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Friday, January 26, 2007
There Is no Such Thing as an Evil Gene
When one comes to face something they consider to be evil, wrong, unacceptable or never to be done, one never stops to think about why it has happened. Yes, we ask ourselves why, but mostly in the “Why me?” interpretation. The individual responsible for the said act is just seen as evil, maybe crazy or misguided if he’s really lucky.

Abused children become abusers, those who had nothing but hardships in their childhood turn to drug dealing, stealing or even murder. Some just loose it, go crazy for reasons only experts can explain. But regardless of few exceptions, nothing comes from genes, it comes from experience.

I am sure we’ve all seen enough profiling and serial killing series or movies to come to know a little of the psychology behind evil minds. There is always a trigger. And being born evil, what does that mean? That the moment you start walking you also start bringing plagues to the world? Yes there are always forms of evil, the Yin and Yang balance if you like. But when it comes to pure evil, something inalterable, I doubt we can even get ourselves to comprehend it.

Some researches say a bit of coldness in mother-child relationships in the first weeks of life can determine a whole different future. The impact of the environment is also of ultimate importance. As we all know, concepts such as normality, good and bad, allowed and not allowed are usually determined by the views of the majority.

This majority can exist at smaller scale, within a family, within a certain school or town. So if one individual grows up with violence of different kinds all his life, just because he or she is suddenly taken somewhere else where people forget about the past, it does not mean the marks and scars of that prior experience will go away. So one day, when it all goes wrong, people will start saying that was pure evil, born as such, as there was not reason for such violence.

Some might argue children are known to sometimes kill animals for no reason. Strangled cats or chicks. They need to be taught not to. That is quite true. However, children need to be taught certain actions, done in good faith, have bad consequences. Because most of them might get a cat to choke because they hug it and don’t let go. So is this really a form of evil? Or more like a behavior from a little being that knows nothing of death?

I choose to believe people are born good and pure. It’s what others do that can get to change them. It’s what society houses within it, that for some reason it doe not cleans itself of, that keeps corrupting certain individuals.

The post is a reply to Love to Lead's question, "Are people born evil?"

posted by Alina @ 6:48 AM  
13 Comments:
  • At 1/26/2007 4:08 PM, Blogger Mak said…

    I couldn't agree with you more. It's all experience.

    Was it in "Brave New World" that they were deciding the futures of babies before they were born?

     
  • At 1/26/2007 4:35 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Yes, it actually is. "all children are created from embryos grown in factories: production of embryos is planned according to the economic capacity of society. For the embryo, the womb is replaced by an artificial life support mechanism referred to as a bottle. Significantly, each individual's destiny is determined long before he or she is "decanted"."

     
  • At 1/26/2007 4:37 PM, Blogger Fyurien said…

    Hi,

    Its that whole nature vs. nurture thing. Some people are unable to give nurture, so they blame it on nature. Easy out.

    PS: Happy Friday!

     
  • At 1/26/2007 4:42 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    That's quite true, Fyurien. L2L actually used the nature vs nurture concept in presenting the topic. I happen to believe just the same, nature is used as a scape goat! :)

     
  • At 1/26/2007 4:56 PM, Blogger loloma said…

    I also don't believe that people are born evil. But this whole thing about people being born like this or like that sounds to me like nineteenth-century colonial ideas about the so-called "criminal races". The idea was that certain groups of people were considered inherently criminal. The upper classes explained that these people became thieves and criminals because they had been born like that and not because of the sheer poverty in which they were forced to live.

     
  • At 1/26/2007 4:59 PM, Blogger Alina said…

    Loloma, there is a limit to what genes are responsible for. In the case you highlighted, nature is the scape goat again. But this explanation also gives the ruling class an excuse to look down on those they consider evil by birth. It is no new thing that those who hold the power will make up silly excuses to hide their abuse.

     
  • At 1/26/2007 11:31 PM, Anonymous NetBoy said…

    I believe you should start by asking yourself where the border between criminal instinct against animals and excessive hugging in good faith actually is… Humans have an inherent tendency to do wrong, as all things and the known universe (nature, as you have called it) has a natural tendency to break order into chaos… As not all humans express their natural tendency to do some evil deed, we should ask ourselves if it’s an educated restraint they are experiencing, or do they have a stronger “common sense” gene to keep them from doing wrong.

     
  • At 1/27/2007 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Honestly I think there frays "born evil" is just society trying to find a reason behind events they cannot comprehendible. …and shouldn’t be read into too heavily, I agree that a child is born an ignorant sponge and grow depends on its surroundings(but there are many grey areas in mental development), though it’s us allowing this imbalance in our emotional state that causes us to abandon our humanity. And humanity is not something that can be taught, morals can be tought...yes, but humanity is in us, how do u explain the love of a child towards all aspects of life, one does not need to know anything of death to be able to appreciate life .Their amazement to life, although a infant, is self developed, but there is often cases that in this amazement. Their new stimulations turn cold, I believe it is experiences that set this off...they become self absorb in attending their needs, whether they have to kill another to get that stimulant or satisfaction. Though I believe we are in charge of our own end product...and no matter what occurrences have taken place in our lives. We determine when, how and or if we allow our trigger to snap

     
  • At 1/27/2007 1:39 PM, Anonymous christine said…

    Honestly I think there frays "born evil" is just society trying to find a reason behind events they cannot comprehend. …and shouldn’t be read into too heavily, I agree that a child is born an ignorant sponge and grow depends on its surroundings(but there are many grey areas in mental development), though it’s us allowing this imbalance in our emotional state that causes us to abandon our humanity. And humanity is not something that can be taught, morals can be tought...yes, but humanity is in us, how do u explain the love of a child towards all aspects of life, one does not need to know anything of death to be able to appreciate life .Their amazement to life, although a infant, is self developed, but there is often cases that in this amazement. Their new stimulations turn cold, I believe it is experiences that set this off...they become self absorb in attending their needs, whether they have to kill another to get that stimulant or satisfaction. Though I believe we are in charge of our own end product...and no matter what occurrences have taken place in our lives. We determine when, how and or if we allow our trigger to snap

     
  • At 1/27/2007 4:02 PM, Blogger Rrramone said…

    I agree with you. And I believe the root of all evil is fear, which we are born with (it's an instinct thing). :-)

     
  • At 1/28/2007 12:22 AM, Blogger LouLou said…

    Alina,

    Can I suggest another book to you? Try William Golding's "Lord of The Flies".

