Is mankind evil by nature? It is said that people are "good" or "evil", but... Is it so easy to tag somebody?

A few days ago, I took part in a short recording for a friend’s project, which key idea was make us reflect what the “bullying” meant to each of the volunteers. In this recording, he asked a couple of questions, such as:

  • What does the bullying mean to you?
  • How could someone react to this fact?

So, while I was giving my opinion to him, I had the following thought:

It’s shameful and horrible to talk about cases like these, but considering that the human is evil by nature, we should focus on minimizing the amount of personal dramas created because of this fact. However, I doubt we will ever manage to erradicate it, as children and (specially) teenagers tend to be quite biting on their actions.

And, well, the reaction I had from my listeners was surprising: they just didn’t expect someone to assert that people are badasses in this “colorful and shiny” world that surrounds us. In fact, a friend of mine asked me whether I thought so. And, at the very beginning, I admitted I thought so again.

(ASIDE: If anyone has any further interest on fighting the Bullying in Spanish schools, it would be a small but great detail to support the following petition in Change.org

However, I’ve been seriously thinking about this topic, and I really doubt it can be so easily polarized as Plauto or Hobbes would state. This reflection started to have a deeper impact on me when I listened the opinion of a quite pragmatic friend. Recalling his words, we are limited because of our ignorance, thus being a lot of decisions which we accept or ignore, just because of the simple fact that we don’t know.

An extreme example happened to me some years ago. I was talking to a friend of mine who had a relative with Down Syndrome (though, I didn’t know about it in that precise moment), and I used the “retarded” term to refer to them, as I thought it was some kind of friendly conversation. I instantly got a slap in the face, and, to be honest, I admit I really deserved it.

Moving back to the topic, my pragmatic friend also told me that the evil by nature statement could even be arguable, because of the evil use of the technology at wars or the particular dramas on which we see the daily crimes, murders, etc. Okay. But I find it harder every day to admit, from those isolated situations, that the mankind is evil by nature.

Something that I have noticed is a slight evolution on me, as I became aware that my ideas of this topic were really simplistic. In fact, I would say it was some kind of limited reaction to those “pukerainbows-ist” trends some people tend to live on. But, every day that passes, I realize that every individual has its’ good and bad moments; thus, I cannot surely state the initial statement, which now sounds like a dumb summary for me.

To sum up, taking this reflection to my daily situation, I must admit that the best thing before judging somebody is to know him/her. And, recalling a speech we had of a terrorism victim relative we had at the university:

We should carefully consider and save the testimonies and experiences of the people surrounding us, as these experiences will be the ones that will ultimately forge our identity.

Tunnel
(Source: Pixabay)

[Originally written at February 28th, 2016]