Humans: Basically good or evil?
I've been reading James Bradley's book The Imperial Cruise which is really more about a period of American history as relating to our interactions with several Asian countries between the late 1800's and 1905 than it is about the Imperial cruise of 1905. Bradley pieces together a section of our history that has never been fully written about and much of what he says seems rather controversial (and yet, despite a open invitation by the New York Times, no one has stepped forward to prove anything Bradley say is false.) Much of what takes place in this time period involves many instances of great cruelty and bloodshed. And yet this is but a brief period of time. When taken as a whole, many, many incidences of widespread cruelty and horrible violence can be seen throughout human history.
I mentioned all of this to my wife and told her that it just makes no sense to me. I said that in all my life, I have personally only known one or two people whom I can imagine carrying out such cruel and violent behavior. She said. "We have lived a very sheltered life. Humans are a very [terrible? I can't remember the exact word] species." And this is coming from someone who is more open, accepting and loving of people than pretty much anyone I know.
So how is this possible? It begs that age old question: Are humans basically good or evil? My experience is that people are basically good. I have known very few people I would describe as evil and capable of the kind of horrors written about throughout human history. And yet there must be and have been huge numbers of evil people for so many atrocities to have occurred throughout history, with no end to them in sight. I find it hard to believe humans are inherently evil... but I don't know. Maybe I have indeed just led a sheltered life.
“Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.”
-Terry Tempest Williams
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