The Daily Stoic For October, 31st, “You Were Born Good”.
“The human being is born with an inclination toward virtue.”—MUSONIUS RUFUS, LECTURES, 2.7.1–2
Yes, that little, scared, cute thing in the picture is me. Lovely isn’t it? (ok, don’t answer here).
Are we good by nature?
Even though that pretty little version of myself would disagree, I certainly believe we are not good by nature. In my view, human beings are born evil by nature. Being selfish, cruel and dominant is a survival mechanism, and we are nothing but animals. Very polite, civilized animals, but animals nonetheless.
You Were Born Good… Now Weren’t You?
Today’s stoic meditation seems, again, to convey the opposite. That we are all born good by nature, and being selfish is something we learn. Whenever I observe small children, I don’t get that feeling of goodness.
On the contrary, small children would usually want the toy the other kid is holding, even when theirs is better or newer.
Have you read “Lord of the flies”? That book deals with the eternal discussion of whether humans are good or bad… And obviously leans toward the latter. I tend to agree. That’s why, in my opinion, capitalism was a hit for our societies, and comunism ended up loosing the game… It emphasizes our natural instincts. We want things, money, power and be the alpha males/females… I definitely think it’s in our nature.
That does not mean that small boy in the picture was evil. That means that being good is not something we need to take for granted. We need to do our best every day to be good and kind with others. Not that it’s a big effort, but for some reason I tend to be surprised when I see people doing good, altruist things.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “You Were Born Good”, discusses again the eternal dilema of the “good vs evil” nature of mankind. I tend to disagree with the stoics. I think we are all evil by nature.