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Does the bad always creep back up?

Discuss the June 2014 book of the month Divergent by Veronica Roth. While only Divergent--the first book of the series--is the book of the month, feel free to use this subforum to discuss the rest of the series or to talk about the movies, but make sure not to post spoilers unless noted in the topic title.

Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#1 by Scott
» 03 Jun 2014, 19:07

The following discussion question was included in some copies of the June book of the month, Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Tris’s mom says, “Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again” (p. 441). Do you agree or disagree? Why?
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#2 by Katherine E Wall
» 03 Jun 2014, 20:26

Wow. That is really something to think about. I am not sure I agree with this. Not human beings as a whole, at least. I think we often see the negatives more clearly than the positives, and, honestly, media for several decades can be part of the problem here. When we watch the news, we are inundated by negative news reports, but how many of us actually participate in murder, robberies, or fraud?

Surely, the people who do their best to live life with integrity outnumber those who prey on others.

I have to believe that at least.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#3 by sammi8764
» 03 Jun 2014, 21:24

I actually kind of think this is true. "Bad" doesn't just means murder or stealing and whatnot. It means judging people, it means lying, it means greed, it means selfishness. And everyone does something "bad" every day. No one can be perfectly good all the time. A person can live a good life, but there's always something else. Maybe they lied to get out of trouble. Maybe they cheated on a test because they didn't study. Maybe they got jealous of someone's designer shoes. No one lives a perfect life. You can be a good person, but there will always be something that keeps you from being perfect. People can be extremely nice , but lying and giving in to personal desires is just as bad as murder, in the fact that it is still wrong. A person can only be so good, until something comes and darkens it a little.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#4 by Katherine E Wall
» 03 Jun 2014, 21:52

sammi8764 wrote:I actually kind of think this is true. "Bad" doesn't just means murder or stealing and whatnot. It means judging people, it means lying, it means greed, it means selfishness. And everyone does something "bad" every day. No one can be perfectly good all the time. A person can live a good life, but there's always something else. Maybe they lied to get out of trouble. Maybe they cheated on a test because they didn't study. Maybe they got jealous of someone's designer shoes. No one lives a perfect life. You can be a good person, but there will always be something that keeps you from being perfect. People can be extremely nice , but lying and giving in to personal desires is just as bad as murder, in the fact that it is still wrong. A person can only be so good, until something comes and darkens it a little.


Fair enough, but I think that it "poisons" is a bit strong. I still think that most people are doing the best they can, with the resources available to them, at any given time. Sometimes the best we can is not great, but if it is all we can do at the moment, then it is still trying to live a good life.

I think if we buy into the idea, that bad will poison even our best attempts, then it would be too easy to say, what is the use, and we will stop growing. We can reach for perfection, even if we will never achieve it, or perhaps, because we will never achieve it.
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That's right, I have a muse. It is spelled MusE. My writing is influenced by the interactions of people I meet - us and ME.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#5 by autumnmarie
» 04 Jun 2014, 11:22

I feel like we live in a naturally corruptible world and if history has proven anything it is that morally incorrect tendencies are much easier to abide by than those morally permissible. Yet, I don't feel like it means that humans are in anyway born with tendencies to do more good than bad or vice versa. We are a product of our world-- of greed and unattainable wealth and power and with powerful media tactics and new age toys it can be hard to strive away from cruelty and envy and choose an upstanding life. Leading to this: Do all good intentions somehow get plagued by the bad? Yes and no. I think it really depends on how you look at it. Say you're an older male student and you decide to help a younger female student study for a final in a completely innocent way and she passes with flying colors. Now, you know personally that your intentions were good but there may be those who felt it inappropriate due to the age difference-- feeling like you took advantage of her because you had the upperhand. What it comes down to is perception. You may be someone who sees the situation and feels that one student was helping another in need OR you may be someone who feels that surely something shady was happening. I feel like this can be applied to a lot of different situations when thinking about what is good or bad. Of course unalienable evils like rape and murder may have a case but lying and stealing or maybe something downgraded like punishing a child or skipping work can all be a matter of perception and more importantly culture. Personally I try to see the good in all people and try to as a fellow human being understand the thinking behind people's actions. Being someone who travelled oversees to speak with Peruvian families inflicted by earthquakes and then underpriveled inner city kids I have learned that in this world cultures hold very different perceptions of what is considered good or bad or right or wrong and it is important to be gentle when it comes to judging others for their actions.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#6 by toriborip
» 04 Jun 2014, 13:43

I agree. No matter who we are or what we do we have a desire to sin... Dangit Adam and Eve!
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#7 by Alexsandra
» 04 Jun 2014, 18:24

Please do not be offended by this, This is just my view as a Christian woman. I believe Abdignation was Christian's because they said prayer's at the supper table before they ate. I believe what Tris's Mother was referring to was the being born with original sin. Human's can't help but do bad from time to time no matter how hard we try to do good or be good it always comes back around to having been born with original sin. We have to be aware of it and ask our Lord for forgiveness and the fortitude to turn from it, learn from it and do good again.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#8 by anomalocaris
» 04 Jun 2014, 19:08

Humans are still mammals and hominids. We have the same biology and instincts as other mammals. We squabble over breeding rights, territory and resources, just like other mammals. Some people are better at not acting on these instincts than others, but we all have them, and we'll act on them under the right circumstances.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#9 by gali
» 04 Jun 2014, 23:06

Sadly, I have to agree. I think that human nature will always contain some bad tendencies and it is up to us to overcome it.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#10 by LittleWilma
» 05 Jun 2014, 07:09

As a Christian, I believe that we all have a sin nature and that will always cause the bad to creep in. You will always have people who crave power and will stop at nothing to get it.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#11 by CrescentMoon
» 05 Jun 2014, 18:33

I think this quote is really interesting and I actually do agree with this statement. It reminds me a lot of the book East of Eden. East of Eden explored several themes, the main one being that human beings do have a tendency to do bad and evil things, but ultimately we have a choice in wether or not we are bad or good. I don't believe that evil and corruption can ever be fully eradicated, but I do believe that human beings are in control of their actions and can choose to be good.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#12 by Paliden
» 06 Jun 2014, 08:34

I do agree with this statement. No matter how much we change, the bad things in each of us do continually crop up. That being said, it is a constant growing and learning to be better that makes us "good" as a whole (not spiritually speaking, just in general).
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#13 by Norma_Rudolph
» 06 Jun 2014, 12:03

There has to be opposition in all things, this is how we learn the difference between bad and good. The greater the evil overcome, the stronger the hero who overcomes it.
In life it means that the worst things always accompany the best. For every wonderful invention that brings good into out lives for example, there will be someone who turns it to be a force for evil, just look at the internet, it's an unlimited source of knowledge, and yet it is up to people how they use that knowledge. Will it be good, or will it be evil?
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#14 by that_bek_girl
» 07 Jun 2014, 12:55

Sadly, I agree. I don't think that people intend to be evil, or have evil tendencies, but we are and we do. I feel like it's a daily struggle to do the right thing all the time.
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Re: Does the bad always creep back up?

Post Number:#15 by GKCfan
» 08 Jun 2014, 00:22

This reflects a religious view of original sin– people are always susceptible to wrongdoing, which is why being a "good" person isn't just a simple state of being, it's a status that one has to continually strive to achieve.
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