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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,
Lia

  • Jul 12 2012: There is no such thing as darkness-it is classified as being the absence of light. Similarly, there is no such bad person, just absence of good deeds.
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    Jul 5 2012: Diving into de deepest caves of human spirit, I think it would come a moment when we could see that, in fact, there are people who have decided to be harmful to others. This is what counts, the decission for doing it. In the bottom of our hearts, I, however, think there's no bad people. But sometimes (or a lot of times) their (our willing) may be harmful or totally wrong.
    Let's maintain the hope for a better world, please!
    • Jul 6 2012: I'm all with you, Sean! Taking this hope to an actual action, it's all about that for me..
  • Jul 17 2012: Good question ? well depends on what your definition is for a good person :)
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    Gail .

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    Jul 16 2012: I agree with you.

    Some years ago, I was caught up in a struggle between anger and guilt. (Anger about something unfair done to an innocent, and guilt about feeling anger that was so "right" for the situation.) When the situation became personally crippling, I decided to understand just what these things called emotions are. So I chose a time when I was alone, and I chose to experience anger as fully as I could - in order to understand it.

    The first thing I learned was than anger prompted fear, but when fear was removed (by my intellectual curiosity), anger was no longer painful. I looked around in my mind and found a little corner of unexperienced anger HIDING there, so I invited myself to experience it.

    WHOOSH! All of the anger drained suddenly from me, but after a minute or so, I was angry again because how could I study it when it was gone, so I did the exercise again. The same thing happened, and when I allowed myself to experience the anger that was hiding in a dark corner, WHOOSH!!! - and it was gone - BUT THIS TIME, I WAS LAUGHING HYSTERICALLY.

    I saw me at age 4 - desperate to learn how to read but no one would teach me. So I asked my father to write my name on a piece of paper & I went away to practice. When I was finally satisfied, I took my paper to him (hoping to convince him that he should teach me to read). Without telling me what was wrong, he criticized my work. I went away feeling stupid, worthless, and defeated. But when, from the juxtaposition that I was able to experience, I looked at that young girl, & IMMEDIATELY saw her innate perfection, and how her own damnations of self caused her to make decisions consistent with her own judgments rather than her own perfection. Over and over and over memories flooded my mind, until I could see that I AM perfect, but I behave according to my LEARNED beliefs that aren't necessary perfect.

    When I saw my own perfection I saw Hitler's. Sin is a projection of one's own changeable beliefs.
  • Jul 15 2012: There are people who are hard wired for trouble. There has been alot of examination of the notion of toxic people and the role they play in our lives. There are people who actively seek out negativity for themselves and others around them. I think there is a spectrum of goodness and badness and we all fall within that spectrum. On the far end are people who have so much badness that it far outweighs any goodness that may exist within them. I think we all have potential for good and bad and that environment does play a huge role in cultivating our behaviors.
    One need to look no further than our own children for whom we teach to be good from a very young age.
    Whether it is nature or nurture or a combination of the two, bad people do exist.
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    • Jul 11 2012: Are you implying that I'm not open enough to others' opinions? I'm sorry if that's the impression that you got. :)
      Open-mind is necessary in such conversations, I agree.

      Lia
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        • Jul 11 2012: Thanks for your comment, Mark, makes much more sense now.

          You are right, many people cannot distinguish opinions from emotions. I do not blame them, this is an attribute which one has to practice on.

          The way I know myself, I wonder too much (my therapist would attest:)). Anyway, as much as others' opinions might seem outdated and illogical to us, I believe that it is always important to question our opinions as well.

          Lia
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        • Jul 12 2012: My therapist does not have the option to dissuade me from discussing about different topics, after all, that's what she is getting paid for:)

          You keep raising profound points (I liked your point about Wonder versus Worry) which I found exceedingly interesting.

          All the best to you too.
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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,
      Lia
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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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    Jul 7 2012: You are welcome !! :)
  • Jul 7 2012: So you are saying people do bad stuff because they have a mental illness?. I agree with this in a sense but how practical is it?.

