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Are people good or bad?

There is lots of meanness and evil in the world, but also lots of kindness and positive emotion.

I believe everyone has good and bad in them. Even serial killers can do kind things, and the average person can be very cruel at times. It’s how emotional beings like humans operate. If we were robots, then we wouldn’t have up and down feelings. Or any emotions at all, come to that. But we humans are extremely emotional, so we do have lots of aspects to our sophisticated personalities.

If we have negative experiences in life, then we in turn tend to become angry and then take revenge in future. The bullied become the bullies. The hurt frequently turn their injured feelings into aggression against others. It’s a bit of a revolving door situation. Negative emotion just keeps going round and round in the world. We all need to do our part to change this, and introduce much more positive emotion into the mix.

But on the whole, are people generally good or bad? That’s the question here. Well, I would argue that love always trumps hate. So I would say there is more love around than there is hatred. Being kind and happy just makes you feel good, at the end of the day, so most of us will choose that path. Anger and unkindness may give you instant gratification and make you feel good in the moment, but that’s not the way to real, genuine happiness.

Even though there is lots of unkindness around, I believe that most of us do far more good in the world than bad, throughout our lifetimes.

Having said that, one evil act is more powerful and remains in the memory longer than a lifetime of goodness, and there are millions of these acts being committed all the time. People mostly do these things for various reasons: out of anger, to make them feel good, or for personal gain. And these negative actions can obviously have a terrible effect on other people.

People are often very unkind to others, without even thinking about the consequences of their actions. I have an odour disorder, trimethylamunuria, so I’ve been subjected to a lot of unkindness in my life: a sniff here, a cough there, or an unguarded comment…. Probably seems like nothing to them, but to me it can ruin my whole day or week.

There are millions of unkind acts being committed every second somewhere.

However, to sum up, I would say that there is generally more good in the world than bad, but that the evil actions have such a massive effect that we remember those much more than we do the many acts of kindness.

Let’s all do our part to increase the amount kindness around, and do what we can to promote this in humanity.
I also have a blog, at Please stop by, if you can, and subscribe to my site to get information about social anxiety and mental health in general. Many thanks! John

Are people good or bad?

John Hammond

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APA Reference
Hammond, J. (2016). Are people good or bad?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 29 Nov 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Nov 2016
Published on All rights reserved.