Re: virus: The other

Marie Foster (
Wed, 12 Nov 1997 09:45:03 -0800

William Roh wrote:
> Marie L. Foster wrote:
> >
> > snip

> > I share your concerns about the motivation of others. Yet I would prefer
> > to live in a world without this kind of fear. While I know that is not
> > realistic in our current world with its violence I still believe in the
> > inherent goodness of people.
> Here is where we differ, i do not think humans or humanity have goodness
> as a natural trait, but a forced one. I see humans as an animal
> interested first in self preservation and fullfilment of wants and
> desire (with the obvious coding to protect young) i do not think most
> people are past this point and most human action is simply complicated
> versions of selfishness. I would prefer to live in a less violent world
> also, but i don't see how.

This needs further explanation on my part. I erred when I said that
people are fundamentally good. You are correct, people come without
goodness or badness but have adapted these ideas to promote survival.
However, where we might differ is that I believe this to be a
rationalization. It is the lack of empathy, and compassion that must be
corrected. Theism or Atheism has very little effect here. You can
reason that if there is no god then it is OK to steal or assault.
Prison seems to be a very good place for evangelism... On the other
hand, a belief in a judgmental god can also promote violence in the
focus on the life after death rather than seeing heaven here on earth.

I also believe that this concept of 'other' is what leads some to see
victimization as a valid survival mechanism. Surely if they believed
that they are the person they are violating this could go a long way to
eliminating violent behavior.

I personally do not care if you believe in god or not as long as you
allow that I am on the same path to a better understanding of our
relationship to one another. Does my faith in my version of god
threaten you or your autonomy? You are me after all...