Google designed an interesting animation in July 2014 to celebrate the 96th Birthday of Nelson Mandela.

We find it both interesting, because it reflects the values we share, and dangerous, because it promotes biased conceptions of human nature which threaten and discredit these values. These beliefs about human nature have serious social consequences, but they are so deeply rooted in the moral foundations of our time, that these foundations seem now intimately linked to the good. So the arguments that could contradict these foundations look like doors leading to the evil. And questioning their validity seems immoral ...

 

 

1How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Disagree

 

This statement suggests that “man in the state of nature is virtuous” (naturally tolerant, wise...). This belief that began to spread in the 18th century through what is called the “Noble Savage” has been refuted by history and science...

 

2How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Disagree


Agree

 

 

Is intolerance a “perversion”, or the natural state? cf. Image 1

 

Yes, we can learn to be tolerant, to respect others, to understand them better ... but who teaches that?

• Religion? Does religion make people more tolerant, better?

• Socialism tried to educate people, to “make them better”, but without taking into account human nature ... The history of the last century reminds us of its violent failures.

Yes, having a better understanding of human nature —and accepting its limitations and imperfections— would allow us to educate tolerance, altruism and to build a better world.

 

3How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Agree

Well said!

4How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Disagree

Are educated people more respectful, honest, empathetic... ? Really?

And besides, this statement implies that human nature is not naturally, spontaneously, virtuous because it needs to be “educated” and therefore civilized, to become good. Isn’t there a contradiction between this statement and the one of the image 2: “love comes more naturally in the heart of man than its opposite”?

Tolerance and the acceptance of differences are not —in their concrete practical applications— intellectual concepts, but steps of personal development.

5How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Agree Well said!

6How can we identify a belief when it is entrenched everywhere and associated with the good ? Google is no exception

Disagree The idealization of a person, in particular for her political action is a naive and dangerous Manichaean practice. Idealization simplistically reduces human conflict to a “battle between the good and the evil forces”, us versus them. History reminds us of the dangers of these binary approaches of human conflict: who would deliberately start a crusade for the sake of injustice?