    For example: Explaining away serial killers actions as though they are the result of a predetermined defect in their biological makeup kind of removes the responsibility from the individual's perspective.

    Say I want a phone, so I go hit someone and steal theirs, I could say 'It wasn't my fault, my genetic pre-disposition is for me to be a dick'.

    Where exactly do you draw the line?... and stop defining what is not currently agreeable with society as a mental illness
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      • Jul 10 2012: Interesting thoughts, but would you take them?....
    • Jul 10 2012: MR,

      First I have to clarify; when I'm saying that people are sick, I'm saying that in the bottom line we all are sick to some extent. We are going through crisis-es, getting hurt, abandoned, etc. These things leave a very profound impression on us. So "sick" doesn't have to be defined as a certain illness, maybe as "emotional wounds".

      I think that the line is within us; I'll explain: when we encounter people that hurt (not even terribly) others we most likely judge them right away. But what about remembering OUR inner line, understanding that those people are "sick" and instead trying to help them?

      Have you heard of the phrase: "There is no bad kid, rather, a kid who feels bad"? I utterly agree with that. In an ideal world, we were all doing our best in order to be better to ourselves and others. The problem is that throughout life (especially childhood) people are getting wounded emotionally, which makes that really hard to happen.

      Next time that someone is being mean to you, think about it that way. You might find it helpful. I hope you would.

      Lia
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    Jul 6 2012: A wonderful question Lia ,
    As you mentioned , both exist within us , the good side and the bad side .... It is our upbringing that make us choose between the good and bad . There is always a strong reason behind doing a crime.
    For example, a terrorist chooses the path of terrorism simply because he would have been given assurance about his family also he would have been in dire poverty that would have left him with no other choice
    Criminals continue to be bad as they would have not been rehabilitated properly in the jails(Could be one of the reasons)...

    So you see as you pointed people become bad for a reason and people remain good for a reason .

    Hope it helps
    • Jul 6 2012: I agree with what you say; it's essential to remember that there is always a reason, whether the behavior is good or bad. It keeps us open-minded and attentive to others!

      Definitely helps! Thanks so much for sharing your opinion!
  • Jul 6 2012: No.
    There are bad behaviors, destructive, hurtful deeds and actions but if one considers themselves a Christian, then it all was forgiven from the very beginning. Truly bad people would not be forgiven, for even a God couldn't forgive them for even a God wouldn't have made them.

    The tomb of Jesus, was empty, signifying forgiveness, for if there was no forgiveness, then Jesus, or all of you, would be trapped in death, unforgiven, and for infinity, or whenever this all ends. I don't believe in God myself and find it ludicrous that people believe the human heart is wicked and deceitful.

    That kind of comment alone should show that if this is true about the human heart, then all must be forgiven and that that kind of heart isn't even bad to begin with because everyone is that way!!

    Practically everyone on earth is sick.
    Apparently the entire world doesn't really know the difference between right and wrong, thus everyone is insane, sick, self-deceived and going on as though they are not, or the other guy/girl is, but I'm not.

    We are imperfect. Oh, I forgot, that is bad. So we are bad, so yes, there really are bad people because they are not perfect.

    Are human traffickers bad people and are you good people? The answer is "no" but people really need to think so, so that they can feel okay about themselves. There is no reason why one becomes a trafficker of others except that they are simply bad, born that way, I guess, because who in their right mind would choose to be a trafficker?

    Sometimes, many times, people with no other choice. Well, you always have other choices. No you don't and until and unless you learn that you will only judge others harshly, which makes you a bad person.

    People don't want understanding, they want sound-bytes. "I'm good, you're bad. You're not sick, you're bad. I'm better, you're worse, I'm blessed and you're cursed."

