Good Versus Neutral . In The Fourth Century B.C.E., A Fervid

1317 WordsFeb 23, 20176 Pages
Good versus Neutral In the fourth century B.C.E., a fervid debate was unfolding between the master Mencius and the debater Gaozi. The morality and ethics of humans was at stake. Their beliefs would change how individuals and societies viewed their decisions, their life outcomes, and ultimately, their true nature. In the ring, two clear opposing stances weighed in, but only one would make the cut. In one corner stood Gaozi, defining human nature as neutral, and in the opposing corner stood Mencius, defining human nature as good. Gaozi’s assertion of human nature does not promote any form of ethics or positive personal choice within a society, whereas, Mencuis’s definition upholds strong ethics and personal choice within a society.…show more content…
In this analogy, he compares water to humans and direction to human nature. Gaozi declares human nature does not distinguish between good and not good, therefore, asserting human nature is neutral. The fluidity of water and how it can easily be shaped by the environment, introduces the argument that the environment shapes human nature. Based on this claim, if humans were all raised in the same environment, they would all make the same decisions, and their lives would inevitably turn out the same. His argument does not address why children raised within the same family can turn out drastically different. Their parents rear them in the same environment, they are presented the same opportunities, and they start off with the same life chances. According to Gaozi, these children would flow in the same direction, not split off with one going east, towards goodness and one going west, towards badness. However, Gaozi’s argument can deliver relief to those who believe their lives turned out dramatically different than they anticipated. Some people may look at themselves and see wickedness as their true nature and feel ashamed or wonder where they went wrong. If they rely on Gaozi, then they may feel unburdened of their wrong doing because they know their environment shaped their life, and they had no other choice but to go west. They would gain freedom from their choices and solace in knowing their essence is not bad, but neutral. The idea of neutrality as human

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