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Confucianism

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Confucianism

Society's role in shaping human nature is extraordinarily crucial because it influences the customs, laws and organizations that a collective community of people of any particular region adheres to in their daily lives. Over the years there has been conflicting views regarding the question: Is human nature originally good or evil? (29). Many debates and opposing answers have been supplied by many renowned philosophers, scholars and ordinary people for decades if not centuries. Also among such opposing answers have also been given by two prominent figures to the Confucian tradition. Mencius (371-289 B.C.E) contended that human nature is originally good; whereas Hsun-tzu (298-238) argued that human nature is originally evil.

After reading both arguments made by Mencius and Hsun-Tzu. First argument, whereby Mencius strongly believed that human nature is good. Mencius strongly emphasized that people are naturally born with four-seeds of compassion, shame, courtesy, and sense of right and wrong that would sprout into four- virtues of benevolence, dutifulness, observance of the rites, and wisdom (30). Mencius was in agreed with other philosophers in the school of thought supported the idea of human beings as creatures of desire which would threaten moral values. Second argument, whereby Hsun-tzu held a critical view and believed that human nature was outright all evil and that our interior world is overshadowed by inferior dynamic impulses of desire (31). Hsun-tzu opposed everything that Mencius believed, such as replacing Mencius theories of four seeds with his own four incipient tendencies for profit, envy hatred and desire. Hsun-tzu urged that if the four tendencies, where left in their natural state they would give way to four-evils of strife, , crime, and wantonness (31). Hsun-tzu believed that the basic human problem was that human's of desire. But surprisingly, Hsun-tzu was rather somewhat optimistic about potential human accomplishments. Also shared optimism by Mencius who also believe that with adequate education and training anyone could become sages "way of heaven".

The quality of desire from both Mencius and Hsun-tzu teachings seem to strike a chord that leaves the reader questioning themselves about society's role in shaping human nature. Drawing from the arguments presented in the texts, I tend to agree more with arguments made Mencius that human nature is originally good. The reason why I tend to agree with Mencius views is because I believe all reactions are based on environmental, developmental and individual understanding of situations and decorum reciprocated. I often go by a saying I was taught many years ago by a wise person; that goes as, "It takes a community to raise a child". I'm a firm believer that no one is born bad or evil. Human nature by itself is crude and cruel, but on the other hand it's kind and gentle. I will state my reasons why I believe human nature is both good and evil, as well society's role in shaping human nature.

First, Human nature is a very complex mechanism because it's heavily dependent on society's role which influences the outcome of the people within a society. Human nature, is good because our existence relies heavily on society's influence. For example, we kill certain animals for meat consumption because if we don't' eat we starve and when we starve we die. As ruthless as that may sound to some, that's what has shaped our existence. Human nature is also good because among our society we have rules and laws that we have to abide by to protect us, which sets us apart from animals. We are all born with the will to live, and that existence depends heavily on the people bringing us into this world. No one is born evil, the reason why some people turn out to be evil is because of the negative influence being bought to them by the particular environmental setting they live within. Throughout history, yes some might argue that mankind has been ruthless among each other, but the thing that separates us humans from wild animals is that we learn from our mistakes and educate each other to not only better ourselves, but also keeping in mind future generations to learn from the past and avoid similar fate in the future.

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