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Good Or Bad?

August 31, 2010

Are people by nature good or bad? This is a conversation that I overheard a part of today and started thinking. Growing up you are taught to think the worst of people: don’t stray away from your family or someone will take you. Don’t talk to strangers. It has even gotten to the point where we were warned by doctors about letting people into our homes after Bug was born or even putting up decorations announcing her birth because you become a target for kidnappers. People can’t be trusted has been ingrained in the American culture.

But are people really all that bad? My theory is that if you look for the bad you will only see that. On a daily basis we are feed stories about murder, kidnappings, and war by the media, but what about the people who do good things on a daily basis? Where are they in the news?

After hearing the conversation I walked the streets of the Pearl district in Portland and watched stay-at-home parents play with their children, a woman who stopped to help an old man get on the bus, others giving directions. As I continued to walk I got the urge to turn down a street and saw this sign:

What a warm feeling this gave and I had my answer. People are good we just forget it sometimes. From there I headed towards the park for some play time for Bug. While there a little girl fell and busted open her knee. As her grandfather ran over I handed him some baby wipes and he was thankful since he had nothing to clean her knee with. A small gesture, but another random act of kindness put out their in the universe.

What do you think? Are people bad by nature or are they good?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 11:46 am

    I don’t think anyone is inherently bad…I think much of a person’s personality and the way they treat others comes out of their upbringing and from the influence of others around them. That said, I go back and forth about people being inherently good. I would love to think that they are, and sometimes I do really believe it, depending on my level of optimism at the time! But I think much of what we do that is not that nice (like ignoring a homeless person in the street, etc) is something we’re conditioned to think is okay under certain circumstances.

    It’s a hard question!

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