his nature? Is Human nature good or is it evil? In order to answer these questions we must first understand what is good and what is evil. The definition of good is said to be moral excellence or admirableness, that which is good or valuable or useful, beneficial. The definition of evil is said to be morally objectionable behavior, that which causes harm or destruction or misfortune, morally wrong in principle or practice There are many people who feel that Human nature is evil because of the theory that Human's are never satisfied but, you have others who define Human nature as being good; a natural idea of survival in peace. Throughout history many philosophers have attempted to present a theoretically correct summary on the topic of human nature. Human Nature is Good, Human nature is evil, The Second Treatise on government, Discourse on the arts and sciences, Leviathan and the 1844 Manuscripts are all examples of literature in which philosophers have expressed their theory. Mencius, Hsun Tzu, John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Hobbes, and Karl Marx all used these works of literature to express their different theories and explain why they have chosen that theory. When it comes to topic of Human Nature I would have to say that I agree with a small portion of each philosopher's theory.
According to Mencius the universal idea of human nature is good. In his essay "Human nature is good" he stated "Man's nature is naturally good just as water flows downward. There is no man without good". By comparing man's nature to the flow of water he is explaining that man's nature is good naturally without cause or reason just like water flows in a downward direction for no explained reason. He then goes on to say that "Man can be made to do evil" which means that even though man's nature is good if put into a situation where one's family or life is at stake man can turn evil. According to Mencius "the feeling of right and wrong is found in all men" which is what separates man from animal. He also believes "In good years most of the young people behave well, in bad years most of them abandon themselves to evil". He does not feel this is due to "any difference in the natural capacity endowed by heaven" but, that this abandonment is "due to the fact that the mind is allowed to fall into evil". Mencius believes that all humans are born with certain traits which can not be "drilled into us from the outside". Those traits are humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom. "Seek and you will find neglect and you will lose it" is what Mencius feels is the key to man maintaining his natural endowments. Many people agree with Mencius ideas because they feel it is the reasoning behind the morals which are set in society.
Hsun Tzu is one philosopher who completely disagrees with Mencius idea of man's nature being good. In his essay "Human nature is evil" Tzu explains that naturally man is going to be evil because goodness " is the result of conscious activity" which he feels that man does not have when it is first born. Tzu feels "Man is born with a fondness for profit. If he indulges this fondness, it will lead him into wrangling and strife, and all sense of courtesy and humility will disappear" thus making man to have no barriers preventing him from doing evil. Tzu then states that "Man must first be transformed by the instructions of a teacher and guided by ritual principles" only then does he feel that man will be able to live in social order and do well. He refers to man as having two parts "That part of man which cannot be learned or acquired by effort us called the nature; that part of him which can be acquired by learning and brought to completion by effort is called conscious...
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