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  1. #1
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Default Are people inherently good or bad?

    Are we as humans good, or are we as humans bad?
    What are you thoughts on this?

    My thoughts are, that I am confused about this. For some reason my mind wants to make this a black or white issue - all good or all bad.

    Sometimes I'll think with all my heart that a person is good, only to later find out that they are bad, and this is so disappointing and hard for me to handle.

    Sometimes I'll think a person is bad, but then I'll see signs of true goodness in them, and my brain tells me that this is false, an illusion, and doesn't know how to process these confusing signals.

  2. #2
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    I think people are good, they just define it in a self-serving way.

  3. #3
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    I think people are good, they just define it in a self-serving way.
    I think the inverse...people are for the most part self-serving and they define good and bad against that fundamental metric.



  4. #4
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    I added to my OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    I think the inverse...people are for the most part self-serving and they define good and bad against that fundamental metric.
    Thinking this way, I can only assume that you are not a "people person".
    I say this because wouldn't this way of thinking make you constantly distrustful of people, or just anti-social?

  5. #5
    Diabolical Kasper's Avatar
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    Every person is flawed. Most of them want good things, for themselves and for others.

  6. #6
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Well, for most individuals and groups the outward appearance is going to look identical to what Evan suggests. But the outwardly cooperative and "good" behavior is, at its core, motivated out of personal need. Just because I think this way doesn't make me misanthropic, I'm misanthropic for largely separate reasons.



  7. #7
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    I think the inverse...people are for the most part self-serving and they define good and bad against that fundamental metric.
    Same thing. It's self-serving to label yourself as "good", which is why everyone does (unless people embrace being "bad", but then they really just think being "bad" is "good").

    I mean.. everything is always self-serving all the time, but we're (most of us) programmed to get pleasure out of teamwork/trade, so it works out.

    I could be making no sense right now, though... I'm really tired.

  8. #8
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JocktheMotie View Post
    Well, for most individuals and groups the outward appearance is going to look identical to what Evan suggests. But the outwardly cooperative and "good" behavior is, at its core, motivated out of personal need. Just because I think this way doesn't make me misanthropic, I'm misanthropic for largely separate reasons.
    If you care to, could you expound on those reasons?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    Are we as humans good, or are we as humans bad?
    What are you thoughts on this?
    Off-the-cuff analysis:

    I think the universal theme is that people are largely social animals. As such, they engage in approval-seeking or attention-seeking behavior. Some conform in order to win the approval of their peers, and some act out in order to bring attention to themselves. Even psychopaths usually care enough to rationalize their acts to the broader public; psychopaths can be quite vocal about trying to show that they’re only doing what others would do if they dared, i.e., that their acts are understandable and even admirable. (For example, the Unabomber and his lengthy “Manifesto”).

    IOW, good or bad have little to do with it. Good and bad are largely just measures of conformity or lack of conformity with local standards. What's good behavior in one part of the world may be bad behavior in another. Good and bad are too arbitrary to be of much use.

    To boil it down to a single universal motivator of behavior: If you want to understand people, then figure out what kind of attention-seeking or approval-seeking behavior they’re indulging.

  10. #10
    (blankpages) Xenon's Avatar
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    People aren't inherently any one thing. We have numerous different motivations and drives, and some of these can lead to altruistic behaviour (ability to feel compassion, or the sense of fairness), some can lead to harm and destruction (rage, jealousy) and some can go either way (tendency to conform to people around us, desire to feel powerful and important).

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