Human Nature According to Chinese Wisdom
Is human nature basically good or bad? This is one of the most controversial questions that does not have a definitive answer.
From the Biblical point of view, man was originally good, but because of the original sin of Adam and Eve, man becomes evil or sinful. There are those who believe that man is created in God's image to serve Him; if that is truly the case, man is still inherently good. There are, on the other hand, those who believe that man is inherently bad.
Well, what is the Chinese concept of human nature?
According to Hsun Tzu (荀子), a Confucian Chinese philosopher who lived approximately between 310-219 B.C., the nature of man is evil, and his goodness is the result of his right actions and activities. Hsun Tzu’s explanation was that man’s innate nature is to seek gain, which is often followed by strife and rapacity that may annihilate his deference and compliance; man’s envy and hatred of others may obliterate his loyalty and faithfulness; and man’s desire to gratify his five senses may engender his own lewdness and licentiousness. This is how man may have become bad and even evil.
Essentially, good and are only moral concepts that have coexisted since the beginning of time; humans have been categorizing different actions and feelings based on their own philosophical concepts. Good and evil are closely linked together, just like the concept of yin and yang; one cannot exist without the other, and they balance and complement each other.
According to Mencius, another ancient sage from
“Evil exists to glorify the good. Evil is negative good. It is a relative term.
Evil can be transmuted into good. What is evil to one at one time becomes good
at another time to somebody else.” China
Undeniably, we all have the bright as well as the dark side of life. The Bible calls the dark side of human nature “sin.” None of us is exempt from sin. Life is always an inner struggle between what is perceived in an individual’s moral system as “right” and the dark opposing force inside to do just the opposite as “wrong.” To make matters worse, most of us are really quite good at our self-deception: either we deceive ourselves into thinking that the dark opposing force does not exist in ourselves, or we simply inflate our own personal virtues to overshadow the dark force within us.
No matter whether human nature is inherently good or bad, how you view the nature of humans is important because it shapes the way you look at life, and, more importantly, how you live your own life.
No matter whether we were born “good” or “bad”, we all have enough “goodness” within us to change ourselves to become “better.”
Be A Better andHappier You With Tao Wisdom: This book is about using human wisdom to become wiser and happier. It also includes the translation and the complete text of Tao Te Ching an ancient Chinese classic by the famous sage, Lao Tzu, on human wisdom.
The HappinessWisdom: This book helps you create your own happiness recipe based on ancient wisdom, contemporary wisdom, and spiritual wisdom. Your recipe has to be yours, and only you can create it, because it’s you who will be going on your life journey.
Copyright© 2018 by Stephen Lau