Social & Psychological Views Regarding The Evil Nature of Humans


Overview of the evil nature of humans: Social, psychological and spiritual outlook

I would like to discuss the evil nature of humans.  We like to differentiate, and we categorize extremely quickly, in “good” and “bad”. Yes, we are great at classifying good people and good deeds just as rapidly as bad people and bad doings.

For this purpose, society has trained templates. Clear moral concepts supposedly predefine them, and literature, film and media reports keep them stable.

This article should, therefore, take a critical look at the views on “good” and “bad” and end in a conclusion as to whether and when these attributes make sense. To address these questions, every reader should be as open as possible in their minds and hearts.

Evil from a society perspective

Let us first clarify what we popularly believe to be good and bad. Good people follow moral standards. You have a conscience and use it. The differences already start here.

What is considered moral and what is not is subjective. Some find a white lie with the boss as a necessary means to advance in life, the other feels it is very reprehensible. So the first problem is already the basis of what we see as a reference for good or bad behavior.

The second problem is valuation. If we assume a clearly defined basis for moral behavior, if we equate morality with legal texts, the question still remains as to how I assess a situation against this (for the time being happy) basis. Let us make a rough distinction here between the rational and the emotional view.

The rational-thinking person judges cooly and on the basis of facts. He weighs the available information about the behavior of a person perhaps by a key along criteria and finally comes to a result: 92.5% moral.

The heart-oriented person may take into account the circumstances of the person (s) who were involved in the situation.

It does not come to a value, but to a tendency, a qualitative delimitation. So he could only compare two differently acting individuals against our moral basis from the beginning: Person A acted morally.

The neverending dispute between what’s good and bad

For example, is it good or bad to help a homeless person? The mind-man can argue: “With a donation, I support the laziness of the individual, and, thus, the fact that people sabotage society.”

The heart person can counter: “The homeless person is a different being, he is perhaps not at all to blame for what happens to him/her; it is my duty to help him/her.”

Who is right – nobody? Both? And finally – Who should, in the end, assess this and make a decision? Only society as a whole can do that.

No matter which direction we come from, whether mind or heart has priority, or we try to let both of them in as best as possible (subjectively), there will be no really stable evaluation scheme. Therefore, no moral police make sense.

Even if there are actually uniform requirements, such as the laws, depending on the situation and circumstances, there is still a lot of leeway for the legal dispute. Why should it look better with far more subjective things like human morality?

Nevertheless, people will always agree on certain points: If I help an old woman across the street, it is “good”, if I kill another person, it is “bad”. Is that all right, or are we still making it too easy for us here?

Society vs. the perspective of psychology

No psychologist will say that murder is a justifiable thing. Nor will a psychologist say that you shouldn’t help certain women across the street.

Just take a look at how we deal with the issue of offender therapy. You will discover, among other things, a very consistent trail of prejudice along the supposedly enlightened society:

“Therapists only see the good in people, even if that doesn’t exist”
“As soon as someone feigns repentance, he is pardoned”
“Therapy for criminals is just senseless pampering”

Society is certain that good people don’t kill anyone, only bad people do it. Naturally, they have to be locked away and done and over with.

First of all, one could immediately oppose that as a society, if we always just lock up or even kill offenders, we can never learn what they did and how we could prevent the crimes from happening in the future.

However, this already implies an understanding of what many people lack: People are not simply born as bad seeds. Certain abuses, which penetrated on them, made them commit acts that the majority of society regards as bad.

There is no question that certain acts must have no excuse. Nevertheless, psychology sees everyone as the sum of different character building blocks which various factors form.

Certain intensities and constellations of these characteristics make a person more likely to perform “evil” acts in certain situations than others.

We are born good, and our core is good

From this, we can also deduce immediately that many people who could actually be potentially very dangerous simply never experience a situation in which they have to commit a crime.

Example: Far fewer wives kill their husbands nowadays than in the past, as divorces now result in equal separation of property. Many potential murderers simply no longer have to commit murder today due to a lack of social “necessity”.

In turn, other people may have less potential to become criminals, but they have a sufficiently strong situation that triggers certain “evil” acts in them.

Fortunately, many others have neither the necessary building blocks in the essential mature form nor a situation in which they can prove their “malice”.

So, we are slowly seeing that psychology deals with the subject of “good” and “bad” much more sensibly. It simply excludes these terms as human attributes.

There is a kind of modular principle here, an attribution that provides a certain potential for certain actions.  And it always requires a trigger to carry them out.

It is up to the viewer and the applicable assessment basis to decide whether the respective action is classified as less good or even malicious.

Dear starlings

We should ask ourselves whether we ourselves do something once a week that others would in a way classify as “bad”, but which we ourselves can excellently justify.

Just as it happens in small, hopefully, insignificant situations around us, it can also be large.

So psychology not only sees the symptoms of action, but it considers its cause, of course, with the aim of having a repairing effect on it.

It does not generally assume that we can treat everyone without exception, and it is no longer acceptable today and easily fooled like before. Above all, however, it does not subject action to an ad hoc vote in the form of “good” and “bad”.

My starlings, please, let me know your thoughts and experiences with the evil nature of humans in a comment below. I’m always happy to read from you.



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