Debora, whether human beings are instinctually good or evil in an elementary natural state is a question that has been boggling the minds of even the greatest philosophers. There is a spectrum of theories that support both good and evil within the human race, each with valid points that explains the range of our interests, being either for ourselves or for others. However, my personal stance is the sensible theory of Altruism. Past experiences and observations allow me to take the stance, and support the argument that humans are caring and genuinely good individuals and have the will and desire to help those around them.then there's the good ole 'anti-social personality disoder'
sociopath. The theory is they are born that way, there is no known cause, nor is there a cure
Cognitive behavioral therapy seems to help
Locke says that we are born good with a blank slate. Whatever we learn and how we learn it from society is what fills the slate. However Hobbes believes that we are born bad and because of this we need a ruler to control that attribute with fear of punishment. I believe that Hobbes is right in the sense that we are born sinful. Yet, I do not agree that we need a ruler to control our sin by fear. Rather, we do have a blank slate that society does affect, bringing the idea of good into our perspectives. We are born with a sinful nature because of our natural survival instincts. If left to our own, away from society, we would act upon nothing but the will to survive. Every decision would be based on the idea of how to better us, practicing an extreme form of selfishness. Yet, when brought into society we would start to understand the idea of others and performing selflessly. Society will begin to show us what is accepted as right and what is accepted as wrong. Once understanding what is considered good, I have faith in humanity to at least try to make appropriate decisions.
Using your survival instincts is neither wrong nor sinful. Rather, my point is that in a situation where we are taken away from society our one interest is to survive. Within that interest it is not whether right or wrong, but rather what it will help or hurt us. An example of this would be in the novel "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding. In Goldings novel the children have even already been addressed to the rights and wrongs of society, yet they still forget them when...the chaos surrounding Simon's death calms down, Golding focuses on the horror Piggy and Ralph feel about their involvement in the murder. The two boys attempt to justify their role in Simon's death with the ideas that they did not know that it was Simon until it was too late, they were not among the inner circle of boys beating him to death, and they operated on instinct rather than on malice. Still, the involvement of Piggy and Ralph makes clear that even these two, the paragons of rationality and maturity among the children on the island, are susceptible to the same forces that motivate Jack and his hunters. Golding obscures the once-clear dichotomy between the "good" Ralph and the "evil" Jack,demonstrating that the compulsion towards violence and destruction is present inside all individuals.
The reverse, a "good" Jack, is rarely in evidence. The implication of Ralph's and Piggy's brief but tragic participation in the brutal activities of Jack's tribe is that the natural state of humanity is neither good nor evil but mixed. Social order and rules, with conscience and reason helping out only on occasion, are what constrain and limit the "evil" impulses that exist inside us all.