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Even St. Augustine, after noticing two babies taking each other's mother's breast, sadly concluded that people from an early age show the depravity of their soul (and as a result of the body).
We are all descended from Adam and all inherit corruption and death, the sinful corruption of human nature. Therefore, for Christianity, the depravity of all people, regardless of age, is not new. Moreover, it can even be said that the devil resides in the heart of every unbaptized infant.
In this regard, in the sacrament of Baptism, the priest reads prayers over the catechumens that exorcise spirits, in fact, an exorcism occurs. This is how the Breviary describes it:
“And the priest blows on his mouth, on his brow, and on his nose, saying, Cast out of him every evil and unclean spirit that is hidden and dwells in his heart…
The spirit of deceit, the spirit of deceit, the spirit of idolatry and all covetousness: the spirit of falsehood and all uncleanness, acting according to the teaching of the devil.”
Another question is that if the devil is cast out of the heart, then there is no place for evil to come from? Unfortunately, Satan does not disappear, but appears as if external to our spirit and, in the words of the holy Fathers, “throws fiery arrows”, so that although a person gains freedom from the devil, he is forced to fight for it all his life in thoughts, words and deeds.
Thus, Orthodox Christianity has no illusions about children (and does not portray them as angels). Well, the question of the origin of evil requires a big answer, which, it seems, is already available on zekweshen.
Jewish approach:”…the thought of a man's heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8: 21). That is, children are born with two opposing principles, good and bad. And until the age of majority – in the Jewish tradition we are talking about the 13th anniversary-the child can not consciously resist a bad beginning, it dominates his actions.
Strange question. It depends on what age category we are talking about. Newborns and children under the age of 2-3 do not have fully formed ideas about the world as a whole. And then it depends on what environment and by whom you were brought up, what relationships you had with your classmates, children from the yard, what cartoons you watched, what books you read. The formation of concepts about good and evil depends on the surrounding factors, things, people, environment and on the correctness of the explanation. Some people have completely wrong ideas about what is good and what is bad. Given the sensitivity and good childhood memory of many children, they remember it. And if the parent does not try to correct the meaning of good or evil in early childhood, the child will find out for himself or, in the worst case, will be left with a not quite correct concept of good and evil.
A child is born with a certain set of character traits that they are not yet able to manage. In pedagogy, there is a term “soft clay”, which can be correlated with the very qualities of the character of a newborn child – they can be molded into anything. The only question is how to sculpt and what to sculpt, in fact. We all come from a certain society, and first of all-from the family. Everything that happens there will always be reflected in the child sooner or later. All his further actions in life (good deeds or bad, that is, the very “evil”) this is the result of his upbringing. In one of the answers to this question, it was written that children are not all born kind, look at how many of them torture animals, etc. My answer is that the child only absorbs what is given to him like a sponge. What kind of upbringing will be laid down in him, such a “good” or” evil ” person he will enter society. Yes, and the understanding of” good “and” evil ” is different for everyone, again, laid down in us at some time by our parents or the environment. The output is as follows: what you bring up, you get.
I'm sorry, they are “kind” only because they lack the strength that makes their actions, guided by, say, curiosity and impulses, turn into a terrible evil. The task of adults is to have time to create “internal brakes” in children that will restrain these impulses (when the children grow up).
I will give a figurative example from a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel.
Two main characters (one is a typical Arnold at his best) are walking through a rocky desert. They go very carefully, because they know that semi-intelligent giant monkeys live here.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, two cubs of these monkeys jump out-a growth of two meters under two. They corner the travelers and begin to play with them – so far without malice -. Poking your fingers, fiddling with your clothes. Travelers try-with a smile, with jokes, jokes – to get rid of the” kids ” and go further. But the kids don't let go, the kids start to get angry, the kids behave more aggressively and obsessively. And then, following some internal impulse, our “Arnold” strikes two deadly blows and kills the cubs outright.
After that, the children, no longer hiding, run away from this place, praying that their parents will not find their “babies” too soon.
