Human nature (人性) is a subject that was often debated within Confucianism for over the past 2000 years. It is an important subject within Confucianism that was greatly studied. It is to be noted that during the warring states period, a great amount of people had the view that “human nature is partially good and partially evil”, and no-one, until Mencius, commented that human nature is good.
The foremost theories of human nature came from Pre-Qin confucian philosopher Mencius (孟子) who came up with the “good human-nature theory 性善论” during the warring states period. About 40 years later, another Confucian philosopher, Xunzi (荀子), criticised Menciu’s theory and argued that “human nature is inherently evil”, with his “evil human-nature theory 性恶论 “.
Is a human nature good or evil?
I don’t know, I am not a social scientist or a philosopher, but being a human and learning from my first hand experience, I would say that humans have a lot of humanity within. We could make this journey of life a beautiful adventure. However we have lost our way.
Looking back to our history, how much remorse did we have when killing each other for power, land, earthly possessions or even for fun. The ruthless taking of life is the ultimate disconnection from humanity. But at the time of Mo zi or Xun zi, killing people could be seen as a heroic thing. Massacre happened across the world in ancient times. But people didn’t quite see it as an evil but an demonstration of strength.
Back to the modern age we are living in now, our interpretations of good and evil must be different from those thousands of years ago. But I believe we have the same amount of humanity inside. However, we have developed the speed and technology, but we have shut ourselves in; we have done what we believe is good to the Mother Nature, but we got punished by her because she “thinks” what we have done is evil.
Human nature is being humane. So anything inhuman is evil. As long as we still have humanity within ourselves, human race will continue, whether it is good or bad in nature, I should say not being able to answer this question is the meaning of this question after all.