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Is there good in everyone?
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area51newmexico



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 10598
Location: East Yorkshire, England

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: Is there good in everyone?  

Maybe I'm naive, maybe I'm always thinking that the cup is half full but I would like to think that there is good in everybody. Even the nasty hard-arses who seem to not care about anyone. Of course, as soon as I read the news, that view changes and spoils it. But what I'd like to think that even if a person does a horrible thing, I'm sure they have done something nice some point in their life (like helped an old lady cross the road or given money to charity).

What do you reckon? Does everyone have some good in them? Or are some people all evil?

(P.S I'm not supporting the bad things they might have done by saying the good outweighs the bad - I'm just thinking)
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aalpha



Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 8399
Location: Where ever you need me I'll be there. Whatever you need done I'll do it. Made in the USA.

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:00 am    Post subject:  

I wondered about this before and in particular I wondered if Adolf Hitler ever smiled. I couldn't recall ever seeing a pic/vid that showed him with anything but a stern look. Lo and behold I no sooner mentioned it to someone and here comes Hitler on the History Channel grinning like a jackass eating briers. Then I had to wonder if he actually saw humor or positive pleasure in something or if he was pleased to hear that another train load of Jews had been exterminated.

I believe all people *can* possess redeeming qualities but I also believe some people pass a point of no return and can no longer be redeemed or be a positive influence for others. So, yes, I believe there are people who have no good in them whatsoever.
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Lamiaceae



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 7651
Location: To the right of my computer

Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:45 am    Post subject:  

First define good. 'Good' is subjective.

Think of a barbarian from the cold north icelands. His tribe survives by 'sticking close together', 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need' is pretty much a mantra here. Things are sparse, and so when someone needs to go hunting for food, they use whatever is close to hand.
Because of this, there is no such thing as 'private ownership'. Everything belongs to the tribe for the benefit of the tribe so that it can survive on meagre equipment and rations.

This barbarian comes down from the artic icelands into 'civilisation' and feeling hungry, 'steals' food from a shop to feed himself.

To the barbarian he has done nothing wrong, to us, he has stolen and stealing is wrong.
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area51newmexico



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 10598
Location: East Yorkshire, England

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject:  

Minty - you have to spoil my debate, don't you, by being too clever for your own good!

In that situation, I'd apply the principles of Utilitarianism. Of course, this is bloody subjective! You've gotta add value of the lives of the Northern Barbarians. Is their lives worth X that the shopkeeper will loose from the stolen bread? Eventually the poor old shopkeeper will end up out of business so it wont work in the long run!

Ok, I'll change my question's approach, how about "within your own cultural boundaries (e.g. the person commits the action within their cultural peremeters) is there good within everyone?"
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aalpha



Joined: 17 Oct 2005
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Location: Where ever you need me I'll be there. Whatever you need done I'll do it. Made in the USA.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:10 pm    Post subject:  

Definitely not.
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AVARiCE



Joined: 23 Sep 2005
Posts: 5780
Location: London, England

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject:  

Yes. Relatively, subjectively, or however you wish to taint it.

~ AVARiCE
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Lamiaceae



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 7651
Location: To the right of my computer

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:50 pm    Post subject:  

We all have the capacity for good or for evil. How we end up is a function of our experiences as we grow up and learn about the surrounding world.

Let's say, a child is born to a wayward father and a drug addicted mother. This child is perhaps going to grow up amongst people who's morals are going to be questionable.
Children learn by 'testing the boundaries' and get told when enough is enough, without any guidance they are going to be 'naughty'.

Now same scenario, however the DSS go into action ( yeah I know, but you're just going to have to imagine they do on this one ) and pluck the child from its mother at the hospital and it gets put in with 2 gay men, or is put into a orphanage ( where they don't abuse children )
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/feb/26/ukcrime.childprotection ( it's ok, it's in the grauniad so it's all true)

And is brought up in a stable family environment. Lets say the 2 gay men take part in a lot of charity work for Help For Heroes - http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/ and the British Legion - http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/

It has been studied in the wild and in human children, where they copy others to learn and how to do things by watching and taking their cues from others. From this they learn how to interact with the world around them.

Now lets say, that this child ends up going to school and is then bullied because they 'don't have a mummie' the 'always willing to help' nature will soon be eroded from the child and behaviour will change with their approach to certain people.

They may go on to becoming haughty and aloof, distrusting of those around them, they may then move onto 'pre-emptive' strikes against those they feel will do them harm. This person is not evil.

Restricting the answer to the the constraints you have imposed of 'your own culture' yes there is the possibility to do good as there is bad, but not everyone does because of whatever reasons.

Other people may not because there is something wrong with them mentally.

http://www.crisiscounseling.com/Articles/Psychopath.htm

In closing...




Quote:
Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord, why don't we?
We all know that people are the same where ever we go
There is good and bad in everyone,
We learn to live, we learn to give
Each other what we need to survive together alive.

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord why don't we?

Ebony, ivory living in perfect harmony
Ebony, ivory, ooh

We all know that people are the same where ever we go
There is good and bad in everyone,
We learn to live, we learn to give
Each other what we need to survive together alive.

Ebony and ivory live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard, oh lord why don't we?

