Are We Born Good or Evil?

That moment, that instant we’re born: are we good? Or are we evil?

Do we arrive into the world with a predisposition for good deeds, good thoughts, and good intentions? Or are we innately bad, inclined for evil acts, evil notions, and evil desires?

Me, I don’t think it’s either case. I think we’re born selfish, (though selfishness is generally considered an “evil” trait). Allow me to posit:

As a newborn baby, your first instincts are of survival. Breathing, sleeping, pooping, and eating. All those actions help you to survive.

Most of those you can do yourself. Except for eating. You’ll need a guardian of some kind to provide you with food.

So what do you do? You cry. Since you’re not a self-sustaining person yet, you need to depend on others. On a very basic level, this is a form of selfishness.

Your view of the world is also very self-centered. As an infant, you’re unaware of the full scope of the world around you. All you know is you and your needs.

This changes as you learn about the external world. Through social interactions, you become aware of distinct personalities outside yours. You learn that your actions have consequences on others.

You could be taught to tailor some of your actions to minimize their negative effects on others, as long as your needs are still being met. This is the root of selflessness.

If you’re not taught this, you’ll continue to operate in a self-centered view, without care for the consequences of your behavior. This is selfishness.

In this context, maturity can be defined as a healthy balance of selflessness and an understanding of the external world in relation to one’s needs and wants.

To continue this line of analysis, good and evil can be seen as subjective values that human civilizations create and internalize into their cultures as a way to ensure societal order. That’s why stealing is seen as evil by so many cultures; it’s essentially a selfish act. Without these values, or morals, there would be no society.

Selfishness itself isn’t evil. As a newborn, it’s absolutely necessary. As a trait, it’s just a primal act of survival. If negatively effects another person however, then most societies will judge this as evil.

And that’s my answer to whether we’re born good or evil: it’s neither, we are born selfish.

. . .

Do you think we’re born good or evil?

  • Jenketch

    Born with a default toward evil.

  • Jenketch

    We are born with a default toward evil actions.

  • Darklord

    we are born neutral and that’s all there is to it