Over the course of time, things that seem important now are bound to change. For example, before Augustine’s time, Christianity was just becoming legally recognized. Today, Christianity is one of the world’s most widely known religions. Augustine shows us that while most things do change, human nature is not one of them. Throughout his piece, Confessions, he describes to the reader how humans are born evil, and cannot change until they have the capacity to do so. Through reading this autobiography and Hsün Tzu’s piece, Man’s Nature Is Evil, as well as Mencius’s piece, Man’s Nature Is Good, it seems that Augustine agrees more with Hsün Tzu than Mencius. They both agreed on the ideas that all humans are born evil, they remain evil through …show more content…
We come into this world wanting things that are not ours, and things we do not deserve. Although Augustine and Hsün Tzu studied two different topics, they still agreed that humans remain evil through adolescence. For example, in Confessions, Augustine claims, “For in my adolescence I sometimes burned to glut myself on the sins of Hell and I let myself go in shadowy loves, while in your eyes I decayed and rotted, pleasing myself and desiring instead to be pleasing in the eyes of mankind” (Augustine 165). Augustine explains that through our young adulthood, we slowly discover what it means to be good, but we do not totally know how to act on it yet. More evidence of this is seen in Man’s Nature Is Evil, and Hsün Tzu states, “A warped piece of wood must wait until it has been laid against the straightening board, steamed, and forced into shape before it can become straight; a piece of blunt metal must wait until it has been whetted on a grindstone before it can become sharp” (Hsün Tzu 130). Hsün Tzu uses this metaphor to show that we are not born knowing how to be good. Throughout our lives, people teach and shape us to be good. Others must teach us through our life what it means to be good and evil. Humans must learn how to be good, from other people and the mistakes they make through their adolescence. Augustine and Hsün Tzu make it clear that they both feel the same way on this topic. Augustine gives us a personal example of when he
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In the Confessions by Saint Augustine, this great philosopher experiences many problems and emotions related to sin and evil. As a boy, he often felt darkness, blindness, and confusion while attempting to find rest in God. Augustine started out in childhood with a restless heart because he had to live in two different worlds. These worlds consisted of his mother’s Christian faith, and the world of everything else. These two worlds confused and disturbed Augustine as a child. Augustine’s father was pagan and his mother was Christian, and they both wanted him to be very successful in the world. As he became confused, he began asking questions that could not be answered such as, “Humans often feel restless, but what is it they need to feel at
Mencius addresses that men can become evil because of their actions. He uses the analogy of the forest. First it is beautiful but because of actions it can become barren. In other words, a man is born good and innocent. Still this man can do actions that lead to him becoming evil. This man still has the chance to go back to his good nature, but if he continues to be evil there is a point where he will be unable to turn back to his good ways. After a while of a person being evil people will stop believing that this person was ever good. Take Hitler for example, no one thinks of the innocent baby he was when he was born. Okay that is a pretty bad example but you get what I am saying, hopefully.
An omnibenevolent God created a man with the capacity to sin; as Augustine has addressed, the evil in man resides from his will. Augustine, however, does not address how evil stems also from the human nature of temptation that was a consequence of the original fall from Eden. Augustine touches on this theme when accounting for the origins of his sin, but he never fully declares it. “I loved to excuse my soul,” Augustine begins, “and to accuse something else inside me (I knew not what) but which was not I. But, assuredly, it was I, and it was my impiety that had divided me against myself” (62). Here, Augustine admits to denying his own human nature to sin, and blames it on something beyond his will, such as a result of creation. Bonner,
Some people argue that leaders are born. Others argue that leaders are made because of the environment. Each person believes leaders possess certain characteristics that make them "good" rulers. I believe leaders are made, they are taught what is wrong and right, and they are taught how to be a certain kind of leader in the context of their environment. I want to discuss what makes someone a "good" leader. Is a good leader efficient and adaptable or is a good leader born with predetermined qualities that dictate how they will rule over a kingdom or state? In Hsün Tzu 's "Man 's Nature Is Evil," Tzu discusses the idea of man being born evil but with the ability to consciously work towards goodness. "Good" is a goal men strive towards; man is inherently evil, leaders are born evil just like the rest of the population, just like the subjects they try to rule. Leaders have to strive towards goodness just like the rest of the common people. Or, is a good leader someone who is consciously striving towards goodness, someone who rejects vices and desires, someone who makes an effort towards being a good leader? Abu Nasr al-Farabi proclaims that there are twelve natural qualities a perfect ruler must be born with in "Perfect Associations and Perfect Rulers." Al-Farabi 's work contradicts Tzu 's teachings. Al-Farabi thinks that people are born where they will be the most useful in serving their purpose. He thinks rulers are born with perfect qualities and commoners are born in a
Augustine sates there are three general kinds of sin, those of the flesh, mind, and will. He reaffirms this saying “I sinned because I disobeyed them not in order to choose something more worthwhile, but simply because I loved games. I hankered to win myself glory in out contests, and to have my ears tickled by tall stories, which only made them itch more hotly; and all the while that same curiosity more and more inflamed my eyes with the list for the public shows which are the games of grownups (Augustine, 1,16).” Augustine is saying we commit these forms of sin, not because we are finding something more worthwhile, but because of our human nature. We sin because we love the feeling we get when we do something wrong. Even though we can will ourselves to do good and not sin, it is in our very nature to do wrong every since the fall. In Himes “Ancient Israel’s response to the dilemma is that evil does not come from God; it comes from us when we reject ourselves and refuse to accept the goodness of our own being (Himes, 31)” Himes uses the word evil instead of sin, however both are synonymous, in religion. Ancient Israel relies that sin is part of our nature and something we will have to deal with even though it is wrong.