Ebony, ivory living in perfect harmony (repeat and fade)
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aalpha



Joined: 17 Oct 2005
Posts: 8399
Location: Where ever you need me I'll be there. Whatever you need done I'll do it. Made in the USA.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:31 pm    Post subject:  

Environment is for the weak. I have known people who came from the best and the worst backgrounds only to become the diametrically opposite best and the worst they could become. Uh, in other words the privileged became a dog metaphorically speaking and visa versa. Maybe I've been too brief, but environment is not a set of puppet strings that controls us. We are who we want to be. Period.
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Lamiaceae



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 7651
Location: To the right of my computer

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:06 pm    Post subject:  

I feel we are sailing into a 'Nature / Nurture' discussion here.

And yes, while our personalities may develop irrespective of our upbringing ( my brother for example is the complete opposite of me) yet we grew up together.
I still think we all have the capability to do both good or evil, and because we have the capability, there is good in us all, some people just don't do 'good', because of some other circumstance.
I do believe there is good in everyone, it's just a matter of finding it sometimes.

For example, some people may take advantage of your good nature, but I don't think they murder people because they are a bad person.

Obviously, I don't know if you can say someone who is a psychopath - see link above, can be taken into account or not. If you took people who were paranoid schizophrenic for example, who then stabbed someone because they felt they had to, this is an 'evil act' but are they in control of their actions?

If you wanted to add them to the equation and say, regardless whether they have control of their actions or not, then the answer to the thread is a categorical no.

The thread title uses the term 'everyone'. I'm constantly arguing against terms like 'all men...' 'all women...' because I only need to highlight 1 person that isn't like that, and this blows the whole 'all men' 'all women' topic out of the water.
But to take that a step further, if I was to say 'no, there isn't good in *everyone*' It makes everyone that little bit more pessimistic about their fellow man. Be on the defensive by all means about people you first meet, but don't believe everyone is out to get you. Paranoia is at the end of that street.

In short, good needs to exist in everyone otherwise society will falter.

Acceptance of others and being accepted by others is part of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. We are therefore social creatures, and to survive together, we all need the ability to be good to one another. Those who aren't good are soon cast out. Good is a requirement for improved survivability.

Every terrorist is another's freedom fighter. But maybe that's me having played as the Bora in Tachyon : The Fringe too much.
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Specter



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 1698

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 1:20 am    Post subject:  

Good and bad are relative to the observer, I wont go so far as minty's barbarian example, but consider a biker gang that murders/gravely injures a bloke they know has been beating on his wife. To some people thats good, to others its bad, within the same culture, country, religion, environment and society, people will still have thier own views.

That said, lets assume that "good" means that which is generally accepted by the population in a given place to be good. Basically in the simplest form of the question, yes everyone has some element of good. Hitler orchestrated the killing of many many people, but he was also an exceptional leader for his people and was able to build an empire, not only in military strength, but economic and other forms of national power.
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area51newmexico



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 10598
Location: East Yorkshire, England

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:54 am    Post subject:  

Minty - take your example example of the little lad who was adopted by the charity-loving gay men (I do love the randomness of your examples sometimes! But you forgot to mention what their favourite colour was) Anyway, that kid may (or may not) grow up to become a druggie/arsonist/thieve etc. However, even if he does become any of those things, he may (in the time where he's not burning down buildings and shoplifting, do other acts of kindness.

I guess my point is that everyone has different sides to them. Within our lifetimes we do 10,000s different things, all varying stages of good and bad - we aren't defined by one action we do.
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Lamiaceae



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 7651
Location: To the right of my computer

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:45 pm    Post subject:  

area51newmexico wrote:
(I do love the randomness of your examples sometimes! But you forgot to mention what their favourite colour was)


:wink:
I love you

:lol:

Helly wrote:
I guess my point is that everyone has different sides to them. Within our lifetimes we do 10,000s different things, all varying stages of good and bad - we aren't defined by one action we do.


Dumbledore did say

'It is our actions that define who we are'

Thought I had posted that, obviously not but it was perhaps the phrase I was expanding on :)
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area51newmexico



Joined: 08 Jul 2005
Posts: 10598
Location: East Yorkshire, England

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:07 am    Post subject:  

Oh! I've thought of a perfect example to describe what I mean!

I go belly-dancing once a week for one hour (I also spend 40hrs a week at work, 4 hours at a part time job, 1 hr at pilates, many hours on the forum and on games) does that mean I'm only a belly dancer?
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Lamiaceae



Joined: 05 Jul 2006
Posts: 7651
Location: To the right of my computer

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:19 pm    Post subject:  

So really, good and evil don't exist at all, they are just words to describe certain acts then?

The words are subjective, and therefore it's quite hard to hit ' a moving target'.

Here's another example of what you're saying...


http://xkcd.com/539/


You spend most of your time doing your main job though. I guess if you want to cut things down and put it in an easy to define box and say something as simple as 'this person is good' 'this person is bad' even out everything and see what happens from there.

A bit like a pro/con list. Is the pro list longer than the other list ? - if so, it's a good thing, the good outweighs the bad.
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Specter



Joined: 30 Apr 2006
Posts: 1698

Posted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject:  

area51newmexico wrote: Oh! I've thought of a perfect example to describe what I mean!

I go belly-dancing once a week for one hour (I also spend 40hrs a week at work, 4 hours at a part time job, 1 hr at pilates, many hours on the forum and on games) does that mean I'm only a belly dancer?

No, you are most likely define by that which you do most and how you are seen by different people. You work at a bar right? so your regulars will know you as that bar chick with the glasses. Your collegues will know you as "such and such in X department", of course we know you as the administratrix, and by now I figure you get my point.

Who we are depends on the observer, and who we are to ourselves may not be who we are to others.
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