    It's about a group of boys from a boarding school whose plane crashes during a school trip. They are stranded on a desert island. Slowly, the veneer of civilization & refinement begins to crumble & they start to degenerate & give in to their baser instincts. With very unpleasant consequences.

    Golding's argument is that all human beings are infact born evil -or with the capacity to do great evil and that it's upbringing, schooling, society or the process of 'civilization' that reins in the evil inside us & makes us into the pleasant beings we think we are. He argues that evil is natural to us while good is something we're conditioned into. Criminals, serial killers etc...are those of us whose conditioning is incomplete for some reason.

    It's powerful reading & an interesting addition to this debate.

     
  • At 1/28/2007 8:54 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    NetBoy, I am referring here to death of too much hugging from a child, not to those crazy little boys you saw round any neighborhood hanging animals for fun.

    Christine, I do have the same impression, it it a getaway excuse.

    Rrramone, fear is indeed a natural instinct, but it does not always lead to evil. We do learn to control it, true, but for most, fear leads to hiding.

    Lou, I have read the book and debated a lot on it in school (compulsory reading for English). It is a way of looking at a problem. However, there are other sides of the story (Huck Finn, where when the boys run away to live on their own turn into quite the opposite, for example).

    Moreover, extreme circumstances can always lead to extreme reactions, good or bad. If there weren't any prior models, they were born and left on that island, do you think the reaction would be the same?

     
  • At 2/10/2007 2:31 AM, Blogger Fyurien said…

    I am apparently suffering from amnesia. Anyway, i found this post (again) at love to lead and forgot I had already commented.

    Anyway, I gave this some more thought....and so...here are my thoughts. =D

    "I choose to believe people are born good and pure. It’s what others do that can get to change them."

    Wrong! =D

    Ok ok, I know you said you "choose to believe", so that already dismisses the burden of having to be right or wrong. Of course the second statement is less belief and more assertion. So "I believe" is different than "others do". If you had said, "I believe it's what others do..." Than I would have passed right on over.

    Ok first there is no such thing as good or evil. Lets make sure we understand that the very notion of such things are what we've created and defined. Second, we are born. Thats really all there is to it. We are not born good nor evil. Moslty because, as shown above, good and evil do not 'really' exist, and second because there is no consistent proof of it.

    Very good, now on to "It's what others do..." Whats really important in that sentence is the assertion that others can change you (them). So, someone treats you bad, you become bad. Get treated well and you become good. Yet there are those people who do not fit these rules.

    Imagine that you are treated bad your whole life as an extreme example. Well you certainly wouldnt know you are being treated bad, because you dont know what its like to be treated good. But suppose that was the case. Would it make you good or evil? Neither actually, because like I said you wouldnt know the difference. So thus it would have no affect on you. Some goes for being treated well you whole life. Some royalty are genuinely unhappy despite having all the riches, comfort and protection in the world. In fact, some of these very well cared for people can be evil.

    Ok, so what if you get treated bad 'most' of your life? This must surely mean you become 'evil'. You've learned to act from the way others have acted towards you. Of course there is the distinct possibility that you will begin to very much appreciate when someone treats you nicely, simply because you dont get that sort of treatment often. And what of being treated nicely most of your life? Sure you may be nice, but at the same time you may not recognize the pain you cause simply because you cant associate with it. So you do bad things, simply because you cant relate to how others feel. Ok, now finally, what if you are treated equally good and equally bad. As odd as that might sound, it really doesnt matter since you wont be coerced in either direction?

    So why are there evil people and good people? Well, aside from the fact that the whole "evil and good" thing does not really exist, let me try to answer. It has to do with empathy, reason and multitasking. Empathy and reason you get,but really, multitasking? What on this green earth does multitasking have to do with being good. Well first to empathy. Empathy simply means you have the capacity to relate how you feel (good or bad) to how someone else may feel and vice versa. You understand that if something hurts you, its likely to hurt other people. Reason helps you create cause and effect relationships. Just because you feel bad, doesnt mean you should make others feel bad. There is no cause to enact the effect of hurting others. When some people are hurt, they want to hurt someone else, anyone else, for no related reason. Not that having a reason justifies hurting others, but it at least employs reason. And finally multitasking. Some people cannot think of themselves and others at the same time. Some people simply cannot multitask enough to do this. So they by default choose themselves. Ok, of course multitasking is an odd way to explain it. But think about it for a second. Can you at any one time juggle your emotions and understand the emotions of other people? Some people simply cant do that.

    In the end, lacking these three virtues of empathy, reason and multitasking =), is what leads people to do evil deeds. Those people are generally selfish and self absorbed. No doubt.

    Just remember that there are people that go through nothing but hard times and come out better in the end. Some people that go through nothing but good times and are inevitably unhappy and evil.

    Voila, my counter argument =)

     
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Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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