Are humans good or bad?
This question has repeatedly been asked throughout humanity. Whether humans are born good or evil has been debated by philosophers for centuries.
Many have attempted to answer the question of whether humans are naturally good or evil without any definitive results.
There are no easy answers!
Everyone has a dual nature — good and evil, light and dark!
Though our nature as a human species is inherently good. We are born with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. However, we are not exempt from bad behaviour — acting violently or selfishly.
Personally, after years of observing and interacting with people, struggling with my own flaws and the flaws of others. I have come to the conclusion, that humans are both good and bad.
This is different from some classic views, which tend to favor either the goodness in people or more likely the badness of humankind.
Yes, people are generally good and there’s research to back this up. People help others, return lost wallets, donate money to noble causes (charities) and help strangers in need…
But on the flip side of the coin, the same people can also bully others, lie, betray, steal, cheat, take a free ride on a train or bus and sometimes even commit murder.
Good and evil are two sides of the same coin.
Life is about creating balance, not suppressing your good and not suppressing your bad, for one cannot exist without the other, embrace them equally
So, let go of the habit of needing to categorize people as either “Good” or “Bad.” It is socially uncomfortable, spiritually immature and it stunts your growth. It also wreaks havoc on your relationships and friendships.
Most people are good for somethings and not so good for other things and that’s okay, depending on how you engage their world and how they engage your world.
Humans are plural — we possess the ability to be good and to also be evil. The good side of us can be tapped into just as the evil side can be provoked by the environment, circumstances, greed, specific people or society in general.
In my dealings with all humans, whether priest or prostitute, monk or junkie, I’ve kept it at the back of my mind that inside the priest lives a prostitute and inside the prostitute lives a priest.
Inside a good person lives the bad and inside the bad lives the good. In every beauty, there is a beast and in every beast, there is a beauty.
Inside the calm level headed man lies a violent beast while inside that violent beast is also a baby seeking attention.
Good and evil are two sides of the same coin. We must integrate both.
This is the plurality of our humanity. Nobody is entirely good and no one is entirely evil.
In the Holy book, they once called Yeshua a “good teacher” and He declined to accept the title declaring that “no mortal is good.”
This is great to know from a Christian perspective that even christ in His human nature understood that no one is entirely good except God.
Inside the good exists a certain level of bad.
This philosophy is the reason I do not condemn bad people entirely.
This is also the reason why I do not trust good people entirely.
That’s why more often than not, I give the “bad” person a second chance while keeping an open eye on the one who projects himself or herself to be good.
I am not scared of bad people, of wicked evildoers, of monsters and creatures of the night. The people who scare me are the ones who are certain of their own rightness. ~ Neil Gaiman
Everyone you currently trust has the ability to betray you tomorrow.
And everyone who betrayed you in the past also has the ability to defend you tomorrow.
Inside your present betrayer lives your future defender and inside your present defender lives your future betrayer.
Yes, that’s the plurality of humanity.
And that’s why you should not condemn or categorize people as “good” or “bad” because every good person possesses the ability to do bad things.
Also, that’s why you shouldn’t trust 100 percent the generosity of bad people because even an evil person can do good and that doesn’t make them 100 percent good.
Learn how to properly Assess and Evaluate people
The best way to assess someone is to interact with them while developing an intuition for human nature, and note how they think and behave in a range of different scenarios.
When you’re assessing dealing with people, consider the following areas:
Just like in any well-managed business organization, every member within an organization has a specific purpose, boundary, and role they play.
- Some people make for great managers.
- Some are excellent employees.
- Some are best only for temporary short term positions before they lack character and struggle to work well with others.
- Some are not good employees but make for excellent entrepreneurs, contractors and independent consultants.
- Some are only good for being a customer/consumer of the organization’s products and services.
- Some make for great on-field referral agents to refer new customers to the organization for a commission only agreement.
Organisations don’t jam-pack people into any position without performing a proper assessment and evaluation.
So, in the same way, that’s how you should approach relationships and friendships.
Check exactly what role a person can fulfil in your life or business and then relate with them accordingly.
Some people can assume an executive-level position in your life and add tremendous value.
So make sure their good side satisfies something in you or your organisation, then tolerate their weaker side.
The twist is that nobody is entirely good or bad, we are a mixture of both. We all have strengths and weaknesses.
“Good and evil is not black and white but a million shades of grey.” -Unknown
Realizing these dualities and roles helped me be less judgmental and more open to accepting people.
I learned this nuance the hard way and it took a long time for me to finally accept this reality.
As a society, we will always have — helpers and predators, providers and parasites, law-abiding citizens and criminals. And each of these has their nuances.
“I am not all good and light, sometimes I have bad thoughts and feelings, this is who I am. I am not all bad, I am generous, kind and peaceful. I have so much love and light to share, this is who I am”
Humans are moral hypocrites.
Be wary of those who are the quickest and loudest in condemning the moral failings of others.
Accepting your own duality and plurality will help you to avoid being hard on others as well as being hard on yourself when you make bad decisions.
It will also keep you humble when you are kind or do charitable work knowing that you are not really as good as you project yourself to be.
Accepting your plurality will keep you REAL. Yes!
Some people don’t understand what being real is. If someone projects himself to be a saint without flaws or weaknesses, they are not real.
And if someone for whatever reason projects himself/herself to be a total bad boy/girl, they are also not real.
If you are too good, you are fake. If you are too bad, you are also faking being bad.
Duality and plurality speak to a large number of different types of something. So, healthy plurality means accepting the good view of your personality without rejecting the bad part of your reality.
It means accepting the good and the bad.
In fact, you can’t be a good person until you’ve met your darkness. Without confronting your darkness means you’re inexperienced, untested, and haven’t discovered the forbidden tree.
It is by acknowledging and understanding our own shortcomings that we can more successfully overcome them, and so cultivate the better angels of our nature.
- Parents need this mindset to accept their children and vice versa.
- Lovers need this mindset to accept each other completely without judgement.
- Employers need this mindset to deal with their employees.
- Employees need this understanding to connect with colleagues and those in their respective teams.
“Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become” ~Rajneesh
I am not going to condemn anybody. That’s where religion gets a bad name — when people get holier than thou.
The struggle between good and evil causes more violence. It creates a sense of moral superiority that divides people. It creates an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.
The story of good and evil sells because it’s easy and it feeds on deception. Once we label someone as evil, we don’t want to understand them. We automatically see them as the enemy.
Even if we don’t notice it or admit it. Our mind is a constant battleground.
As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said, “The battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.”
The Story of Two Wolves
Once upon a time, an old Cherokee was teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me, it is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
He said to the boy.
One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”
He continued, “The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
The same fight is going on inside you — and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee gave a simple reply. “The one you feed.”