protect ourselves mean that we are self-centred beings and if so, could this mean that we are born with an instinct to be selfish, a trait that is considered to be bad? We wouldn’t praise the person who had a chance to save others but chose not to as it meant risking their own life because this action is negative
towards the common good and therefore seen as bad. A baby is born is born with this same self-preservation so can we assume that a baby is born bad if it only wishes to satisfy its own desires and fulfil its own needs?
The answer is that we can’t because babies are also born with an innate instinct for compassion and empathy. These innate traits seem to cancel each other out as we understand the need for self-preservation but we do have the capacity for putting others above our own needs and wants. This seems to leave babies neutral: they are born with the capacity for both. If this is true, that we are born neutral, then what, if it is not pre-destined, determines whether we are good or bad? The answer is our surroundings. Our surroundings can include a number of factors such as our families, our culture, our society and even our entertainment. All these factors contribute to a larger picture of our moral understanding. But societies differ, cultures clash and our morality becomes clouded. Morality when thought about is truly just perspective, good and bad is all really a matter of opinion and there are few universal morals. Many societies contradict themselves which leads to a conflicted morality in individuals for example we think stealing is wrong but if someone is starving would we condone it? We think murder is wrong yet in some areas we condone the use of it as a punishment?
In my opinion we are born as neutral blank slates with the capacity for both good and evil, there is no pre-determined template of morality for all of us. This neutrality is only temporary however as our surroundings corrupt us for better or worse from the minute we can process the world around us. Our morality is a fragile thing, it constantly contradicts itself. There are no universal morals therefore we cannot generalise our morals but develop them to understand each different perspective and new circumstance. We are human beings with the ability to empathise and we must understand that morality isn’t always black and white and we must account for the grey area. There are no absolutes and each person starts neutral and is affected by external factors but we can overcome them but first must abandon the pre –conceived notion that we are born good or bad.