Are People Inherently Good?

When you think about other people, do you consider that they are inherently good? That they need to struggle with the forces of the world that would make them behave against their better nature?

Or instead, do people start out as essentially greedy, selfish, and lazy? And if they are lucky or disciplined enough, they can overcome these inherent faults to lead a worthwhile life?


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast, where Michael and Lee discuss the questions ‘How do you define success?’ and ‘Is happiness the most important purpose of life?’


Even if you believe the answer is somewhere in the middle, is it closer to one side or the other?

Does your opinion change on the person or people you are considering? Do friends and family fall into one camp, but strangers in another? What about how you view yourself?

How does time change your answer? Do you think you would have answered this question differently, say, 10 years ago? Is the answer different for children rather than adults?

Finally, what does your answers say about you, and how you view the world?

Related questions: What does it mean to be a good person? How do you judge yourself? To what should we aspire? Who are your role models?