Are People Inherently Good or Evil

78 views 7 pages ~ 1739 words
Get a Custom Essay Writer Just For You!

Experts in this subject field are ready to write an original essay following your instructions to the dot!

Hire a Writer

The controversy about whether humans are intrinsically good or bad has raged for a long time, with either side claiming to have solid evidence to back up their arguments. Thomas Hobbes is one of the key thinkers who contributed to the controversy, arguing that humans are motivated by a constant and insatiable desire for resources. Anyone that causes another pain or distress is also deemed to be behaving unethically. The stand conjures up images of one of history's most notorious despots and tyrants, Adolf Hitler. As the German leader, he was so ruthless and inhumane to the extent of being considered as the antichrist, although this has been argued out as an extremist stand. Using this case, then human beings end up as being inherently evil.

It would be interesting to question why other people have not taken Hitler's path, if that is our nature. However, there are some factors that may not be at our disposal for such an extremist occurrences. For example, Hitler was a political demagogue, capable of influencing large masses to support his stand. He was also the leader of the armed forces and thus had all the power and the right means to go to the extreme of inflicting mass casualties to all people deemed as his enemies. The desire to have people living at peace is not driven by the lack of interest to cause instability but rather the means of inflicting mass casualties in order to push form one's selfish agendas. Many people in the society are responsive to this evil nature of human who would be potentially more dangerous than Hitler by the mechanisms in place have been preventing them to discover their full negative potential.

The inadequacy of means to fully exploit evil instants makes people have different degrees of harm potential. People like Hitler and the Kim Jong-Un can be considered as being on one end of evil continuum while the other end might have people who cause lesser harms to other such as smoking cigarettes in undesignated locations. From this stand. The idea of the evil world should be given a multifaceted approach that exposes all those acts considered as harming the interest of others regardless of their degrees. Among the key factors that spark these evil tendencies are the emphasis on the survival for the fittest theory and the governments overly concerns to have the society controlled and kept in check regardless of the cost implications. The world can, however, be made to be a better place through teaching children on the need to adopt the good vices in the world.

The presence of government in every society is essential although the leadership should be guided by a democratic process that upholds fundamental human rights principles. Without the government, it would be difficult to have people held accountable for their decisions and actions to harm others. The existence of these supra institutions upon which we have entrusted our sovereignty makes us question the idea whether were are born as naturally good. The explanation to this can be drawn from the works of renowned scholars such as Grant who improved on some ideas on the human nature from Aristotle (Grant, 54-57). The two scholars agree that human beings without laws are beasts and therefore need to be checked. The observance of all types of laws of laws advocated for by other classical scholars like Thomas of Aquinas increases the trust that we have for our fellow human beings who would otherwise be engaging in activities such as stealing and killing in instances where there is a conflict of interest.

The concept of the brain being an empty slate (tabula rasa) is still applicable although environmental factors make one to adapt and engaging in various activities that guarantees survival. The environment can be blamed for the diminished trust we have for others making us close our doors at night and advising children to avoid strangers for fear of getting hurt. The presence of such societal misfits who are more inclined to doing evil with consideration of the dire consequences calls for the establishment of institutions such as police services and prison departments. It should further be noted that these bodies should not too much power as this would result in a compromise on human rights, because absolute power has been proven to corrupt absolutely.

Human beings also have innate survival instincts that guarantee them a chance to outdo the weaker one in a highly competitive world. Initially, competition used to be for food, mates and at times habitat. However, with increased modernization, the theory of, survival for the fittest has made so many human values to be corrupted. The theory seems to advance the need to seek pleasure and at the same time limiting the chances of being remorseful, an idea that is mostly driven by the id aspect of human personality (Alfrod, 21-24). The drive by these instincts seems to go beyond the pre-birth period, an idea that can be supported by studies done on the condition of the twin-to-twin syndrome. Using MRI, doctors have proven that identical twins can engage in a competitive affair of siphoning blood from the weaker one until it miscarries. Such findings prove that the human nature is inherently evil, a stand that was supported by Grant. In the womb, fetuses have no influence from the environment and are not in any way rational and thus such survival tactics are inherently in their genes hence proving that the evil tendencies probably go far beyond this period.

