The Debate Between the Good and Evil of Human Nature

Humans have evolved from lawless creatures whose daily struggle included getting food and staying alive, to people with culture and intelligence One thing remains the same; our nature. Are we naturally good, or evil? Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were on different sides of the spectrum on this, Hobbes thought humans were naturally evil; I believe this is more realistic than Locke, who thought humans were naturally good. Hobbes argues that not all humans are naturally selfish, cowardly and vain, but that some of them are, Not everyone is ‘bad’; people that we call heroes today, such as Mother Teresa, were good people who were neither selfish nor cowardly nor vain. At the same time, however, not everyone is ‘good’; people that we call heroes today, such as Andrew Jackson, also did bad things-he holds most of the responsibility for the Trail of Tears and the deaths of many Native Americans.

Good people have bad inside of them, but they tend to not use it, which is what makes them good. Bad people, on the other hand, have good inside of them, but they don’t show it, causing others to label them as bad, Either way, good and bad are both relative terms. Just because one person thinks another is good, doesn’t actually make them good. Without rules, more people will be motivated to do bad things, which is why we have them in place. Hobbes believes that without some form of government, there would be no order. Without rules-and consequences for not following them-people would tend to do whatever they wanted to. This could include stealing, lying, and even the murder of people in their way.

Hobbes states: “The wickedness of bad men also compels good men to have recourse, for their own protection, to the virtues of war, which are violence and fraud”, which means that bad people influence good people to do bad things in order to survive. Laws are put in place so that bad men don’t get away with doing bad things, and the good will be protected. Hobbes says that without government, humans will compete for necessities of life. In fact, even with government, this holds true. Although it’s against the law, people steal and cheat for things almost everyday! Laws don’t guarantee that everyone will obey them. If a person doesn’t have any food left, and their neighbor does, that person will likely steal so that they don’t starve Animal behavior shows just this; animals compete for food, territory, and matest Humans, though we may consider ourselves superior, are technically animals too, so we have that instinct to put our needs first Rightly so, for if we are not healthy, how can we help our families?

In airplanes, you are told to put on your air mask first before helping others. Itjust makes sense. So, people naturally put their needs first, and in doing so compete with others for resources In conclusion, I believe humans are not good by nature. Although not all humans are completely self-centered, most are, and even if they are not, they are capable of it if they so choose. If humans do not have some form of rules or government in place, it would be anarchy, and that is not good; humans would live in what Hobbes called his ‘evil state of nature‘ where there is no authority. Without those rules, humans would fight for the things they need, and the world would be chaos. Thankfully with our governments, the world is slightly safer.

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