Is Man Inherently Good, Bad, Both? Essay, Research Paper
By: Alan Eugene Sims, Jr.
Is Man Inherently Good, Bad, Both?
Psychologists often struggle with the question does man have inherently good characteristics, or do they lead to the negative. Families
struggle with this question because their son has turned into a murderer, and I am also struggling with this question right now. What
makes a man act the way he does? Is it nature, hormone imbalances, or the way he is raised? Man?s intrinsic characteristics can be
good, bad or both. Most people would like to believe that they are good.
Man is inherently good; man is most likely brought up to be good. Once a child becomes potty-trained, he/she will most likely not stray
from it. When a child learns to communicate, he will not talk baby talk in frustration at society. Because a child knows that he may be
rewarded for cleaning his room, he will straighten up his toys and pick up his clothing articles. All these characteristics are learned at
an early age showing that man is moral and kind from the beginning. When a man matures and takes on a job to support his family, he
shows his instincts are positive. He may not succeed, but his conscious told him to provide and be positive towards his family.
Some people may say that man?s inborn characteristics are good, but other people believe they are bad. In the comic book adventures of
Calvin and Hobbes, written and illustrated by Bill Watterson, Calvin portrays the life of a young kid whose propensities often lead him
to trouble. Sigmund Freud, the founder and developer of psychoanalysis, also helped prove that man?s inherent nature is negative. Dr.
Freud identified the Oedipus/Electra complex where a child has a sexual attachment to the parent of the opposite sex and jealousy toward
the parent of the same sex. This complex shows through unconscious desires, a young boy (after age 3 or so) develops a marked
attachment to his mother, and wishes to kill his father for blocking his goal of his mother?s possession. This again shows that man?s
inborn characteristics are bad.
A man can live a respectable life, but also have contrary desires. In the movie ?8 mm,? there is a sadist who enjoys raping and
murdering people in Snuff Films. He goes by the name of ?Machine? in the movie business, but as an integral member of society, he is
known as George Clemons. He has a good relationship with his mother, looks and lives like a normal man, and was raised as a good
child. Other people can also be both good and bad, and the highway is a good example of how people exhibit schizoid behavior. When
a driver would like to drive 80 mph, and the person in front of him is only driving 70 mph in the fast lane, the fast driver may develop
road rage. This is a temperament when a person exhibits manic driving habits. This person may be a minister at the local church and
display uncontrolled driving habits, thus showing that man has both good and bad tendencies.
Personally, I feel that man?s innate tendencies are negative, yet I also think a man is what you make him. Tarzan grew up in an ape
community and therefore he knew how to act and survive like an ape. He was made to be that way. The bible says, ?Train up a child
in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).? This adage shows that if you train a child one
way, he/she will act that way. But on the contrary, this proverb subtly says that if a child does not receive training, he/she will not learn
how to behave. Everyone in the world has to eat to survive, and without the knowledge of how to acquire a job, and provide for
oneself, a person has to steal. A lion or cheetah?s natural instinct is to hunt and kill its prey by strangulation; this may become a man?s
natural inclination if not properly instructed. Babies also show that man is inherently bad because all they know to do is to cry when
they are hungry, whine when they need!
to be changed, or fuss when they want to be loved. They do not know how to act therefore showing that a man is born with
unacceptable behavior. Man is born inferior, but he can be trained to be good.
Man?s propensity can be good, bad even both. I believe that a man is naturally mischievous, but he can be made good. There is often a
struggle to the question as to whether a man is inherently good, bad or both. Sigmund Freud supported this theory, but he has been
proven wrong. Animal?s natural instinct is for survival, yet animals can live passively or violently. Do you think that man is inherently