The heart wants, what the heart wants; but, is it what the heart needs? Henry David Thoreau wrote, " Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after." This aphorism acknowledges that: although we chase after what our minds want and get it, we are often left unsatisfied and begin to question whether or not it was worth it all. Henry's aphorism is an accurate statement on the difficulties emotionally as well as mentally we have all faced with a certain experience in our lives.
In Confessions, Saint Augustine showed that people commit sin since the beginning until the end of life, implying that sin is inside us, like part of our nature. In this sense, there is really nothing we can do, except to follow God and ask for his forgiveness. For Augustine, God offers grace, and you have the opportunity to accept it. In this essay, I analyzed some examples of Augustine’s life that help me prove my point that people are not always capable of accepting God’s grace, and as result may fall into sinful behavior.
Augustine’s Doctrine of Fall is key to any appreciation of his ideas surrounding human nature and, latterly, of political authority. It says that the fall from grace, the result of Adam exercising his free will and capacity to sin (Augustine, 1467, p.1089), is man’s defining feature. Man was originally all good but human nature has been fundamentally broken by the fall and the inheritance of original sin: as such, no man can be born without sin. This first occurrence of evil – and all future manifestations – can be traced back to what Augustine regards as our key flaw: “could anything but pride have been
Topic:Essay Assignment Augustine's Confessions Throughout Confessions, Augustine's view humans-- essential nature interesting differences , time periods civilizations, humans. The classical Greeks , optimistic, Europeans Renaissance Age Enlightenment, humans optimistically: center "measure" creation; supreme strivers, good evil; characterized reason, inherently good perfectible.
Both St. Augustine’s Confessions and Confucius’s Analects are important teachings that have great influence on people around the world in the ancient time and nowadays. Both doctrines discuss ethical values of the society back in the time as we can find some similarities between the two. However, there are significant differences between Confucius and St. Augustine’s experiences and believes since they are living in different environment at time period. Their profound differences are the factors that contributed to shape the distinct cultures between the West and the East today.
Throughout human intellectual history, mankind has debated the question: “are humans good by nature?” Do humans do good out of only self-centered motivations, or is there an internal built-in sense of morality? Today, we face this problem more than ever. For example, if a lawyer argues a killer’s intentions for committing heinous crimes originate from the fact that he has a tendency towards naturally incompetency, or if outside influences turned a naturally well-to-do individual into a ill-willed murderer. Mencius and Xunzi are among the most notable Confucian scholars, yet their differing views on this philosophical conundrum set them apart. Mencius maintained an
Augustine is our exemplar to human nature, as well as the guideline to what it means to be human. He demonstrates both the good and bad qualities that humans obtain and show that not everything can always be all-good. In the Confessions Augustine talks about how he knows about his own imperfections. He states “At one time in adolescence I was burning to find satisfaction in hellish pleasures” (Augustine, Confessions, pg. 24). Many of his imperfections have brought a new way of thinking about the human being. In the Confessions, Augustine focuses on his autobiography and how sin comes from inside us humans. From this we have learned about the term introspective conscience and how it depicts when someone is constantly looking at him or herself and looking at the motivation to sin.
In the excerpt of Confucian philosopher’s Hsun Tzu’s “Man’s Nature is Evil,” he begins by saying that the nature of man is that of evil. This evil nature is comprised of a lust for profit, feelings of hatred and jealousy, and a desire of beautiful things, all which if indulged in will lead to conflict, violence, and depravity. Following this nature makes one a criminal, and Tzu declares that teaching and guidance will allow man to become good through conscious effort. Tzu then contrasts his idea to that of a previous philosopher, Mencius.
Within his adolescence, Augustine struggled to discover the importance of life beyond that of worldly delights and entered his most sinful phase of life that defiled his soul. He became deeply entranced by the pleasures provided by the temporary world rather than what is extended beyond these