    Look around, if bad people exist it is those who are telling everyone who is bad and pointing the finger.
    • Jul 6 2012: Wow, you managed to confuse me! While reading your comment, I couldn't realize if you are being cynic or just a slightly pessimist.
      I think that there are a lot of generalizations in what you are saying. Whether you believe that bad people exist or not, we all are people first! When we talk of others in generalization, we don't see people as people, rather people as objects. It blocks our mind from listening and understanding (things that I believe essential for solving a conflict).

      Yet, I couldn't agree more with your last sentence; for a good person will see only the beauty in the other.
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    Jul 6 2012: Lia, what is your definition of a bad person?
    • Jul 6 2012: Well, as I mentioned in my question, I do not believe that there are bad people. We all are good, some of us choose to act badly. I know that it's very hard (perhaps impossible) to separate people from their deeds, but this is my way to be more open and attentive to people, even if sometimes they choose wrong.

      Needless to say, I'm NOT justifying bad behavior, rather trying to be a better person, even if it means emphasizing in situations that I truly disagree with.
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        Jul 7 2012: Hi Lia,

        You ask is there such a thing as a bad person.

        When asked to define a what a bad person might be you offer nothing. You say you don't believe that there are bad people.

        If there is no definition of a bad person, why ask the question?

        Whether there are bad people depends on how you define what a bad person is.
        • Jul 7 2012: You are right, perhaps I was not clear enough but the question is intended for people here, for I'm interested to know what others think. But from some reason, in your comment you turn the question back to me.

          Lia
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    Jul 6 2012: You're welcome Lia!
    The more empathy humanity has for itself the more likely we'll stop genocide/war happening.
    • Jul 6 2012: While reading your comment, I recall of a book which engaged in exactly what you said. It's called The Anatomy of Peace by Arbinger Institute. Have you read it? It's a Must!
      • Jul 7 2012: Lia, this is in reply to your last comment to me. I have a couple of books I would like to suggest if you are interested in the inner workings of a criminals mind. Mindhunter by John Douglas was a good read, not overly technical and very interesting, Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert Ressler was also a good read. I have to warn they are incredibly graphic but also very informative.

        -Brian
        • Jul 7 2012: Thanks so much! I am obsessed with books, I will sure read them:)
  • Jul 5 2012: Lia, Im going to assume that what you mean by "bad" ,is a person who has no conscience and behaves in a way that is absolutely destructive to a society.

    To address your question, I think people can be born with a pre disposal to become anti social and behave criminally. I think most of the time this predisposition comes to fruition based on environmental interactions.

    To me, the real question is, did they have a choice in their behavior? and my answer is no. Nobody chooses their genes, environment, parents, or brain. So i do believe we need to take these factors into consideration when deciding how we deal with somebody, who we classify as irredeemable. At this point, it seems obvious to me that putting people in prison who feel ambivalent about society is completely futile. I say it is futile because placing someone in a 6x8 metal cage doesn't teach healthy coping skills,methods of thought alteration, or compassion, hence the recidivism rate. However there are some among us that can never be fully re introduced into society. Some people do belong in prison, many belong in mental health institutions. Im hoping neuroscience can start to make some headway with the justice system, as they begin to show how little control we have over our behavior.

    To me theres an obvious cultural lag in our justice system. The definition of insanity is rather ridiculous and pigeonholes many people to a life of undeserved misery. I say its about time we rethink what insanity actually means, rather than playing the sycophant to a cultural, sadistic, superego.
    • Jul 6 2012: What I like about your attitude is that it requires us being truly attentive to the other (in contrast to judgmental). I don't like, however, that it frees the individual from responsibility, since he/she can always blame their genes.
      People who act badly have a choice; I agree that some have less self-discipline than others (according to their genes, background, self-esteem, etc) but I think that regardless all this conditions, we cannot ignore the fact that we have a choice.

