Are people good?
It's based on education and enculturization
So, what is true of most people?
The strongest forces in the process
Discriminate to see who is good
An example of a change in philosophy
ARE PEOPLE GOOD?
No. And yes.
One of the key philosophical questions that each person must answer for themselves is "are people good?" (This question also ties in with the question "Is the universe beneficent?")
While it might be easiest to give a good touchy feely proposed answer to this question, I think it would be a deception and would provide less value than a more candid answer.
Quite simply, humans have evolved to survive. Although survival is a deeply important thing to most people, it is strictly an objective, mechanistic drive that happened to continue its existence through the process of evolution. (Life itself has no meaning. It just happened. However, we can give it meaning through a conscious process using our prefrontal cortex, the incredible higher brain that evolved in us, seemingly miraculously!)
If it serves one's survival, then one will do what is right and good for others. This is the "yes", at the start. If it doesn't seem that it will, then it won't occur. This is the "no" answer at the start.
IT'S BASED ON EDUCATION AND ENCULTURIZATION
At the crudest level with no training and no societal pressure, mankind will even harm another to preserve his survival. To the extent, in ignorance surely, mankind will fight a war and kill others in a quest to defend or preserve his own beliefs, this is true.
What men are actually fighting for is based on a belief that one's very survival is threatened if one's beliefs are threatened. People equate having their belief being threatened is the equivalent of one's way of living life and "surviving" well. This is a truly uninformed, non-rational, non-wise belief. And it is often prevalent in people's personal relationships, as discussed on this site as a major area to get past.
Psychological science states that a male would not learn morality (or ethics) if he were not directly taught it. We need only look around to see that males, until they have a higher cognition at some point, will often operate much less lovingly and peacefully than a female.
Due to evolution, the females have a built in push toward community and cooperation, so they learn naturally just in the process of living and become at an earlier age much more emotionally intelligent than men. They are naturally driven toward it plus their socialization helps them develop it and teach it to each other.
The point here is that there are a number of people who are not exposed to this higher level "socialization". They act more in strictly survival terms, easily harming another when they think, often incorrectly, that they are threatened.
SO, WHAT IS TRUE OF MOST PEOPLE?
But is that true of most people?
By no means!
Most of us are taught (or maybe even forced) to be "good" to others by society
itself, but especially by women (mothers are the strongest force for good). We are approved of when we are unselfish and/or do good for others and/or are considerate, etc., so we behave more in a way where we will get that approval and/or avoid punishment. Most of us have been socialized this way.
This doesn't sound like most people are "naturally good". And it is true that people are not naturally good at a very high level, though the "natural" drive to get along with others does facilitate our being good. As long as something causes us to "do good" and behave in a way that is good for others, it doesn't really matter that it is not natural - it only matters that it occurs.
THE STRONGEST "FORCES" IN THE PROCESS
One of the strongest "socialization" forces is religion, where values are taught and where there is a "reward" (such as heaven or a myriad of other significant benefits) or a punishment for violating the value (such as not going to heaven or social discrimination). Although the religions are all different in some ways, one can find certain things that are universal among them. However, mankind, in its natural and acceptable imperfection, will fairly often pervert the religions to serve some other societal purpose. The restrictions on female behavior, for instance, were designed to protect the men who wrote them. So, there is much that is incorrect in religion, but the good that has been done far outweighs the harm. It is the purpose of this website to have whoever studies the contents think at a higher level so that one's conclusions are much higher and better functioning than that of religions - to have them actually be committed to doing good as a commitment based on true understanding of ethics versus morality.
DISCRIMINATE TO SEE WHO IS "GOOD"
Since most of us have been exposed to good societal teachings and pressures (and not to radicalized propaganda), most people are good and mean well. They see it as in their best interests to behave for the good of others.
However, they are also limited in their knowledge and also engage in quite a bit of dysfunctional behavior. It is the purpose of this site to help remedy that.
So they mean well usually, but they don't always execute that well. Look at fights in divorces to see an example - and those divorces are a result of many mistakes due strictly to unawareness, which is the source of dysfunction.
The conclusion I would make is that, if you select the population you are in, you will find that people are mostly good. And associating with them will be beneficial, but the greatest benefit will not be from other people, as it is left to you to produce most of the beneficial things in your life. Waiting for others to do it for you violates one of the key life principles and may lead one into having a Victim mentality.
Our greatest enemy is ignorance and irrationality.
And the greatest solution is eradicating that ignorance through "systematic
education" in what works in life!
Until then, do not trust man to be above that which he knows.
AN EXAMPLE OF A CHANGE IN PHILOSOPHY AND BELIEFS
"This week I have woken up from a bad dream, a dream of a world with bad people in it, a world of fear and sabotage. I learned my reactions to people are due to me only, and even though I had those for the best of reasons, researching those, I can change them! I learned that speaking my truth is not dangerous, in fact that it is the very best way to take care of myself. Suddenly I feel able to start trusting other people and myself to live my own life without waiting for validation or permission from others. It’s not that my fear is gone, but I know now that I can find its cause in me, and change it from moment to moment."