Mankind: Innocent or Wicked?

October 21, 2013
By L.C.Byrde SILVER, Edgewood, Iowa
L.C.Byrde SILVER, Edgewood, Iowa
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Mankind: Innocent or Wicked?

“If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.” Herman Hesse

The question of where mankind’s inner compass lies is a question that is always thrown to students like myself. It’s one that I have answered many times before with three different but certain answers. I have always confidently chosen good, bad, or both. Though, it is hard to come up with a thesis for this writing prompt. First, there are saints in our world that have done cruel things. Second, my religion teaches of unconditional kindness but has evil laced through its past. Third, I am a confused teenager that can’t even make a solid decision on what I want for breakfast. So for these reasons I can’t make a solid desicion. Like my quote mentions, maybe evil and good are an illusion like many things in our life. If so, am I capable of understanding what good and evil is? I don’t know. That is my thesis; I don’t know.

People are confusing. I mean, we haven’t even unlocked all the secrets to the machine that makes us do what we do, the brain. Yet, we try to condemn the misunderstood as evil. First, there are people that seem good but do bad things. Did you know that in the beginning, people of Germany thought Hitler was their savior? Now, I don’t disagree with the rest of the world that he did cruel, unspeakable things. Though, he didn’t wake up in the morning and say to himself, “I’m going to do evil things today.” He was very religious and thought he was doing good for Germany. Now was he right? No, but it makes you think doesn’t it? How do we know what’s right and wrong. How can we believe our brains when some are considered normal and others mental? We are alone in our own minds. If a man murders hundreds of people but he is diagnosed as schizophrenic and mentally unstable, is he bad? How do we know if we ourselves are bad? I’ve done things that I will always regret. Certain things would send anxiety through my head. I would hope no one would think any less of me because I did something considered bad. I know most have gone through that. So do the good do bad? Or do the bad do bad? Have we all been misguided? I just don’t know.

What if North is written as South? Then our compasses are all mixed up. Good is bad and bad is good. To begin, we have all seen our parents do something bad. They are supposed to be the ones teaching us morality. Yet, I’ve seen my parents tell lies. Just like the contradiction of our churches and religion. I’m not going into whether your church is wrong or mine is right. But, none of our religions have an innocent past. As an example, the Catholic religion contradicts its self over and over. They believe in Jesus, a man that taught unconditional kindness. Now that he is gone they use their religion as leverage and to say, “I’m going to heaven and your not.” Lastly, there is one infamous church that really make my mind whirl, the Westboro Baptist Church. This is the church that everybody’s heard about. The thirty-some people that picket soldier’s funerals and calls normal people fag-enablers. They have said over and over that they are going to survive the end and no one else will. People have called them cruel and told them that the only ones going to hell is they, themselves. They reply that they are doing their duty by telling their fellowman the truth. So who is right? I don’t know.

I am an average, sixteen year old girl. I complain about everything, spend too much time getting ready in the morning, and I overthink everything. The world tells me I’m irrelevant. So how would I know whether mankind is good or bad? One day I’m a cynic. I see all the bad in the world and think everybody is evil and yet hides it well. Then some days I think we all have a choice. The very next day I’m feeling deep and think there is no such thing, as the abstract thought of good or evil. Then the next day, my faith is restored in humanity. I am human, I have good days and I have bad days. How am I supposed to give my opinion when this question makes my mind spin? I don’t know.

So is mankind innocent or wicked? Do good people do bad things or are all people bad? Are religions and our teachers teaching us right even though we obviously see the hypocrisy? Am I, are any of us capable of understanding the true meaning of this question? Is mankind good or evil? I. don’t. know.

The author's comments:
I think I explained myself in my intro. Every single year in my high school career I have been given the writing prompt of "Is mankind inherently good or bad?" I'm tired of answering a question that I'm not sure I understand the true meaning of. So I spoke my own truth and this is my thesis, I don't know.

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