- Religion and Philosophy»
- Atheism & Agnosticism
What Is and What Isn't
You would agree with me when I say that there is a wide gap between the 4th and 21st century, yes? That when put side by side in comparison, everything is different to how it once was. Mores, traditions, and cultures have changed; not immensely; but they have changed by a margin. What was dogma then is now found to be either ridiculous or inhumane or simply odd by today’s standards. Our views on how the world is, how it should be run, and how it should be has become vastly different from those of earlier times. So it is safe to assume that our stance on this particular topic, the good or evil of human nature, has shifted as well, correct? That our thoughts about this have changed along with time? Perhaps once, a long time ago the philosophies of Mencius and Xun Zi were easily derived and concluded; they could be easily seen, or rather, pointed out. Maybe during their time it would seem that man was innately good or innately evil, depending on which side of the coin you were on. If you were on the optimist side, such as Mencius, you’d believe that humans were born good; that we all wish to become virtuous, great men, who follow their heart-minds. If you were more of a pessimist, or a realist, or whatever you’d like to call it, like Xun Zi; you’d probably agree that humans are evil little sh- gits; concerned with nothing other than their own ends, their own selfish desires and needs; that humans only learn to be good. That without learning, without the continuous acquisition of knowledge, we shall fester in our wickedness (Mwahaha). They both seem to me like yin and yang… or people with too much time on their hands. I mean, what is there to debate about? In my opinion, it is painfully obvious that good and evil are just concepts, biases passed down from generation to generation. There is no true good or evil, they don’t exist and what we have are merely have ideals of how a person should be and choices. Endless and endless days of choices. “There is no right or wrong; only what is and what isn’t.” – Merlin (2008).
Do you think a psychopath is innately evil? Perhaps you would, he is very self-serving after all. A psychopath will do what he thinks is right for him, he will do the worse things without remorse should he feel threatened or out of a whim(sounds like a spot on depiction of Xun Zi’s human nature, yes?) but does this make him evil? Or merely someone who is a victim of circumstance? Someone who had no control over the formation of his genetic makeup? Does a psychological disorder automatically make him as someone to be abhorred? I don’t think so. I don’t believe he had any control during the formation of his genes; he did not choose to be this way. He just simply is yet despite the fact that he is as cold-blooded as a reptile he has a choice, as a person is wont to have, he has a choice to be what society believes him to be or to defy society and live as a normal man.
On the side of Good, I shall make use of the character Galinda (or Glinda) the Good witch from the play Wicked, since she represents how most humans are anyway; self-righteous and disillusioned. Galinda and her adoring legions of followers thought of her as a saint; how could they not? To them she fit the bill of being the very epitome of good: beautiful, popular, rich, friendly –snort- , and above all, obedient as a dog. She followed the rules laid by the wonderful wizard of Oz to a T. She chose not to side with her best friend, the wicked witch of the west (aka Elphaba); who, contrary to all thought, was the better of the two. And for this choice, she was martyred, hailed as perfect. The people kissed the very land she walked on. While Elphaba was cast into the shadows, condemned to be reviled for choosing to stand by her beliefs.
Perhaps I am simply naïve or apathetic to believe that there is no good or evil, right or wrong, but I cannot see what isn’t there. All I see, as I’ve said in the first paragraph, are choices and ideals.