Human Nature is Inherently Good
Sometimes it seems that people have forgotten what it is to be good. The world has turned into an evil and dangerous place of existence: constant terroristic acts, murders, hunger, diseases, etc. It is high time each and everyone stopped and thought about his human nature, about his inner good. However, despite the fact that the mankind is so cruel and evil, Mencius is convinced in the contrary, saying that all the people are naturally good.
Mencius says that, “Human nature is inherently good, just like water flows inherently downhill” (95). He claims that irrespective of personality, these are only situations which make people evil. He is comparing human’s nature to water, saying that one cannot change person’s nature, as well as one cannot make water flow uphill. However, if one “slaps it” (95), water will jump over head – the same is with the human nature: a person can be made evil due to some circumstances; however, his nature is unchangeable. Mencius’s comparison of a person and water is rather vivid. Indeed, all the people are born with the same nature; they grow up, experience rises and falls, love and hatred, and finally, their attitude to the world itself changes. It is rather difficult to be ‘good’ all the time, as the world, like a huge shark, is always ready to swallow you. “There’s no such thing as a person who isn’t good, just as there’s no water that doesn’t flow downhill” (95), Mencius says. He is trying to say that each and every human being is good in one way or another; however, it is expressed differently and in various situations.
In another saying “We are, by constitution, capable of being good” (96), Mencius is saying that every human being was created with good inside, with “a heart of compassion and a heart of conscience, a heart or reverence and a heart of right and wrong” (96). However, according to Mencius, some persons simply fail to realise their inborn capacities and their inborn traits, as a result, people are absolutely different.
Mencius’s statement that every human being is naturally good is more than convincing. His very vivid, and at the same time very clear examples and comparisons make the reader ponder over this issue, as well as pushing him to realization of his inborn capacities. From my point of view, his argument is not only timely, but very important nowadays as well. With the help of Mencius’s philosophy, one can understand the real sense of life. Mencius is not simply convincing the reader that he is naturally good, he is explaining why, comparing him to water. Such a comparison is also rather strong, as it is common knowledge that water is associated as something pure and clean, as well as the human nature, according to Mencius.
Needless to say that it is up to every person to have his very point of view; moreover, when it comes to such a philosophic question. However, sometimes it is much better to take someone’s point of view into account, ponder it over and come up to some conclusion. The strongest issue in Mencius’s statement is that it gives food for thought as well as an opportunity to develop the thought. One of the main goals of philosophy is to touch a person, to push him for consideration – Mencius did reach this goal.