Are Humans Really Inherently Bad or ‘Morally Conditioned’?
If every human in the entire world had absolutely no association with any type of group or ‘following’ that held rules or teachings pertaining to moral conduct and what is right and wrong. Okay, the ‘short-cut’, in other words – let’s imagine there was no religion.
One To Rule Them All
Well, fortunately, in spite of all our differences; varying personalities, cultures, beliefs and so on. Wouldn’t you say that there are certain aspects of behavior and conduct which we all commonly, and instinctually consider to be good or bad, right or wrong? So, perhaps even without religion, humans may still demonstrate acts of morality.
What may be considered immoral or bad amongst one ‘tribe’,
may not be so immoral, or even bad amongst another ‘tribe’.
Are Humans Bad by Nature?
We normally base the distinction between good and bad on how we ourselves would like to be treated i.e. with equality, kindness, fairness and so on…
So, could you argue that morality needs to work within some form of structure or framework in order to exist or to be truly effective? A structure that accommodates and confines different ‘world-views’ into a single ‘moral code’. After all, there are many different and varying moral values and beliefs around the globe.
Especially as there are so many circumstantial factors to consider for every individual situation. Doesn’t this alone allude to just how the concept of good or bad moral conduct is indeed conditional or relative!
So, Where Do Morals Really Come From?
It would seem that some aspects of ‘morality’ are really not static, but evolve as cultures and beliefs change over time.
Morals are also compromised or readjusted to accommodate different beliefs and situations…sometimes for good, sometimes for bad.
Well, think of what it might be like for a child raised in an environment free of the typical type of influences that parents or other members of the ‘status quo’ society may have. This may also Include the media and even education.
Would that child, when introduced to a social environment – let’s say a playground, integrate gracefully or would there be an inherent social skills problem?
And what’s about morality – would that child know that stealing, bullying or picking on the other children was wrong?
Although you could argue that the child may demonstrate at least some degree of awkwardness. You would not necessarily believe that the child would behave in an outright immoral manner. Would you?
You see, without the understanding of good and bad, it’s easy to imagine the chaos that would arise if there were no consequences for committing immoral acts. Even the most heinous of ‘crimes’ may be considered as a normal everyday ‘thing’. Or, would it?
Plus, it would take very specific and controlled circumstances for a child born into an existing ‘World’ with established behaviors, beliefs, rules, ways of doing things and so on, NOT to develop and grow up without some external influence. It is how that child assimilates the information received that will determine how it will be used. Especially when coming from close surrounding peers and role models.
It would seem that besides the natural deep-rooted innate sense of what is right and wrong, morals are also learned. What is learned, is dependent on the eventual but changing world-view an individual develops and how they interpret what they find.
Nonetheless, how do you determine the extremities of what is morally good or bad, right or wrong – when you have the confusion of a judicial system that can serve incarceration for seemingly very trivial matters, such as not paying a television license fee or a parking ticket!
Doesn’t this in some way invalidate the perception of what incarceration is intended to achieve and perhaps moves nearer to normalizing this form of punishment to the equivalent of a school detention. Don’t you think?
Anyway, the bigger question here is; how does this affect a child’s thinking where it comes to measuring the severity versus the consequences of committing an immoral act?
[subject to editing / update]