      I agree with you about the prison, but I think that the main goal of putting people in prison is (unfortunately?) first kipping the society secure. Once they are in, prisoners take a part in rehab programs. With that being said, when facing a criminal, our first thought as a society, is keeping ourselves secure and protected and NOT helping the criminal. I can understand it since we all need a safe place to live in, but I agree, it's sad!
      • Jul 6 2012: If an individual wants to use the argument of free will as an illusion to admonish their responsibility, then yes, they probably could and they may not be completely wrong. However knowing this doesn't take away the role you play in any given situation. My argument, is that free will does not exist, but when subjected to being able to use certain techniques, one can increase their awareness and enact the frontal lobe to govern impulses. I also want to add that most homicidal maniacs have damage to their frontal lobe and have suffered severe abuses in their life, again this doesn't admonish their guilt, but shows how they were essentially slaves to our brain chemistry. Im just arguing that this should be taken into consideration as to how we should be treating people who act in an anti social manner. Its not so black and white as "he chose to be a criminal" and we as a society need to understand this. From my point of view if we don't start focusing more on treatment rather than punishment nothing is going to change.

        The truth about prison is that a lot of the time the people there are sentenced based on economic reasons. If you can't afford a good lawyer a lot of the time you end up in prison.

        Yes of course our first obligation is to keep society safe and we have obviously failed at doing so with a recidivism rate like 2/3. If we can't focus on the long term than we have no hope of helping people who have been less fortunate and fall into a life of crime.

        This link is in regards to the point I'm making, which is we do NOT always have conscious choice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCofmZlC72g
        • Jul 6 2012: You clarified yourself, Brian, thanks!!

          There is no doubt that some among us have less control on their impulses, and the one who does not believe so simply ignores the reality.

          It's interesting that we are discussing in regard of this topic, since recently I've been wondering about crime a lot. As you said, there is a whole background which leads criminals to commit a crime, but I'm interested to know what they think to themselves while they are doing the crime, meaning, how do they justify the deed to themselves, and what are they aiming to while harming others. It's a broad topic which I would like to expand my knowledge about.

          Thanks for your very insightful comments!! I will watch the link sometime soon.
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    Jul 5 2012: I think there are degrees of empathy rather than good or bad people.

    Neuroscience is discovering how the brain works in social situations and finding out what I was taught in Psychology many years ago that all human behaviour is on a continuum. That Norwegian killer is on the minus scale of ability to empathise with his fellow humans and Aung San Suu Kyi would fit well at the plus end of the scale. I think most of humanity empathises somewhere in between depending on nature/nurture and who they're talking to.
    A religious person is not necessarily empathetic towards other people and a dirty person is not necessarily a burglar. I think good/bad is incredibly judgmental and degrees of empathy give room for mature discussion.
    • Jul 6 2012: Sally, you are SO right with your last sentence!! Labeling people as good/bad (or in general) is very judgmental and automatically narrowing our mind from seeing the whole picture.

      Thanks for reminding me that!
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    Jul 5 2012: People are valued for their conduct. Good people do good, bad people do bad. Good people sometimes do bad, but in so doing they deviate from their normal pattern of choosing to do good. Consistently choosing to do bad disqualifies a person from being considered good. If a person chooses as an ongoing pattern to do bad, then that person is indistinguishable from a bad person.
    Your argument that all people who are not sick are good seems flawed. It is sick to do bad, so anyone who consistently, as a pattern, does bad things is sick, therefore all non-sick people are good? Or, are you saying there are no bad people, only sick people? I say there are bad people. In fact I say the human heart is desperately wicked and deceitful. Thank you!
    • Jul 6 2012: Thanks for your comment, Edward.

      I'm saying that there are no bad people, and whoever chooses do bad is sick. I'm also saying that we ALL are good (I'm not doing the distinction that you did between non-sick/sick people) and clearly we all have the opportunity to maintain this good part of us and become more and more better.
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      Jul 5 2012: Excellent and enlightening post, Griffin! Love that final quote!
  • Jul 4 2012: I wouldn't say bad is the correct term.

