Human Nature and The Mind Human nature and the mind have been studied for ages. As humans, we tend to think, feel, and act in certain ways that are often elucidated by nature and evolution. In fields such as Psychology, Philosophy, and Science, human nature and the mind have been extensively studied to develop theories about why humans act, think, and feel that way that we do. It is believed by some that humans are born a certain way by nature. There are three ways that people tend to believe humans are born: naturally good, naturally evil, or neutral. A Chinese philosopher named Mencius is an example of someone who believed that humans are born naturally good. Mencius is believed to be the most important figure in the development of Confucianism, right after Confucius himself. Mencius wrote Man’s Nature Is Good in the year Circa 300 BCE. This rhetorical piece argues Mencius’s views on the nature of man. Mencius not only believed that humans were born naturally good, but also that they, “…with proper training, could become perfect” (Austin 78). A Chinese scholar named Hsun Tzu believed almost the exact opposite of Mencius. Although Hsun Tzu was a Confucian similarly to Mencius, he did not share the belief that humans are born naturally good. Tzu actually wrote a piece titled Man’s Nature Is Evil in which he explains his argument. Tzu believed that humans need structure, and that “…strict discipline could make human beings good despite their natural inclinations”
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Tzu believes that people are all born evil and that that need to be taught how to be ethical. Like fellow Confucius philosopher Mencius, Tzu believed that no one entered the world with moral principles. Tzu said that people lacked any moral direction at birth, and would become corrupt and dangerous if not taught otherwise. At the core men where selfish creatures, with envy, and hatred if left in its natural state. The only way to stop this from happening was to educate people, putting them on a path to righteousness. Humans must choose to be good, it is not an inborn instinct so we must continue to learn to be good with practice. “(Tzu) claims that all human beings experience certain desires—primarily desires for bodily satisfaction and comfort and for social honor and position—and that we cannot reduce or eliminate these desires” (Robins). The difference between a bad person and a good person is how they are educated; they are brought into this world with no idea of morality. People cannot be forced to learn, but with help from learning everyone can become a good, moral
Human nature is a topic some people are torn about. Are humans born good or bad? Or are there more factors that need to be involved with that conclusion? William Gay's opinion on human nature is that all humans are born bad, that deep inside there is evil. Some people may agree or disagree with Gay's opinion. In psychologist Samantha Smithstein's article, "Are We Born Good (or Evil)?", Smithstein states, "We are
While Mencius believes that humans are inherently good, but can be corrupted by circumstance, Hsun Tzu argues that man is not inherently good at all. He rejects this view, saying that Mencius "has not really understood man's nature nor distinguished properly between the basic nature and conscious activity" (158). Hsun Tzu does admit that humans have some inherent good in them: "man possesses energy, life, intelligence " (45). Even so, Hsun Tzu believed that any such inherent good can be lost completely, and that the evil of man can overwhelm him beyond hope: "in the case of the incorrigibly evil men, punish them without trying to reform them" (33). This means that self-improvement alone (and not nature) can save humans, as Hsun Tzu believed that all humans start with the same basic nature: "the gentleman by birth is no different from any other man" (16). Hsun Tzu again returns to his belief that for man to evolve beyond his evil nature, "learning must never cease" (15).
To be a human you must practice the four virtues, benevolence, righteousness, propriety and knowledge. Mencius said, “Since all men have these four principles in themselves, let them know to give them all their development and completion” (Plato, 47). One can practice good virtue by correcting oneself after every failure, eventually developing their true potential. Mencius taught the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as a sure path to achieving goodness. Mencius’s philosophy of human nature consists of obtaining the pure instincts you were born with as a child throughout your life and eventually achieving good virtue humans are capable of
In Genesis the word of God leads humanity in the direction of self preservation, urging them to procreate, to ”Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 9:1), and to minimize hostility and violence among people. As Freud asserted, “Besides the instinct to preserve living substance and join it into ever larger units, there must exist another, contrary instinct seeking to dissolve those units and bring them back to their primeval, inorganic state” (Freud 77). Genesis exemplifies the struggle between the two opposing human instincts, with God acting as a moderator between them. Forms of justice are put into place in an attempt to control these drives, one example being the proclamation that “Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6). The ethics and laws that develop throughout Genesis seek to “prevent the crudest excesses of brutal violence” but are unable to control “the more cautious and refined manifestations of human aggressiveness” (Freud 70). Since they cannot be completely eradicated, the scriptures instead play into the more negative aspects of human nature, especially narcissism, and manipulate them into a force for conservation rather than annihilation.
