Human Nature: Good or Evil?
After reading Mencius essay “Mans Nature is Good” and Hsun Tzu’s essay “Mans Nature is Evil” It made me realize that men are shaped by experience. People are born with a blank mind with a desire of some knowledge. Much of what we learn affects our behavior. Throughout our life, experiences have been shaping what we are. Both Mencius and Tzu believe the complete opposite, arguing that men are born with a nature of being good or evil. By reading these articles I’ve come to assume that people are born neither good nor evil; instead both of these are obtained through the filling of our mind with experiences and all this together has influenced what we become.
Hsun Tzu’s theory about how human nature is inherently evil and Mencius about how we are good caught my attention, because it made me realize that man can go either way. Even though I don’t agree with either of them entirely, they opened my mind about how nature can turn one way or another. People are not born inherently good because if that’s the case then every society would have to be good and would not bother with problems like violence and other chaotic scenarios. To go into a good pathway, people must be straightened by mentors. Like Tzu uses on his essay “A warp piece of wood must wait until it has been laid against the straightening board, steamed, and forced into shape before it can become straight; a piece of blunt metal must wait until it has been whetted on a grindstone before it can become sharp” (101). Family, schools, and religion are a fair way to obtain this goodness. For example these three sources have taught us since childhood to be respectful. This is the kind of experiences one has to follow in order to be good. Family has taught us to have good manners; therefore they work as our mentors. It is just your choice whether to implement these experiences of being good into your life or to go by the experience you been having with the wrong people.
Cited: Austin, Michael, ed. Reading the World: Ideas that Matter. New York: Norton. 2010. Print.
Mencius “Man’s Nature is Good”. Austin 94-98
Tzu, Hsun “Man’s Nature is Evil”. Austin 100-108
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