    Some people do bad things but with "just" cause. I say that meaning they might have a mental illness so they might not know any better or something.

    But some people do bad things because they are evil, and just want to watch the world burn.
    • Jul 5 2012: Right, that's exactly what I'm saying; some people just want to watch the world burn. I might be naive or inexperienced, but for me they are so poor for not being able to see the beauty of the world (or perhaps I should say first, the beauty of themselves) BUT I still wouldn't define them as bad. I think that I might be so stubborn with that attitude, because I feel as if others could be bad, I could be too, and that's something that I cannot tolerate.
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    Jul 4 2012: I always thought that the idea of hell was strikingly unchristian.
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      Jul 5 2012: I am not sure how to understand this, Gerald. Are you saying that they do exist and maybe most prominentloy in the church or that they do not exist at all?
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        Jul 5 2012: I'm saying that there is a contradiction whithin christianity.
        I'm with Jesus, I believe there is no such thing as a bad person. I believe in education. I believe in human nature and circumstances. No good, no evil. I've worked with "bad" kids, some time ago. The only bad thing about them was their luck.
        I hate the other christianity, and so does Jesus. Jesus would've hated the idea that a "bad" man should be sent to hell to be tortured forever. In fact, Jesus would've probably hugged Hitler after he shot himself. There's no point being God if you can't love a guy responsible for millions of deaths.
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          Jul 5 2012: Gerald, you never fail to impress me with your depth and your perspective. IS there a direct flight to Andorra from Toronto?
  • Jul 4 2012: First, and most obvious, there comes the obligatory "What defines bad?". What is bad to you may be good to me. A man who steals food to feed the starving, is that a bad person? It all depends on the situation and, what I consider far more important, the _scale_.

    Your brother brought up Hitler, who you describe as 'mentally sick', so I'll make a thought experiment based on what he was attempting to accomplish:

    Adolf Hitler wanted to bring humanity back to the "master race". He chose to do this by eliminating all people who were divergent from that race. Now, as a person who was likely taught people are special among animals, you may tend to ignore the fact people use this exact same process with dogs, cats, cattle, horses and many other species. Objectively, this process only becomes offensive, and frightening, because it hits close to home. In other words, _your_ life may be at risk. In all other aspects, it is nearly identical to what humans do to other species, especially pets. Now, do you consider both sets of acts to be bad, or only the ones of which you are directly impacted by?

    Hitler, rationally boiled down, was a selective human breeder. If you look at his acts in a fine scale, you will see mass exterminations of humans and atrocious acts, no doubt. Though, if you expand the scale out (assuming he succeeded) you may see a purebred race similar to the pure breeds of any animal species. There are many advantages to this process, as we humans use it quite often to select specific traits which benefit us.

    Consider scale when it comes to the United States. If you look at today, you see a populace protected by a Constitution which guarantees certain freedoms. Though, if you enlarge the time scale, you see the extermination of millions of indigenous people, civil war and slavery. Scale matters in deciding what is evil, the important part is understanding the scale at which people are thinking in and their motives for their actions.

    Something to consider.
    • Jul 5 2012: Edward,

      Definitely something to consider. You reminded me of a friend who believes that there is no extreme, since each one of us has their own inner truth. I find it very interesting.

      We definitely digress, but I believe that among many other attributes, Hitler and people who initiate slavery (and all those who kept it as as a status quo), needed very deeply to have control over others. In contrast, I don't believe that human beings are trying to fulfill their need for control through animals. Unfortunately, we take advantage of animals, but that's because we are not wise enough to find other ways to achieve what we get from them (experiments, food, etc). Needless to say, it does not justify it!!

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, that was self-provoking.

      Lia
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    Jul 4 2012: Yes. I have worked in law enforcement for many years. I can tell you that evil exists. Because people like Dr Spock and Freud gave a name to these actions we say they are sick. In my opinion that eases the social conscience when we institionalize them. Every person in jail or prison has a story, but not every person in jail or prison wants to kill you just because you upset them. I am on many death lists, my family was put on death lists, I have been beaten, shot, stabbed, and set on fire.

