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Human nature - Essay Example

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Human nature

I take the position that cruelty is a unique human trait since, as its definition suggests, it involves deliberate infliction of pain and suffering on others and deriving pleasure from it. Empirically, human beings have a unique ability to attribute suffering or pain to other creatures. This was not the case with the subjects in the Milgram’s experiment; in fact Stanley Milgram in one of his quotes declared that how a man acts is much more determined by the situation he finds himself in and not much in his nature or the kind of a person he is. The subjects in the experiment acted as they did; they were willing to deliver to deliver the maximum shock, which they did. Despite the fact that they did deliver the maximum shock, they were, however, angry, distraught, and agitated at the experimenter. They delivered the maximum shock anyway because they were following order, which they did to the end. This shows that the subjects acted as they did; they performed seemingly sadistic and overly cruel acts; not because it was their nature-who they were-, but because they were obey the instruction of the authority. Similarly, in Kitty Genovese case, none of the 38 witnessed helped Kitty Genovese despite his numerous cry for help, not because they did not want to help her or because they were cruel, but because of the situation that they found themselves in (Gansberg). This is explained by the experiment carried out by John Darley and Bibb Latane, who sought to explain the behavior of the 38 people who witnessed the brutality and murder of Kitty Genovese. Darley and Latane argued that the 38 witnesses behaved the way they did because of the effect referred to as diffusion of responsibility. Diffusion of responsibility states that no one is willing to help because they are all thinking that someone else will help. Darley and Latane found out that the more the witnessed were, the more helping behavior decreased; the less every person felt that it was their responsibility to help (Slater 112). This thus disputes the notion that no one helped Kitty Genovese because cruelty is part of human nature, and the 38 witnesses were cruel. Cruelty in itself is subjective; what others may consider cruel, other people may consider not cruel but a more logical choice. As its definition suggests, cruelty is a feeling that cannot be defined without being idiosyncratic. This is because the range of human feeling greatly differs; others may be insensitive while others may be sensitive. Despite cruelty being considered part of human nature, the logic is somewhat flawed since it is tied to human emotions, while it is to some extent objective. Cruelty is not unnatural, either; this is because, more often than not human beings are cruel to other people that they do not like or they loathe. In fact, most people act cruel as a way of revenging or taking back; something that is purely human nature. It is argued that when a human being’s life it threatened, he can only survive by being cruel; the enemy in that case might not try or be able to hurt them. Thus, I take the stand that, even though ...Show more

Summary

Name: Instructor: Course: Date: Is it Human Nature to be Cruel to other? According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, being cruel to others is defined by having pleasure at other people’s suffering, or simply put, enjoying other people’s suffering. There are people who believe that cruelty or being cruel to others is part of human nature with most of them trying to explain their position by arguing that it is because on cruelty that subjects in the Stanley Milgram’s experiment acted as they did, and why none of the 38 people who witnessed and heard Kitty Genovese call for help did not respond to help or even call the police…
Author : pconnelly
Human nature essay example
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