Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Thought on Human Nature and the Greatest Good

How do we get it so society can foster the greatest good?

What is the greatest good?

Can we as a society achieve the greatest good if the greatest evil is not also possible?

To me, at this point in my life anyway, it seems that the greatest good is where every citizen a part of society is not selfish in the least bit, is not prideful in the least bit, and where love reigns king. Unlimited industry, innovation, and creativity would be fruits of the greatest good. The greatest good is all about constant building, creation, and freedom.

The greatest evil is where there is no individuality and therefore no individual choices that build unity. Selfishness and pride reign king and so with them come unbridled lusts and passions that can never be quenched. Nothing can be created because all is torn down. No ideas are your own.

I believe the ability to achieve the greatest good and the greatest evil is born in each of us. That's what makes us different from the animals upon this earth. We have two natures. One nature, the nature we typically call 'human nature' is selfish and like an animal we only want to have our passions and lusts quenched. And because of what makes us different from animals we can go beyond the limits of animals in our attempts to quench those passions and lusts. Human nature is what tempts us to be greedy, to steal (and not just physical possessions), to think only of ourselves. It wants to destroy, not build. It wants all to be enslaved to it. It cares less for truth, and only seeks to bend it and obliterate it.

The other nature, I don't know if it has a name, but it is the part of us that dreams, that builds, that nurtures a child, a spouse, a sibling, a friend, a neighbor, a stranger. It is the part of us that wants to end needless suffering. That wants to clothe the naked, feed the poor, and lift our brother. It wants to build and not destroy. It finds power in self-restraint. It finds power in working within boundaries that set you free. It wants all to be free and beautiful. It wants to know all truth. It wants balance.

I believe we each have these natures within us. Both natures can be taught, but a portion of both come born in each of us when we enter this world.

With all this nature all up inside ourselves, we are empowered as beings that can act and not be acted upon. We can choose which nature we wish to give in to. Most of us give in to a little of both. The better you are the less you give in to the destructive nature and the more you give in to the building nature. Few of us have mastered the building nature, but many if not most favor that nature, and some are better at different aspects of the building nature than other aspects.

What we call 'human nature' seems to be the one that we easily fall into, and the other nature, is the nature we all want or desire to have. I feel that, especially when I give in to human nature, the good nature is what pulls me out and helps to lift me to cast off my 'human nature.'

So it seems in order to create the greatest good, the better of our two natures needs to be able to reach its highest potential. For that nature is good.

How do natures increase?

They increase through choice, action, or lack of action. This goes for both natures. The difference comes with the nature of the choices, actions, or non-actions that we make.

It seems that the greatest good comes when we are free to make those choices or those actions or non-actions that increase our ability to make more choices, actions, or non-actions. That is the nature of 'good' choices.

The greatest evil on the other hand seems to come from making choices, actions, or non-actions that eventually limit future choices, actions, or non-actions. That is the nature of 'bad' choices.

If you create a society where choice, especially the choice to do good, is taken from you either entirely or given to someone else to make on your behalf, you then are limited on your current and future choices, actions, or non-actions, which is a perversion of good choices. But if you create a society where you are free to make good choices for yourself, you then find more and more good choices that you can make. Those good choices, in my current opinion, are endless.

So back to the original question: Can you achieve the greatest good without the possibility of the greatest evil? Can you make choices, actions, or non-actions available to society without also making available choices, actions, and non-actions that limit future actions?

Is that how balance, and opposition, is achieved while still accomplishing the greatest good? Where the possibility of the greatest evil is left available as a choice? A choice that is consciously refused?

Right now, to me, that seems to be the way to allow for the greatest good. Yet there also seem to be limits on the choices that lead toward the greatest evil that should be enforced by a society. It doesn’t appear to be just to allow evil actions of one person that harm another. Society seems to be able to restrict those while still allowing for the greatest good. Although, even that may limit the greatest good possible.

So until each person is characterly grown up enough to make good choices even when they have the ability to make the most evil of choices we are limited on the greatest good we can accomplish as a society.

3 comments:

merrilykaroly said...

Then we will be limited forever, right? Because there will always be people who are less "characterly grown up" -- that is human nature.

Linda said...

"If you create a society where choice, especially the choice to do good, is taken from you either entirely or given to someone else to make on your behalf, you then are limited on your current and future choices, actions, or non-actions, which is a perversion of good choices. But if you create a society where you are free to make good choices for yourself, you then find more and more good choices that you can make. Those good choices, in my current opinion, are endless."

This statement is the kernel of truth that explains very nicely why I am a fiscal and social conservative. Liberals are always liberal with other people's money which takes away choice and freedom. They do this under the guise of being compassionate. I never understand why "blind" liberals don't see that.

I look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus Christ is reigning on the earth. He is the only one who can truly fix the problems caused by our evil natures. Hopefully I will make enough good choices to be allowed to be in His presence at that time. It is also breathtakingly marvelous that we have been given the opportunity to make choices at all. Even in countries that have oppresive governments, the people still have the ability to choose good over evil.

NoSurfGirl said...

this is such a complicated issue for me... I wish I could talk directly to you about it. But for now, I'll sum up what I think about this:

if a body of voters decides on something, they ARE making a choice. Yes, I realize the will of the minority is put aside. But the will of the minority, in a way, needs to be put aside until it becomes strident/passionate enough to become a legislative reality.

I choose to give taxes to the government and I am glad some of those taxes go to the welfare system :) I think there are a ton of good reasons and arguments for organized "do gooding" and we SHOUDL have a discussion some time in the future. JEff should be there, too... he has a lot to say on the subject (we respectfully disagree, in other words.)