Updated: Mar 26
Whether humans are born good or evil is a familiar topic for many philosophers. Good and bad are a construct made by ourselves, meaning that it's just a concept created by our own imagination. Somewhere hidden, there will always be something corrupt in the good and benevolent in the evil. If you believe we only have good in us, you must accept the fact that you will always be a bad person in someone's story.
Isn't it fascinating that the most serious challenges to humanity that we face today are all man-made? With global warming, nuclear war, rogue biotechnology, and some may argue artificial intelligence, we are on our way to extinction.
Don't we all want the best for our species? The external world can affect people in such a way giving someone the tendency to become evil. If the world isn't nice to you why would you be nice to the world? This, however, is not the objective of this article.
This is about exploring the nature of humankind and if there is a distinction between Good and Evil.
We, humans, are unique
What is the reason that we, homo sapiens, conquered earth? Why not the bonobos or the chimpanzees? Probably because we have evolved to cooperate on a scale that no other species in the whole animal kingdom has been able to do. On the one hand, we're the kindest animals on the planet, yet we're also the cruelest.
We've never seen a penguin behave in a way that speaks to us as "Let's exterminate another group of penguins, let's lock them up in prisons, or let's kill them all." These are human crimes.
Almost everyone is good on their own terms
If you study the history of warfare and genocides, you will find that these occurrences are often highly moral phenomena. It's not as if a lot of sadists thought to themselves, "Oh, we just like murdering other people." Those individuals do exist, but they are extremely rare.
German soldiers in the second world war kept fighting from 1944 until 1945, even though it was clear they were going to lose the war. Psychologists at the time speculated that they had been brainwashed. Years later, they began questioning prisoners of war and discovered that most of the soldiers were fighting for the sake of their friends and family. They didn't want to let their comrades down. Most cruel acts are committed in the name of loyalty, friendship, and comradeship.
The ones which the majority would call evil, believe that they're actually on the good side of history. This is why this is so disturbing. It also brings the question if there even is such thing as good or evil? If someone truly believes in doing something good but the majority believe that it's something evil, then what is it?
Mankind divided into groups
We've built this imaginary contract about what's good and bad but how can we, as the same species, not be in line with each other. We're fundamentally fighting for the same thing at the end, which is love. For whoever it is, friends, family, the nation, or god. It's structured around love and loyalty but from different perspectives.
''We are like chameleons, we pick up the color of our moral character, from those who are around us.''
We feel sympathy for individuals who are similar to ourselves. For example, our friends, family, colleagues, and people from the same town, city, or nation. Parallel to that, we feel more hatred for those who are not like us. Which created this in-group, out-group dynamic.
This is something that is in each and every one of us. Studies have shown that babies as young as nine months old already show these hatred tendencies. It is something that occurs within our brains, implying that it is not entirely due to upbringing.
The future of mankind
The truth is, we are all in need of saving. I often think about us, humans. I think about our similarities as well as our differences. I ponder about what it is to be human and what it means to be alive. I've realized we are tormented by ourselves, our own system, statuses, and obsessions.
With separation, we often fail to realize our differences. We're nothing similar but still very much the same. We're spread all across this planet however we are here together. No race, religion, class, or color will shadow the truth that this earth was gifted to us all equally.
''Our loss of humanity will be the death of humanity.''
Remind yourself, there's a story behind each set of eyes which you're not any better or worse from, you're just different. There is something to learn from everything and there is something to love in everyone. And love, As cliched as it sounds, is what will save us all.
We have an opportunity to save the world. Not one man or the gathering of many. All of us, each person is essential for a larger whole.
Every one of us, superheroes without capes, are here to save the day. Not from burning buildings or falling bridges but saving us from ourselves.
Look into the eyes of a child who has been raised with love. You will see everything it takes to save this planet.
''Someone told me I could change the world if I wanted, so I think we could save the world if we tried.''