Through the Hsun Tzu’s opinion, he put forward the “man’s nature is evil”. In the article, he said: “Man’s nature is evil; goodness is the result of conscious activity”. It means human’s nature is bad, incomplete and weak, and we burn with the “fondness for profit”, but the issue decided the people become bad or good, it is if we follow our nature or we change it and learn to be better.
Mencius believed that human nature is good. Every person is born instilled with four main virtues; Righteousness, Ritual property, Wisdom and Benevolence. These virtues will only develop fully if it is nurtured and put to effect appropriately. He also claimed that those who are not virtuous have been “corrupted by the environment” . He believes that “Individual effort was needed to cultivate oneself, but one’s natural tendencies were good to begin with.” In this way, Mencius has integrated elements of Taoism into his theory. Basically, people are born well with good intentions, but they must work to maintain their good nature.
Human nature by essence has been the cause of many entrepreneurial paths, all follow to known the essence itself behind of what we conceive as life. Moreover it’s righteous description and abstract content, that many great man has humbly studied and that for centuries have made a path closely enough to the understanding of it, yet far from the light, it seems to be and unsolvable question that gives us a “Raison d'être” to our existence in this world.
Nuyen (123) has also contended that Mencius considers Heaven to qualify and delegate ruling rights to whom they (heaven) deem fit to carry out its intention. By that, Mencius will only consider the upper ruling class to be able to make appropriate decisions for the people because they are the only ones who can interpret Heaven’s will. In Chinese philosophy, many see that it is possible to become like a God, hence many stress on the importance of ‘doing good’ and being moral to achieve that bestowing status. Confucians first maintained that there was a morality that was mandated by heaven, and that it was a pivotal purpose for humans to safeguard what was given to them by the heavens (Scarpari, 323). Hence, development of our morality is also part of heaven’s will for humans (Loubna, 181). If desire is constituted as part of human nature, we need to find a balance that aims to fulfil our needs while at the same time, not compromising on the natural flow of life with any negative impact (Wu,
Hsun Tzu is a Chinese philosopher whom believes human beings are by nature integrally evil, and the only way they will be able to be good is by their conscious activity. Humans learn from others and naturally follow without knowing if it is good or bad. After realizing how imperfect the nature of man is we understand as to why a man must become a student before he grows from his evil nature.
Mengzi claims that by nature humans are inherently good. We don’t have an evil side until circumstances create it. Humans will always be good until our situations change us. Furthermore, “as for their becoming not good, this is not the fault of their potential…” (Mengzi 6A6 147-148). It is only natural for
Confucius, who lived from 551-479 BCE, was a Chinese philosopher, teacher, and politician. Confucius had written a set of books or ideas and concepts called The Analects. These were different collections of sayings that Confucius had written to reflect his ideas about different things like politics, family, morality, and many more. Confucius is also the creator of the commonly used “Golden Rule” of “do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” Through his teachings, books, and his followers, the philosophy of Confucianism was created. In Doctrine of the Mean, Confucius explains how to perfect oneself and how to become a morally righteous person. He explains how one must maintain a balance into a constant state of equilibrium.
To elaborate more on Mencius’s way of life, he talks about how human beings possess four moral traits that all intertwine to make us into who we truly are. These four traits are humanity, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom. Just like how Mencius states that human nature is naturally good, these four aspects are not ”welded to us from outside. We possess them inherently” (Mencius, 6A.6). Mencius explains that all humans have these “sprouts” within them from birth that make human nature good. What is exceptional about this philosophy is that Mencius emphasizes the need for these sprouts to be tended to in order to grow correctly. In other words, no one is truly born bad. Mencius even defends this
The irrelevance of a static human nature that can be associated with Confucianism is one of the most interesting aspects of the belief system. Instead of the focus being on more of a definitional quality of mankind, the focus is more on the improvement of man on an individual level as well as the improvement of society in general. Confucius seems to definitely possess the ability to see human behavior on a scale that includes the broader ramifications that it can have on a society. For example, Confucius sees the accumulation of wealth as a counterproductive ambition that only detracts from one's character. A rich man may lie around drinking all day and not work on improving himself, his relationships, or the society in general. Therefore, any version of such self-indulgence is