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Do "bad people" really exist? (also death penalty stuff)

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Do "bad people" really exist? (also death penalty stuff)

Postby Dragonblader1 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:54 am

Upon seeing the topic title you might think that I'm retarded for needing to ask this question, but hear me out.

When you think about it people aren't really 'in control' of their actions as some people wish to believe. What they do and choose to do is simply caused by their interactions with others and what their brain's "capabilities" (I don't believe this to be the correct word, but I don't feel like putting in the effort of thinking for this) are. Obviously, people don't control if they have a phobia, if they're mentally retarded, if they're GAY (no crap posting please), or if they have OCD, or whatever. You really don't have control over how smart you are or over how smart you can become. This puts an element of complete randomness for whether or not you will be smart or whatever or not. Of course, this means that every single person in the world's brain is essentially 'randomized' (depending on your parents' brains some things can become more likely though iirc). This means that developing your brain is also completely based on the randomization of the brains of everyone you will meet in your life.

Now, of course, if you replayed the same scenario 1,000,000 times you might choose a different option eventually, right? No. The randomness and interactions with everyone you meet in your life decides what choices you will "choose". If your best friend asks you to punch them then you will either punch them 1,000,000 times or you won't. Your brain will go through the same set of thoughts to decide what you do every single time.

In this case, wouldn't you say that 'bad people' don't really exist? Don't you think that punishing people for the complete randomization of their and others' brains with death is a little... stupid? Of course, they'd need to be educated that what they do is 'wrong' (which you'd normally do with some sort of punishment, like PRISON), but is the person really all that bad? Do you believe that free will 'truly' exists and every single thing I've just said is wrong? Are you gonna tear a new whole in me because I'm really bad at explaining things?
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Re: Do "bad people" really exist? (also death penalty stuff)

Postby AlakazamBrain » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:34 pm

This is a great post! Wow, really well said. It seems like such a simple question on the surface, but it really is very deep.

I would argue that yes, there are "bad people" in the world. Some bring it upon themselves, sometimes it is brought upon them.

Arguing whether we have control over our actions gets into something way more complex, so in order to avoid complexity, we will say we do have some control. We defintely have the power to choose our actions, but as humans we have traits. When placed in stressful or dangerous situations, we naturally resort to our raw human state, whatever that might be. I really don't think homosexuality, mental state, and OCD belong in your example. Those three are characteristics of humans, simply the less common. There is nothing with those that really impairs our human nature. However, phobias is a great example. I'm sure we all have irrational phobias, and we have no really control over that. That is very true.

Not everything is random. Sure, our existence on this planet is somewhat random. I possess a body and I had no control over that at all. However, we make the best of it. We are still in control of our own personality and decisions, even if we are not in control of our intelligence, skills, ability, sexuality, and phobias. These things might affect us, but we ultimately decide who we are.

So do bad people exist? I sort of say yes. That bully in school, is (s)he a bad person? I would have a hard time saying no. They are making completely rational decisions, poor ones, but they are choosing to harm someone. However, are they a bad person forever? Absolutely not. Chances are that person is a bully because of the environment they have been brought into. After some discipline, they might develop into a person that changes into someone who is much more polite than that.

Well written DB!
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Re: Do "bad people" really exist? (also death penalty stuff)

Postby Dragonblader1 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:05 pm

AlakazamBrain wrote:Arguing whether we have control over our actions gets into something way more complex, so in order to avoid complexity, we will say we do have some control. We defintely have the power to choose our actions, but as humans we have traits. When placed in stressful or dangerous situations, we naturally resort to our raw human state, whatever that might be. I really don't think homosexuality, mental state, and OCD belong in your example. Those three are characteristics of humans, simply the less common. There is nothing with those that really impairs our human nature. However, phobias is a great example. I'm sure we all have irrational phobias, and we have no really control over that. That is very true.


I included those three because (like you said later) we have no control over them, which control over human characteristics (and the brain I guess) was what the first paragraph in my post was mostly about.

I wanted to respond to the first part of this paragraph as well, but I can't really think of the right words I guess.

AlakazamBrain wrote:Not everything is random. Sure, our existence on this planet is somewhat random. I possess a body and I had no control over that at all. However, we make the best of it. We are still in control of our own personality and decisions, even if we are not in control of our intelligence, skills, ability, sexuality, and phobias. These things might affect us, but we ultimately decide who we are.


I can't really say I agree with you here. The decisions you make depend on your personality and the opinions/thoughts of others. You can't decide what your personality is because you need your personality to make decisions. I can't just choose to become, for example, the kind of person who could physically injure others without regret or whatever just because that's what I 'want'. You can be tempted to pretend to be someone else on the outside by others and your opinions on yourself, but you can't really change your personality to be like theirs. I'm not sure I'm really that good at explaining this though.

AlakazamBrain wrote:So do bad people exist? I sort of say yes. That bully in school, is (s)he a bad person? I would have a hard time saying no. They are making completely rational decisions, poor ones, but they are choosing to harm someone. However, are they a bad person forever? Absolutely not. Chances are that person is a bully because of the environment they have been brought into. After some discipline, they might develop into a person that changes into someone who is much more polite than that.

Well written DB!


I was trying to respond to this but I'm having trouble putting what I think into words. Sorry. And thanks.

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Re: Do "bad people" really exist? (also death penalty stuff)

Postby AlakazamBrain » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:14 pm

Dragonblader1 wrote:I included those three because (like you said later) we have no control over them, which control over human characteristics (and the brain I guess) was what the first paragraph in my post was mostly about.

Although it is true that we do not have control over them, but they aren't exceptionally great influences on our personality. Someone how is mental challenged could easily have an optimistic personality, or a pessimistic personality, or a cheerful personality, or a serious personality, or a shy personality, or an outspoken personality. The fact they were mentally challenged did not really affect their personality.

Dragonblader1 wrote:I can't really say I agree with you here. The decisions you make depend on your personality and the opinions/thoughts of others. You can't decide what your personality is because you need your personality to make decisions. I can't just choose to become, for example, the kind of person who could physically injure others without regret or whatever just because that's what I 'want'. You can be tempted to pretend to be someone else on the outside by others and your opinions on yourself, but you can't really change your personality to be like theirs. I'm not sure I'm really that good at explaining this though.

You make a good point, it is a bit of an endless circle here. You decide your personality, but your personality is used to make decisions. So, your personality decides your personality and your decision makes your decisions :P. You could not quite decide to become that personality, but I would say we have a bit of influence on who we are. It is more like we can decide what directions to take; if I want to gradually become something else, I think it could be done. It would be a slow process for sure, but possible.
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