The Nature Of Human Beings Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Nature, Evil, Ethics, People, Human, Film, Cinema, Brother

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/04

According to the belief of Hsun Tzu, the nature of human being is evil and that goodness if the result of conscious activity. His stand is the opposite of Mencius’ view point wherein the other philosopher argues that the nature of human is good. Both have good points and arguments pertaining to their stand on the nature of humans. In one of the expert of Mencius’ works, he had a conversation with his peers and mentioned how he gives honor to those who are superior to him and how he make it a point to do good. On the work of Hsun Tzu, on the other hand, he contradicts what Mencius is saying by stating that if people are naturally good, then there would be no need for superiors and leaders like kings and ritual practices. Hsun Tzu added that man in a way is selfish for giving in to their animal instincts.
As a Confucian scholar, Hu (Hu 1) mentioned that Hsun Tzu puts forward evil human nature that is the total opposite from good human nature based on Confucianism. Hsun Tzu provided the definition of evil, where it roots, and how evil can change into good from the angle of social reality in Warring States Period (Hu 1). Hsun Tzu argues that the human nature is actually evil and only directs to goodness due to nurture,he mentioned that the conversion of evil to good can be totally modified by the nature of humans through appropriate nurturing.
On the opposite, Mencius believes that humans are intrinsically good. In his terms, the ingredients pertaining to the nature of humans include benevolent knowledge and benevolent ability. He continued by arguing that these two components are within the system of humans since they were born. It is mentioned by the book Chinese Philosophies which relate the belief of Mencius to Confucius’ Doctrine of the Mean, the accordance with the nature is referred to as Tao. It may not be forgotten even for a second and if it left (or forgotten) then it has no right to be called Tao.
In order to prove his point, Mencius used the example of a child falling down into a well. He added that if people witness a child who is about to fall down a well, they would experience a strong feeling of fear and sorrow immediately without need for an explanation. Mencius further elaborated by saying that the fear is not because the person wants to gain friendship (or anything in return) from the child or his parents, but they do not like to hear the scream of a child in pain. Mencius argued that people have a mind that cannot stand to see other people suffering.
Another point that Mencius is attempting to argue is that people are capable of learning due to their goodness (Section XXIII, p. 1). However, Hzun Tzu is quick to oppose the statement. According to Hsun Tzu, the good nature of people comes from the dictation of society and does not come naturally. There are people who dictates what is right from wrong and that because they are to be followed, people readily comply to the rules without regards whether they fully of willingly understand what they are being asked to do.
In order to demonstrate the point of Hsun Tzu, a good film that showcases his is the philosophy is Color of the Night which stars Bruce Willis. The film falls under the genre of thriller and psychological because it deals with psychological disorder and the aftermath of rape. To summarize, the character of Bruce Willis in the film saves Rose (a person who is kept by his derange brother who is actually the one who commits the murders). Rose was a victim of rape and was brought up by his brother with violence. He used her for his revenge, meaning the disposition of Rose is to be evil just like his brother. However, when she met Willis’ character she slowly changed and wanted to breakthrough from the lifestyle his brother introduced to her. The film highlights what Hsun Tzu is trying to accomplish when he says that people are natural evil, but the circumstances they exposed to changes their nature.
The main villain in the film, the deranged brother of Rose, enjoys inflicting pain on other people. He wants them to suffer the same type of suffering he experienced when he was young. The point being made here is that according to Hzun Tzu humans are born with feelings of hate and envy. What triggered his evilness even more is due to the circumstance in his past that he personally experienced. His sister, Rose, is another proof to Hzun Tzu’s point that it is the upbringing and conscience that makes people deviate from their evil nature. When Rose’s conscience can no longer tolerate what his brother was doing, he sought help and tried to put an end to the evil doings of his brother.
Another point that supports the claim of Hsun Tzu in the film is that if people are intrinsically good, then there is no need for sages. In the film, there was a need for someone to come and stop the evil doings of the main villain. He did not change on his own but was put to stop due to the intervention of others. If his nature was good, then he would not commit crimes in the first place. He selfishly dragged his own sister to the path of revenge of violence because he wanted to prove that he did not deserve what happened to him before. The tragic story line of the film proves that if a person is evil, the only way to stop him is by killing him and his ways. It clearly supports the point of Hsun Tzu. Even the character of Rose is a testament to nature of human beings. If she had not met the character of Bruce Willis then she could have continued being a pawn to his brother’s evil plots. She stopped because she fell in love and her conscience was gradually getting to her. Again, she did not change on her own but had to encounter someone else to make her see that what she is doing is wrong and that she has to change.
As mentioned earlier, both philosophers have good points regarding their stand. Basing their arguments, despite being contradictory in majority of their points, they have one thing in common and that is the environment can change the nature of people. Evil can turn into good and vice versa due to the circumstance they will experience and the kind of upbringing they will receive. Both their philosophies point out that human nature is not constant and that learning is important if they want to change evil into good or maintain the goodness in people.

Works Cited

Hu, X. & Guo, J. Evil Human Nature: From the Perspectives of St. Augustineand Hsun Tzu. Open Journal of Philosophy. 2011. 61-66. Web.
Mencius. “Man’s nature is good” Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Austin. New York: Norton, 2010. Print.
Tzu, H. “Human nature” Reading the World: Ideas That Matter. 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Austin. New York: Norton, 2010. Print.

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