At the same time, at first “Arnold” is gnawed by conscience-HE KILLED THE CHILDREN. But then he remembers how people's small children are happy to break their toys – not out of anger, but out of curiosity and excessive activity. He realizes that this was the only way for him to save his life. It's not the monkey kids ' fault. They simply saw him as a toy and could treat him as a “nasty toy”at any time. But it wasn't his fault either. After all, he also has the right to live. And he didn't start it first. And he did what he could to settle the matter peacefully.
children are not able to distinguish between “good and evil” until they know death. And they learn about death only when they master the language, i.e. by 4-5 years. Again, morality is a social issue, not a personal one, because “a person is a social being”, and he cannot exist without society. So what leads society to survival is good, and what destroys society is evil. And as a result, societies that are not able to build the morale of their members adequate to survival perish.
It's not clear why people suddenly think of children as pure angels. They probably believe that bad people are “made” by bad society and bad companies. Yeah, right now. A person is fully formed already in the mother's womb, genes lay everything: from the shape of the ears to mental reactions, because when a child is born, he is not a blank sheet, but a formed personality, just so far small. As the personality grows and develops, it begins to manifest and reveal itself in the outside world. And society… society, of course, makes adjustments, but not such as to correct the inherent nature..
So not all children are angels, there's a hell of a lot of stuff out there.
As an answer to this question, I would suggest considering a combination of Immanuel Kant's and Hannah Arendt's ideas about evil. Evil as a phenomenon of the human world (although we can also talk about natural evil, when a tree falls on your car during a storm or dinosaurs die from a falling meteorite) appears when a person ceases to see another person as a person, when selfish motives begin to dominate in determining the direction of our actions, when in another they see only a means and the appearance of evil is primarily due to the lack of mental effort, during which in the other it turns out to see something more than just an object. This paralysis of thinking, as Arendt argues, is frighteningly common. And its consequence is an underestimation of the importance of the other and a blunting of empathy.
In this sense, the behavior of a child who is initially good and kind, but then suddenly turns into bad and evil, can be explained precisely by the fact that entering into the first social contacts, he unknowingly dehumanizes other people — beats and bites parents, fights with peers. He can do this intentionally, but only with the passage of time, with the acquisition of the habit of thinking about others, he becomes capable of a humane, kind attitude towards another person.
There is no evil and no good. There is selfishness and altruism. By default, each creature is selfish and pursues its own personal interests. A lone tiger is not evil, it wants to eat, so it kills. The virus is not evil, its task is no different from a human one – to multiply its own genes. The parasite is not evil, it can kill the host for its own life, this is normal. Billions of beings live without altruism.
When there is a minimal community , altruism occurs. As an inevitable result of a contract or cooperation. In humans, it is so developed that it is “stitched in the subcortex”. It seems to us that an evil person is an egoist. A person who takes for himself, regardless of others. I.e. “evil” appears with the presence of other beings and the intersection of interests.
The magnificent book ” Aggression: the so-called evil ” perfectly puts everything on the shelves. Aggression is also possible to protect your territory, offspring, and fight for a partner.
Therefore, the child is initially selfish. Children are initially cruel, they check the system for a fortress. And only by methodical education are they adjusted to the norms of society.
There is no absolute evil and good, even what can be evaluated according to the logic of “common sense” is only an element of the social contract. Everything that is good and pleasant for a person's self is good, the conflict “pleasant” for one individual and “pleasant” for society is an agreement and compromises, often what is “good” for society is evil for the individual. That is, good is evil even in obvious moments – this is a subjective assessment. When a person behaves “evil”, he believes that he is doing good: maybe for himself, maybe for the world. I decided for myself a long time ago that evil does not exist in principle, as a concept of conscious villainy. Maniacs, murderers are guided by some kind of their own principle of good and justice, not to mention the mentally ill, their logic does not always work.
And children in general are the most selfish creatures.
Everything is relative. Good and evil are not absolute. I don't remember who said it, but the phrase was: “Your freedom begins where mine ends.” You need to learn to understand the other. Not to accept, but to understand. I strongly doubt that there are just plain evil people, everything has its own reason.
It often happens that someone else's worldview is just across the throat, straight bombs. This is normal, but you need to understand that this does not mean that the opponent is wrong. The truth is also never absolute.