Innately good

I was raised with the idea that people are “innately good”. Good? Meaning that we are innately incapable of cruelty? That we are innately not in need of development of goodness? Or that we are born good but learn evil from “society”? Those were the various meanings I heard in the claim of innate goodness, and they all struck me as self-evidently false, even dishonest.

However when I see good as the ability to acknowledge, to be invested in, to identify oneself as belonging to super-egoic existences – relationships with other individuals and formal and informal cultural institutions that surround us and are the substance of self – I do see people as innately good. We have the innate desire to belong to and to participate in and to love all of what is beyond self, but supports and surrounds self.


“The chastest expression I have ever heard: ‘Dans le veritable amour c’est l’ame, qui enveloppe le corps.’ (‘In true love it is the soul that envelops the body’)” — Nietzsche


From puritanism to radical capitalism: Humans are innately sinful –> Humans are innately self-interested –> Humans are exclusively self-interested –> Humans should be expected to behave exclusively out of self-interest –> In “the world” I should be expected to behave exclusively out of self-interest. The radical capitalism of the United States is the combination of modalism of moralities (contextual moral relativism) and puritanical moral pessimism. In the world of business a puritan permits his “innately sinful” nature to run amok and wholeheartedly “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”.


Genuine transcendent relationship depends on honesty. This includes the sub-self beings of which compose us. They have to be taught to speak truthfully to one another, and to be patient in speaking and listening. This practice is philosophy.

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