The world is split in two, the part filled with good people and the one filled with bad people. But what makes a bad person… bad?
The concept of good and bad is in itself a simplistic one. We are creatures that react more strongly to negative stimuli. Our attitudes are more heavily influenced by bad news than good news. The thing is that there are not good or bad people, just a different point of view.
Focusing on bad things
Our capacity to focus on bad things is a normal one. It evolved for a good reason — to keep us safe, to protect us from harm. Even from the beginning of human history, our own survival depended on how well we could avoid dangerous situations. It is no surprise that the brain developed a way to notice danger and respond to it. The part that understands the good is not as developed as the one that understands the bad. Because good things do not put us in danger, they don’t threaten our lives.
This is the main reason why we group people into two groups. The bad people are the ones that pose a greater threat to us, the good people are those that we can get along with. However, this is a very subjective way of seeing things. When our emotions are involved, we simply become biased towards one side or the other.
We might think that people that threaten others are bad, that those that are acting violently towards another living creature are evil. But are they?
Bad people vs Good people – it’s all about the perspective
Imagine the following scenario.
Mike is a 30 years old man living in a big city. Every morning he’s taking a walk in the central park, before going to work. One morning Mike attacks a man during his walk in the park and hurts him badly. Then he runs away without calling the police or without even looking back. He runs straight home, grabs his stuff, and runs back to the park to continue his aggression one more time. He feels entitled to do this and deep down within him there is a burning desire to hurt as much as possible that man in the park.
However, here is a similar scenario.
Mike is a 30 years old man living in a big city. Each morning he’s taking his baby girl for a walk in the central park, before going to work. He is a model citizen, always on time and always respectful towards people. One morning, during their morning walk, Mike is threatened by a man with a gun. That man points his gun towards his daughter and yells “Give me all your money or I shoot her down. Now!”. Mike tells him gently and calmly that he has no money with him, but the man is not impressed. He grabs the little girl and points the gun to Mike now, yelling that he’s going to kill them both. In a blink of an eye, Mike decides to act.
He grabs that man’s gun, frees his daughter, and then starts to beat the aggressor down. At some point, his daughter starts crying and she’s scared. Mike puts the gun in his pocket, grabs the baby girl, and runs home, calling for his wife. Once he gets home, he grabs his stuff and runs back to the park to deal with the aggressor. He feels the rage flowing through his veins, there is a burning desire to hurt that man that put his daughter’s life in danger.
Now only one question remains.
Is Mike one of the bad people?
Following the first scenario, he is a bad person. Do you agree? He has no problem hurting a poor man in the park. Then he goes back to hurt that man some more. What good man could possibly do that?
From the second scenario, he is a hero, a good person. However, the fact did not change so much. There is still a hurt man lying in the central park and an aggressor fleeing and coming back for more.
The thing is that there are no bad or good people, only different stories.
The secret is that nobody believes they are evil. Everybody believes that they are doing the right things, for good reasons. Even criminals have deep down a good reason that guides them.
Now it’s YOUR turn
- Are you a good or a bad person?
- Do you know a living person that’s always good and never bad?
Through this article series, we are helping you build a solid mindset. We are strong believers that once we can understand a subject, we can engage with the idea or refuse it altogether. Both ways are helping us grow and develop our own way of seeing the world.
In the end, everything starts with us, with our mind, our self, and even our stories. Choose to act now on Studylia.