Ponderings on a Wednesday

After I watched this, I felt compelled to post it here. It’s worth a watch. Only 3 minutes long.

I think it’d be very interesting to do that. If I got the chance, I probably would.

Follow up: Here is an excellent link that breaks this video down more. And it is an eye-opener so please read it, especially if you were *moved* by the above video. Why beauty?


I am presenting my senior research at my college’s symposium today. Not looking forward to doing it but definitely looking forward to getting it over with! I really didn’t know how big of a motivator graduation would be/could be, but it has really motivated me. Can. Not. Wait.

So for my Theories of Personality class our last paper is due next Thursday and in it we are supposed to take a minimum of three theorists we learned about, pick out the parts we agree with (the parts that match our personal theory of personality). I think I have mine pretty well outlined, but I am grappling with one question:

Are humans innately good or innately bad?

My gut reaction tells me innately good. I don’t know if that’s because I want to be more optimistic about the race I belong to, or what. Because if humans are innately good, then how do I explain the people who blow up bombs in the midst of 20,000+ people, and the people who shoot up schools, and the people who abuse, neglect, and rape kids and others? How do I explain the expanding prison populations? The abuse and cruelty to animals that I see on Animal Planet?

Those stories are what is stopping me from saying humans are innately good. And if it’s the environment that causes people to ‘go bad’, then how do we explain the kids who are abused and neglected and bullied from a very young age and yet still grow up to be healthy, productive members of society instead of serial killers, child rapists, abusers of their own kids, etc.? And you might say I’m focusing too much on the ‘bad people.’ But how is that different from focusing completely on the ‘good people’, the good samaritans, the everyday heroes?

I don’t know how to resolve this conflict. So what do you guys think? I’m open to any argument, no matter what angle you’re coming from. So please share, even if it’s just a sentence or two.



10 comments on “Ponderings on a Wednesday

  1. ash says:

    How are you defining what it means to be innately good versus bad? Anyway, how about this for an answer… you can’t make a blanket statement about all humans. I know, I know.. it’s the easy way out blah blah blah. But what if those “bad people” are just inherently bad and everyone else (ie the “good people”) is born inherently good?

    Personally, I am [currently] of the opinion that all humans are born with the innate need for survival.. We are living things/creatures that want to continue on living and growing. After that, “who we are” and the “type” of person we are (whether you label someone “good” or “bad”) is dependent on life experiences and learning. It may be a combination of nature and nurture, but learning has some part in it… so obviously that would not be something innate.

    • Mary Wilkens says:

      Very cool video to see how we perceive ourselves versus how others see us. I think we filter our perception of ourselves many times through our life experiences–good & bad–while those who see us can’t do that. As far as innately good or bad . . . I believe we are born with a sinful nature–more likely to be bad instead of good. Look at a child. You don’t have to teach them to be naughty–it comes quite naturally! LOL! Through parenting, you try & teach your children how to act & react in a good, healthy way. For myself, it is much easier to get angry or bitter or react in a hurtful way than it is to be kind & gentle & understanding & loving. In my case, my faith in God is what helps me be a kind, loving person. If you look at the Bible, it also tells us that we are born with a sinful nature, but we can turn to God & through Him, learn to be more loving & kind. Anyway, just my thoughts! =)

      • Mary: If you haven’t already, go read the link I added to this post a while after. It raises some interesting questions. I like how you brought up the point of how kids naturally do bad things, but I also agree that it is learning that impacts a child to change their behaviors. If a child does not have any discipline or teaching of what is good and what is bad, will they continue with bad behaviors or will they develop their own morals as they grow up?

    • I went along with the last part of you comment, that it depends on living and growing. I think my argument was kind of weak, but I still got a good grade on it and I can improve it later if I want. xD I’ve noticed that I’m less and less nature and more and more nurture oriented from this class. Thanks for you input 24Fan! :D

  2. liz says:

    I am totally with Ash on this part:
    “…After that, “who we are” and the “type” of person we are (whether you label someone “good” or “bad”) is dependent on life experiences and learning. It may be a combination of nature and nurture, but learning has some part in it… so obviously that would not be something innate.”

    But, I would also add that I am a deep believer in the goodness of all people. I think it’s the way that my theological brain works. It is not being hopeful, it is just a deep sense of belief that this world and every human being is created good. Goodness, love, wholeness… that is what we and this world were created to be.:)

    • So I think you’re saying that even if zero learning is involved (instructions, modeling, any kind or learning) a person will develop their own morals and sense of good&bad and will end up being what we call good in a traditional sense? Does that make sense? :P Thank you for your input!

      • liz says:

        Hmm… I mean that everyone has the capacity and potential to act good/make moral decisions because we are all created with goodness within. Humans are meant (it is hoped) to be good because there is a divine spark (call it God, call it connection to the universe, call it spirituality, whatever). We are created in the image of goodness = peace and love. However (!!!), we also have free will, and therefore it is not guaranteed that we will act/be good. How we live and act and choose is up to us. But, each person is innately worthy, beautiful, and good. Still, how we grow up, how we choose to live, is up to us.

        Does all my theological chatter make sense?! :)

    • Yes, I see what you’re saying. I love how optimistic you are about human kind. It is very refreshing. (: Thank you Liz!

  3. Ah the deep and looming question of people being innately good or bad.. what if they were neither but both? both good and bad? it’s the life experiences we have that develop us to becoming the person who we become. It’s impossible no to change, yes? change, growth, I think people *like* to have good intentions, I mean if you were to ask the prisoners why they did what they did I’m sure they’d have a reason. at least most of them anyways.
    I agree with both Ash & Liz
    nature and nurture.

    I honestly don’t know…I don’t know if anyone really does– but one thing is for certain, people are crazy!

    • I actually thought about putting that in my paper: the humans are both innately good and bad. And it still kind of makes sense.

      Yes, people are crazii. I’ll stick with dogs. ;) Thanks for your input girlie!

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