Mencius believedthat all humans were born good, yet they could be easily being shied away if distractedby the constant changes in the environment. Humans are born with good virtues such as benevolence, ritual principles,justice and filial piety, and it is up to them to uphold them. These honors bestowed by men are temporaryunlike the honors bestowed by God which are permanent.
In addition, these good qualities are notgain overtime because they are already inside of you from birth. Evidence in scripture passages defend andexplain Mencius’s view of humans being born good, by going back to thebeginning of creation in the book of Genesis. Although humans can easily be distracted by the wrong things. They paid too much attention to the honorsbestowed by men which distracted us into giving up these virtues. The honors bestowed by men such as fame,authority, possessions, and anything that is outside of ourselves. We as humans must look deep within ourselvesto find our good because if we don’t take the time to look, we will lose sightof it.
It is never too late to turn backand regain these virtues from heaven if we are willing and able to. Humans are born innocent and can remain innocentif they do not fall for the honors bestowed by men. (THESIS) Allhumans are born good with born with a caring heart and good virtues such asbenevolence, ritual principles, justice, filial piety. Since humans come from God, and God is goodtherefore humans are good. Although, wehumans are not God and need to focus on the honors bestowed by God and we needto choose our decision.
An example from the Bible said that, “For everythingcreated by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received withgratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” (1Timothy 4). However, this goodness isnot permanent if we do not choose to maintain it and let go of ourvirtues. We must look deep withinourselves to find our good, if we do not take the time to look we will losesight of it. Mencius said that we all havecompassion, shame, respect, and the knowledge of right and wrong to guide us inthe right path to goodness. He summed uphis ideas saying that, “asfar as what is genuinely in him concerned, a man is capable of becoming good”.(Mencius 24) He used the example of the water and said that water would have tobe interfered with and splashed upward for it to go up. In that same way that water is fine naturallyhumans do not need to be interfered with as it would be necessary andunnatural.
Family affection had been saidto have contributed to human nature and how it should be. Mencius added that, “human”capacities begin to emerge the moment one is born into a human family. Andsince the family consists of socialized, role-bearing members already, personsliving in “humanity” (ren) supported and ennobled through”ritual propriety” (li) with concomitant standards of”appropriateness” (yi), one enters by default into relationships thatselect and reinforce the corresponding “sprouts” in oneself.” (Behuniak 2) However, humanscan become evil if they pay too much attention to the honors bestowed by manwhich blind and distract us from what is good for ourselves. The honors bestowed by man are valuablepossessions, physical appearance, and anything outside of oneself. Since we had let go of our virtues we stillhave a chance to get them back and become good again. For example, when Mencius was asked byGongduzi about the wrongdoings of humans he said that, “those who follow their greater partbecome great humans.
Those who follow their petty part become petty humans.”(Norden 7) He meant that the people that become petty humans resulted fromtheir loss of goodness and turning to the honors bestowed by humans. Another example is when Mencius comparedhuman and human nature to shoes saying that, “All shoes are alike because allfeet are alike.” (Mencius 25) He said that all individuals have a lot incommon and are all born with a good nature.
Furthermore, the next paragraph will explainwhy I agreed with Mencius. Iagreed with Mencius because he believed that all humans are born with goodvirtues. Humans come from God, and Goddid not create anything bad. Forexample, the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible said that, “God saw all thatHe had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) The only reason thata person would fall off the path of goodness is because there is a lack ofpositivity surrounding them and they prioritize their honors bestowed by men.
The honors bestowed by men such as fame,authority, and authority which are temporary, guide us away from those bestowedby heaven which are permanent. We ashumans need to focus on bettering our hearts and minds in prioritizing ourhonors from heaven. In addition,according to Mencius, “human” capacities begin to emerge the momentone is born into such a situation. One enters by default into relations withsocialized, role-bearing others.
The resultant environment is one that selectsand reinforces the Confucian “sprouts” and their related habits andattitudes.” (Behuniak 4) It is easy to lose our sight of goodness if we do notlook deep inside ourselves to find the good. However, we can return to this goodness by distancing ourselves awayfrom it and focusing on regaining the virtues that we were born with. For example, Mencius said that in the case of aruler misleading his people and the uneventful moral failure that he confesses,”I have a weakness. I am fond of wealth.” (Van Norden 8) and that the ruler had guaranteedthe people, “those who stayed at home had loaded granaries, and those whomarched had full provisions.
” (Van Norden8) Lastly, if we apply these things in our everyday hearts, then andonly then will we continue to possess a good heart. Moreover,there were questions raised on both views of Mencius discussed in the next paragraph. The objectionsthat were raised during my group’s presentation were for those who agreed andthose that disagreed with Mencius.
Forthose that agreed with Mencius the question asked was, if children are borninnocent and with caring hearts, why is there sibling rivalry, and why dochildren have to be taught to share? Why are babies envious of their siblingsor even violent toward them? To respondto this, there is sibling rivalry and children should be taught to sharebecause they are still learning these virtues which will be perfectedthroughout their life. And babies areenvious of their siblings or even violent towards them because they do not knowthat what they are doing is wrong. Adolescent children’s brains have not yet understood or processed whattheir actions mean. They learn from whatis around them which changes and determines their behavior. For both views of Mencius, (if you’re bothwith certain genes, you can’t feel sympathy for others and are naturally asociopath; how could Mencius explain this?) To respond to this, you are not naturally a sociopath because you cannotfeel sympathy because not everyone has the same feelings as others despite themhaving the same genes.
Humans are born good,not born good to always react to how others think they should. Mencius described how our organs respond to oursense by referring to them as things in which, “Things interact with thingsand lead them along.” In contrast, the full development of our ethicalmotivations requires that our heart engage in “reflection”: “If it reflects,then it will get it. If it does not reflect, then it will not get it.” Theheart “gets it” in that it engages the appropriate ethical motivations.”(Van Norden 7-8)