    You can sit at home and have a discussion on is there such a thing as a bad person because there are people out there taking these bad people off the streets. There are people working in detention that are receiving abuse from someone who screwed up and doesn't want to pay for his crime. A bully at the school will take your lunch money and beat you up because he can. He is not sick. He is mean to the bone and will end up in jail or prison later in life. Said said that the thief that took his TV needed it more than he did. Yep he is right. They sold it for money for drugs or some other reason. He is a passive victim and will be robbed again and sooner or later him or his wife will be there when the robbery occurs and be hurt. Feyisayo, these people would rob, loot, and burn a church in a heart beat and sleep well tonight. They do these things because they can.

    If you believe they are good ... dress in some Air Jordan tennis shoes and expensive sun glasses and walk down the street I tell you. You may live but your shoes and glasses will be gone. Yep there are bad, evil, mean people out there. I have walked among them. Call them what you want but they are dangerous.

    All the best. Bob
    • Jul 5 2012: I do not believe those people are good; BUT I wouldn't describe them as bad.
      Whether we agree or not, the world is full with bad deeds, reading your comment just reminded me how much.
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    Jul 4 2012: YES! They are termed psycchopaths. Look up Dr. Robert Hare's work if you are prepared for real horror.
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      Jul 4 2012: I see what you mean I watched this video they showed Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, Madeleine Albright and an environmental activist Rothschild, (I would add George Soros) and the usual suspects such as Stalin, Chairman Mao.

      But they missed the most obvious indicator of these people which is the evil tittering that is their trademark.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMG1qjpzNPg&feature=fvwrel&NR=1
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        Jul 4 2012: Still do not know how you feel in answer to the question, Pat!

        Did you know that others jight add Swaggart, Bush and Cheney?
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          Jul 5 2012: I think that basically man is good. But some are not. To me it revolves around the question of empathy. Once they decide not to take responsibility for something they no longer have empathy for that group.

          Bush senior maybe, Cheney I have always thought so. It might surprise you that I would not argue about some of the crony capitalists. The problem is that they do not advertise their anti social nature. An argument could be made that they do more good than harm as with Rockefeller raising the standard of living of the world and his philanthropy. Some have no such confusion as with Madoff.

          For me the most telling characteristic is what do they produce is it betterment or chaos in the case of Clinton there is a lot of smoke as there is with Cheney. Soros makes money by selling short and creating appearances much at the expense of his victims. He is one of these individuals who gains from conflict I was talking about on the other thread.
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    Jul 4 2012: Luke 6:43-45 says "For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil."

    What is the essence of the laws of human society if there is no obvious difference between good humans and bad humans?
    We say of someone 'he has bad breath' because we know that the mouth does not usually smell like a fart.
    Why would the United States spend billions of dollars in fighting terrorism if terrorists and their acts are not known to be bad? What is the sense in condemning terrorists and rapists as bad or evil men unless good or right behaviour is a real thing which rapists and terrorists knew as well as we did and ought to have practised?
    Why would we respect Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi and Florence Nightingale?
    Consider this:How many rapists, drug addicts, terrorists, paedeophiles, armed robbers and abusive husbands have been given national honours in your country?
    I wonder why there is the lincoln memorial, while there is nothing of such for Hitler or Idi Amin.

    We are shooting reasoning and logic in the foot when we try to argue that the 'goodness' and 'badness' of humans depend on opinion.

    Yes, people have all sort of reasons or excuses for bad behaviour.
    But humanity has never been impressed by failure in any form.

    Everyday, we newspapers and magazines contain stories of men and women from poor and harsh backgrounds, who achieved success against all odds. We also have stories of those who faced similar hellish situations and turned to crime and violence.

