Are Humans Intrinsically Evil?

Essay by KatieworkHigh School, 12th gradeA, January 2004

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Evil is complete wickedness and immorality. When asking if humans are intrinsically evil, we are asking if they are hurtful by nature, and if they are born with desires only to be destructive and to cause pain. If humans are intrinsically evil, then they do good things only for personal gain, and they do evil things as a response to their nature. If humans are intrinsically good, they are born with desires to help others and better society. If they are good, then they do good things as a response to their nature, and do evil things because they are corrupted by society, either because of dysfunctional social upbringing, upsetting circumstances, or because they truly believe that what they are doing is the right thing. It is important to ask if humans are intrinsically evil in order to understand how to best govern our society. In understanding our nature, we can understand the necessity of various forms of punishment and instilling compliance with society's rules.

If people are evil, then corporal punishment is necessary, because they are less likely to learn from their mistakes, or regret what they have done. If people are good, then corporal punishment is less necessary, because with therapy, they can understand what they have done wrong, and learn from their mistakes. Because are naturally sympathetic and because most crimes have been committed because of some form of corruption, I argue that humans are intrinsically good. We cannot blame evil for the evil actions humans commit. People do evil things because they mistake these actions as a means to good and happiness.

Humans are intrinsically good because we naturally feel sympathetic toward others who suffer. Everyone is born with a conscience; a moral sense of what is right and wrong, and as a result, people want...