Do you feel that humans are innately abusive/cruel? - page 3

Over my years of living, I feel this way, that all persons are innately abusive and cruel to other human beings and that socialisation doesn't do much to improve this but redirects this and covers it... Read More

  1. by   StuPer
    Hello Dixiedi,
    Well I agree with much of your post, but differ in interpretation. Where as you would say "self centred, cruel to the point of murder (when we are big enough) to get what we want" I would say amoral (obviously because morals have not been learnt), and as with every baby of every animal, a survivalist. Children do not have the capacity for murder unless it is imprinted on them, they do however, have a capacity to try and take what they need from others no matter what. This may accidentally lead to injury or worse, but the intention to kill is not there, just to meet immature needs.
    While much of what I say is simply my opinion, I should add that most of the extensive research that has been done into child development agrees with the notion of learnt behaviours rather than intrinsic cruelty. It is we as adults with our morals and ethics who interpret childhood behaviours as cruel and selfish.
    We are born with a survival instinct, for example it has been shown that the reason babies have cute faces is deliberately to play on the protective instincts of their carers, this helps ensure survival.
    But this instinct can be easily labelled as cruelty when seen against adult societal norms.
    regards StuPer
  2. by   finness
    Quote from susanna
    my question to you is: what exactly are you arguing for or against? that this topic not be discussed and people not post honestly on how they feel? do you really think that its not constructive or useful to discuss this sort of thing and if so, why did u post?
    not at all!! at one point during my freshman year, i was considering a political science major, so this sort of discussion is right up my alley. the human psyche is indeed complex and intriguing--discussing it in an open forum with like minded professionals is a most exceptional idea. that is why i posted. secondly, i wasn't arguing anything. i posted about a recent study--which pertained to this discussion--and made the point that i believe we become what society wants us to be. if everyone goes around saying that we are violent, obnoxious creatures, more likely then not, we will begin to exhibit those behaviors. a simple sociological principle--negativity begets negativity. i was "shaking my head" because this board's general consensus seemed to be rather bleak. i am allowed to feel disappointed, aren't i? i was only trying to participate in this open forum; not be condemnatory. i believe we just had a misunderstanding, but if not, let me know and i will try to refrain from posting under subjects that i am passionate and stick to ones about which i am lukewarm. but seriously susanna, if i came across as condescending, i really do apologize!
  3. by   susanna
    no, no, of course you can feel dissapointed and say whatever you want to say. i should not have lashed out angrily even if someone was trying to argue against having this thread. i agree: this is supposed to be an open forum. i'm sorry for being overbearing and i'm sorry that i got so riled up and accusatory. you don't have to apologize.

    Quote from finness
    not at all!! at one point during my freshman year, i was considering a political science major, so this sort of discussion is right up my alley. the human psyche is indeed complex and intriguing--discussing it in an open forum with like minded professionals is a most exceptional idea. that is why i posted. secondly, i wasn't arguing anything. i posted about a recent study--which pertained to this discussion--and made the point that i believe we become what society wants us to be. if everyone goes around saying that we are violent, obnoxious creatures, more likely then not, we will begin to exhibit those behaviors. a simple sociological principle--negativity begets negativity. i was "shaking my head" because this board's general consensus seemed to be rather bleak. i am allowed to feel disappointed, aren't i? i was only trying to participate in this open forum; not be condemnatory. i believe we just had a misunderstanding, but if not, let me know and i will try to refrain from posting under subjects that i am passionate and stick to ones about which i am lukewarm. but seriously susanna, if i came across as condescending, i really do apologize!
    maybe i'm the kind of person people like to confess their dark sides to but my friends (and they are my friends and not ennemis)(and i am glad this is an anonymous forum) admit to me that they like to see others fall down and gossip about people who have problems because it makes them feel good when others have it so bad.
    i think i must be or must have been like this too on the inside but had it conditioned out of me. i think it is because i've seen so many bad things happen to people close to me that its been engrained that i feel connected to and empathatic with everyone in the world who has problems and are suffering. thus, this is why i am not like this and do not gain any plesure from being cruel or seeing others suffer.