    Truth is: With each and every choice we make, we are slowly changing; either nearer to the best of humanity or to the worst of it.
    • Jul 5 2012: Feyisayo,

      I'm not sure if you realized my question right. THERE IS NO QUESTION whether all the things you described are bad or not, moreover, they are terrible!! Hitler had done a a terrible thing by killing others mercilessly and with the belief that that was the right thing to do. My question is, whether the person who chooses to do bad is a bad person himself/herself.
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        Jul 5 2012: It is very hard to seperate a human being from his or her works or acts.
        And we dont have forever to make impressions on people and society.
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    Jul 4 2012: The concept of "SATAN" / "DEVIL" came in to make individual free from responsiblity of doing something defined bad.

    But yes, it can be long debate....what is bad or good...who defines...how defined ...and so on......like anything else these are also relative terms and a bit abstract...but those are here, those are there, those are everywhere...everytime....
    • Jul 5 2012: The concept of "satan"/ "devil" came in to make us free from responsibility, but without it, how would we remember what's truly bad?

      Just something to think about.
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    Jul 4 2012: The terms good and bad are a little too vague sometimes to be useful. One can reasonably say that some people are much more ready than others are to hurt people- including large numbers of innocent people- for personal benefit. It is impossible to know whether they were born that way or whether early life experiences set that up in them, but there is likely a combination of influences on how they come to behave.
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    Jul 4 2012: Well firstly good and bad are human constructs or at least intelligent constructs as we see chimpanzees punishing others for their actions.
    Mentally there are bad people, they're known as being psychopathic but you could just as easily call that sick, but I don't know of any cases where psychopathic people have been treated in such a way that they change their minds. It may be a bit like homosexuality, you don't wake up and say I'm gay, you just are, so potentially you could just be bad as it's your nature.
    Though to what I think is the root of your description, people who aren't psychotic or psychopathic can still do bad acts. Everyday people do bad things, and can be changed to stop doing "bad". As you say it can be ascribed to economic and social pressures some times.
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      Jul 4 2012: Hi stewart,
      by the way you express yourself I can assure that you have studied some psychology or psychiatry, but if so I think you did not get the memo that we are in 2012.

      The diagnoses were left behind in the DSM-V, which incidentally was published exactly 60 years ago. Words like psycho, psychotic or homosexual located in a context of disease or healing is completely obsolete. And if so, I strongly criticized the sciences devoted to the head, neurons, brain, behave, etc.. because after 168 years of the creation of the APA they only catalog, but do not propose any solution.

      You can not talk about right and wrong from sickness or health,
      I think.
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    Jul 4 2012: Lia I think that your question at first sight seems very interesting, but the way you explain it and also the trite argument your brother said, gave me another direction to answer.

    I think there are no bad people or good people, it is just people who act in certain circumstances in reponse of what are they recive from exterior. Im not justifying any action, because I dont have to do it, everyone is free to do what they want to do.

    The thing is that a lot of people get confused about the assertion of scientist "the humans are the only animals that enjoy the privilege of having consciousness", and under that premise we are no consider as survivors, like a lion who kill a zebra to eat or feed his/her children.

    There is no good or bad, there are just different situations and perspectives. A few months ago some people came in to my house and steal a TV that cost me much money (among toher things). About that situation, all I can say is, they needed it more than I do or they were too clever to got in without my/or my wife noticing.

    All other claims, would be arbitrary judgments.
    • Jul 4 2012: First, I have to say that I'm impressed with your attitude toward those who stole your TV. I think that understanding that they needed it more that you do is a virtue and I'm taking it with me.

      You are sharing an interesting point; I agree that we all are people who act in certain circumstances in response to an exterior factor. I've read once that one of the biggest problems of human beings is the tendency to describe people in definite attributes instead of understanding that their behavior depends on the context.

      You gave me something to think about,
      Lia
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    Jul 4 2012: my question is: what if "bad person" is defined as "someone who failed to do good things"?

    as we don't need a word for something that does not exist. surely we can classify people as good and bad. we just need to understand what bad means.