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Is there such a thing as a bad person?

Few years ago I arose this question in front of my family, and "caused" a huge quarrel. I claimed (and still do) that I don't believe that bad people exist. Deep inside we all are good but sometimes we let life circumstances control us, thus, choosing to DO bad things. My brother heard me and said: "Oh really, so Hitler was a good guy, right??"

And yes! That's a question that I thought of even months thereafter. Hitler was a person who had chosen killing millions of people, but that precisely why I wouldn't describe him as a bad person, rather as a very SICK one. For a person who chooses to fulfill himself in this life by killing others, is undoubtedly extremely sick, mentally sick!!

It doesn't mean that we should let people who hurt others acting freely, but perhaps to look a little deeper, understand them better, and perhaps even understand OURSELVES better.

Would love to hear your thoughts,


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    Jul 10 2012: We start bad, to be good is a dramatic diversion from the norm. The species have been alive for tens of thousands of years, and we still kill each other over invisible lines, and literature. What evidence do you have that people are all deep inside good?

    Human beings are inherently self interested, violent, and pleasure seeking creatures, and everything we do to get past that should be seen as an accomplishment. Seeing it as the norm is incredibly naive.
    • Jul 10 2012: I'm surprised, David, you definitely expose a point that I have not thought of before. If I understands you correctly, being good is not the norm, therefore it's an accomplishment. I agree to some extent; I do not have a proof that human beings are good, I simply believe in that. I have questioned it in the past, but no more. I truly believe in that. But! (and this is the point that I agree about), we always have the ability to make ourselves better by acting good.

      I'm not arguing about your point that human beings are self-interested and violent, since clearly there is a truth in that. I guess that I just put the emphasis in other places.

      Thanks for an insightful comment,
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        Jul 11 2012: I'll actually lay one layer on top of it. In short, yes there are evil people... They are called psychopaths, and they experience not compassion, empathy, sympathy, or remorse. Luckily they only represent a small sliver of the population.

        99% of people are born with empathy, sympathy, and compassion. When they harm others they experience remorse. This is why in day to day life, the idea i said was naive, about human beings being basically good, appears to make sense.

        The problem here is leadership. Human beings are pack animals, and early on, we realized that psychopaths, were phenomenal leaders. When confronted with difficult decisions they expressed no emotions, and that made their decisions slightly better for the survival of their culture/tribe/whatever.

        So in reality, almost everyone, is a good human being who means to do well... We're led by truly evil men, and we are only begining to realize it. As resources have become more plentiful, we need the psychopaths to weigh human lives less... So it's time we take their power away.

        There is no evidence that human beings are basically good but... you're basically right... We are, we've just got an enormous battle ahead of us.

        "Mankind is not bad... Only badly governed" Rudolf Diesel

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