A Critique on
The Blank Slate, The Noble Savage and The Ghost in the Machine.
There are three doctrines which have attained sacred status in modern intellectual life. The Blank Slate, a loose translation of the medieval Latin term tabula rasa, scraped tablet, commonly attributed to John Locke which delves into the opposing of political status quos and social arrangements, stating mainly that the mind is like a sheet of white paper void of all characters and ideas, furnished with words through experience; it denounced the differences seen among races, including the institution of slavery as slaves could no longer be thought of as innately inferior, ethnic groups, sexes and individuals for the differences come not from the innate constitution but from the differences in the experiences. It is indeed fitting to think of the mind that way as the mind is like a blank sheet of paper filled only through experience. Yet it is safe to say that not only experience that can fill it but also preconceptions and expectations of the society. Another doctrine is The Noble Savage, commonly attributed to philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, inspired by the European colonists’ discovery of the indigenous in the New World; it stated the belief that savages were solitary, without ties of love or loyalty and without any industry or art. It also captures the belief that humans in their natural state are selfless, peaceable and untroubled and that negative emotions such as greed and jealousy are products of civilization, a concept which debased Thomas Hobbes’ belief that man is naturally cruel and requires a regular system of police to be resolved. Looking at it from a personal angle, I would say that I quite agree with Hobbes only on one aspect: man is naturally cruel; if he isn’t, then how is it that our history has been tainted with the blood of millions of people who have died because of a single man who could not rein his malice, i.e. Hitler. Even in our everyday life, we manage...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document