    i don't think my friends or family are particulary bad people, but, they do get pleasure out of seeing bad things arrive to other people. so, i guess that this is just human, ya know, everyone is like this unless it gets conditioned out of you somehow. and that this is not something you should try to change because why would you want to condition people to suffer other peoples' pains? why not just let them be cruel and abusive? what can you do, be cruel and abusive to them so that they know what everyone else's suffering is like so that they don;t get pleasure anymore out of other peoples' suffering? that wouldn't be right.
    Last edit by susanna on Jul 24, '04
  4. by   finness
    aww...you know you're my gurl! no need to apologize. i know it's been said that a lot of people use mental illness as a "cop out" to excuse bad behavior. maybe they do--but sociopathic behaviors such as taking joy in others suffering are truly against grain, and to me, indicate the presence of mental illness. of course i am not a pdoc, and am right there with you in always trying to be empathetic. i think it was plato who said that we can not knowingly do wrong, because if we knew the full consequences of the behavior before hand, we wouldn't do it. this bleeding heart tends to buy into that philosophy. it makes it a little easier to forgive these behaviors in others, anyway.
  5. by   Thunderwolf
    I think our innate tendency is to be selfish, straight from the crib. However, I think also, there is a continuum from wallowing in it to moving beyond it to unselfishness. I think most folks are in the middle as they get older. When stress abounds or crisis hits or the culture allows it or opportunities present themselves, people slide down more to their innate tendency to be selfish. The small percentage of folks who do not, well, they stand out and catch most everyones' admiration and attention...Mother Theresa, for example. These people become our living saints.
  6. by   Gianantoni
    No, I don't think humans are innately cruel. Your question makes me wonder if you came to this conclusion after all your years of doing psych nursing. Personally, and sad to say, as a psych nurse, I have seen more antisocial behavior and dysfunction among staff than patients. In that vein, I have a question... do you think that dysfunctional people are attracted to the psychiatric professions or do they become dysfunctional or more dysfunctional because of their experiences in the psych field. I myself know that since doing psych nursing for over 7 years, I need even more time for solitude and shy away from social situations. I do not enjoy people like I used to. Any thoughts?
  7. by   boulergirl
    I am going back and forth in my mind about this after reading this thread...

    I mean, watch just about any reality show and you come away with the feeling that people get a high off of hurting each other, sometimes deeply. And of course, the audience eats it right up because humans are a voyeuristic bunch. Don't believe me? Talk shows have been thriving for years. We sit in our homes and get entertained by other people's personal business.
    The corporate world and the dating scene are not much better. Both are based on the thinking, "Look out for Number One," and "Kill the competition". Ugh.
    Then there's the bullying situation in public schools. Strong kids pick on the weak ones and adults don't interfere because "bullying toughens them up". I'm sure it does--we have the Columbine killers for evidence.

    On the other hand...there is still good being done in the world. Sure, it might be selfishly motivated (as someone once said), but at least good is being done. If this is a bad thing, then those of us who work in service-oriented professions might as well hang up our badges and abandon ourselves to our baser natures. Let the human race annihilate itself!!!!

    These are just my humble opinions. Although this topic is scary, it makes for an interesting discussion and something to think about. I like deep discussions. Makes me think. There's not enough thinking or meaty conversation in American society anymore--and I'm being serious.
  8. by   CHATSDALE
    people realize that you get further in life if you are good to the guy in the next line...and even school bullies grow up...most of them do anyway...i have seen mothers and teachers ignore the bullying saying' boys will be boys' but they are not doing a favor to either victim or bully
    sometimes i think i see more of the bad side of people because i am short ... i have had people talk to my children asking what about me when i am standing right there...but you learn to ignore idiots
  9. by   Euskadi1946
    I would take the word of a member of the animal kingdom before I would take the word of a human!!!!
  10. by   Mister Chris
    Interesting reading but did not see mentionned the film "Lord of the Flies" worth watching if you think you would like to study bullying etc in kids.

    Just a thought.
    Mister Chris..................
  11. by   Mister Chris
    I have just noticed that this is labelled as a bad thread - why.
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    I think that from the moment of birth there exists in children an inborn temperament - we aren't blank slates. Some kids grow up to be more willfully defiant than others. Some are easier to "grow" than others. We are born self-centered - of course this doesn't mean the baby actively thinks self-centeredly (is that a word? . .. but the world revolves around the baby for awhile. It is parent's job and society's job to provide good examples. Of course there are people who have mental problems that complicates this and there are people who are either born sociopathic or are molded that way. Just a small idea of how to help children value others was in a newsletter I read recently:


    Helping Your Child Value Others



    Are your children under the impression that the world revolves around them? Are they unwilling to share their toys? Do they taunt or tease younger children?
    Teaching your children to demonstrate value toward others is a vital step in developing key virtues, including self-control, compassion and benevolence. Here are a few tips:

    Family first. Showing respect to others starts at home.

    Make sure your children play fair, take turns and honor Mom and Dad.
    Refrain from jokes that embarrass or belittle.
    Proper use of "please" and "thank you" is a must.
    Children should ask to be excused rather than dashing away from the dinner table. Avoid TV programs that mock and ridicule in the name of comedy.
    Model it. Let your children see you showing appreciation for others in everyday situations.

    When you take your children to the grocery store, let an elderly person cut in front of you at the checkout line.
    Be polite to the cashier.
    Instead of leaving your cart in an empty parking space, make a point of moving it to the corral. Explain to your child that by putting the cart away, you're showing that you value others.
    The same principle holds true for them when it's time to put away toys and games.
    Instill empathy. When your children are rude or insensitive, make them aware that their behavior hurts the feelings of others and, in the end, could cost them their friends. Explain the significance of the Golden Rule: "Do to others what you would have them do to you."

    Create opportunities. After your children watch a rented or borrowed video, give them the all-important job of rewinding it. Tell them that this simple act is a way of showing value to the next person who watches the video. When your children grasp the significance of valuing others, try something more ambitious, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen or visiting a shut-in.

    --Scott DeNicola
  13. by   CHATSDALE
    stevielynn that was a wonderful post....

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