The concept of being inherently evil is backed up by further arguments that if we are good, there is no point of teaching our children to be good. In the book Lord of Flies the real nature of human beings is revealed through the analysis of the boys' behavior in the lone island. Surviving a plane crash, the boys had to look for ways to survive and instill social order for the benefit of all. Jack was positive minded and made sure there are good measures in place for their security, such as putting up a shelter and looking for food to be shared in the hunting. Jack and Piggy are also behind the idea of putting up a fire through using Piggy's spectacles so that they can alert any passersby for a possible rescue mission (Golding 57-59). The rise of a rebellion against the good leadership shows many boys turn out savage and teaming up with an evil group leader who is not concerned about ways to get out of the Island. The real human nature displayed by the majority of the boys who even went to the extent of killing some of their members proves the brutish nature of the evil human beings.

Useful info: Pay for custom research paper - the easiest way to get rid of writing assignments.

From these unfortunate events from the Lord of Flies, Katrine Froese's ideas of morality being an abstract and an unachievable concept is presented. Although these boys initially aimed at ensuring they peacefully live together until somebody comes for their help, the peace and the need to be moral has been proven to take the form of a mirage that is never in existence. Coming with moral codes is meant to guarantee peace although its pillars are shaky and can change anytime when the people entrusted with power decide to shift goals for their benefits. Kant's ideas were backed up by the claim that human beings are ever in the unending process of becoming even more moral (Froese 257-260). However, the analysis of the human nature proves that our endeavors to achieve a full potential are barred in the integration process of being in a meaningful natural order. Jack, the only good intentioned character ended up in the safe hands of a visitor to the Island who can be considered as standing for the bodies that protect the good and morally upright people.

The twin-to-twin syndrome has however been debated by some scholars who hold the idea that the scenario proves that the human nature is inherently good. The view is supported by scholars such as Judith Smetana and Melanie Killen who analyzed brain activity and other factors that influences our natural reasoning (Melanie & Smetana, 241-243). An argument raised that decisions are influenced by the analysis of moral and immoral feature rendered the whole idea of the human nature, in this case, to be moot. The same scientists would agree that at the fetal stage, the brain is never fully developed and therefore not be engaged in rational thoughts of morality. The argument on the good nature of humans should, therefore, be dropped in this case because the facts and the explanation of events support the stand of being evil.

Conclusively, the nature of human beings can be considered as being innately controlled by evil desires that increases the chances of survival. Evolution has made the concept of the survival for the fittest to be of utmost importance, something that does not support the societal moral codes as proven in the case of the twins. Besides, the need to teach our children to be always good proves that we are changing a negative and amoral thing in their nature that can cause social instability and disorder. If at all people were good, we would not be concerned about closing our doors at night or advising our children to avoid strangers because all people are good. Because of the human being's animalistic tendencies, there was a need for them to give their sovereignty to the government that would set up measures aimed at ensuring peace has prevailed through eliminating the bad characters in the society. We need to realize what are our true intentions and stop living in denial as a defense mechanism. Thomas Hobbes statement on human beings being controlled by the desire to have power summarizes the whole discussion and support the idea that we are inherently evil.

Read also: Where to find a professional essay writing service?

Work Cited

Alford, C. Fred. "Chapter 2 Evil Is Pleasure in Hurting and Lack of Remorse." What
Evil Means to Us. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997. 21-34. Print.
Froese, Katrin. "The Art of Becoming Human: Morality in Kant and Confucius." Dao :
a Journal of Comparative Philosophy 7.3 (2008): 257-68. ProQuest. Web. 23 July 2015.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies: A Novel. Educational ed. London: Faber and Faber,
2012. Print.
Grant, S. "Humans Are Naturally Evil." Listverse. Listverse, 22 May 2013. Web. 23
July 2015.
Killen, Melanie, and Judith Smetana. "The Biology of Morality: Human Development
and Moral Neuroscience." Human development 50.5 (2007): 241-3. ProQuest. Web. 23 July 2015.

October 26, 2021

Life Philosophy


Emotions Philosophers

Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Thomas Hobbes
Verified writer

Nixxy is accurate and fun to cooperate with. I have never tried online services before, but Nixxy is worth it alone because she helps you to feel confident as you share your task and ask for help. Amazing service!

Hire Writer

This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Eliminate the stress of Research and Writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro