From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing can ever be made" --Immanuel Kant
"There is no human heart which does not conceal some odious vice." --Confessions (1782) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Views which see humans as inherently bad:
According to Thomas Hobbes, humans in the state of nature are inherently in a "war of all against all," and life in that state is ultimately "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." To Hobbes, this state of nature is remedied by a strong government. According to Locke, human nature is rather the law of reason. What is reasonable is natural, what is natural is good. When humans do the illogical bad happens. According to Rousseau, humans are born natural, contain the urge to survive and natural pity.
According to the Christian doctrine of original sin, humans are inherently corrupt creatures stained by the sin of Adam, and can only be redeemed by the grace of God through faith in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, whom they believe to be His morally perfect Son. Who will in turn save us all from sin. In Christian theology, the virgin birth is believed to make this possible, as original sin is thought to pass from the seed of man. Catholicism, however, holds that the natures of both Jesus and His mother Mary, as a holy vessel for the Messiah, were uncorrupted by original sin.
According to Bertrand Russell moral evil or sin is derived from the instincts that have been transmitted to us from our ancestry of beasts of prey. This ancestry originated when certain animals became omnivorous and employed predation (killing and thievery) in order periodically to ingurgitate the flesh as well as the fruit and produce of other once-living things to support metabolism in competition with other animals for scarce food-animal and food-plant sources in the predatory environment in which we evolved. Thus, the simple fact that we humans must eat other life or else starve, die and rot is the probable primordial origin of contemporary and historical moral evil; i.e., the bad things we do to each other by lying, cheating, slandering, thieving and slaughtering.
- Born criminal
- Good and evil
- Innate goodness
- Noble savage
- Original sin
- Problem of evil
- Radical evil
- Sade and Rousseau
- Sadean philosophy
- Total depravity
- Human nature