The foundations of flourishing
Are humans innately good and compassionate (Rousseau, 1783/1979) or are they nasty and brutish (Hobbes, 1651/2009). This question has troubled philosophers for centuries, and when we look at the history of humankind, there is no simple answer. You can find great acts of love and kindness in our past, but also intense hatred and cruelty. We had the renaissance, but we also had the dark ages. We invented penicillin but we also invented nerve gas. We built churches, cathedrals, and hospitals, but we also built atom bombs and concentration camps. For every historical figure who has struggled for equality and compassion (Martin Luther King), we can find one who has fought equolly hard for discrimination and cruelty (Adolf Hitler). Humans are capable of anything.