Thesis: the mind of man is depraved. But first, let’s define our terms. J What exactly is depravity? What do we mean when we use the phrase, “the mind of man”? Perhaps, a better wording would be “the human mind” or “the mind of a human.” Regardless, before we can make any progress, we should answer these basic questions.
First: what is “the human mind”? Initially we should make a distinction between an animal’s mind and a human’s mind. A zoologist might object at this point. But it is common knowledge that an ape cannot speak English nor learn algebra nor utilize html. If I were to address an ape, however, he/she would surprise my by at least giving a tacit response unlike, for example, what my roommate might do, for he displays the traits of a simpleton. He is effectually stupider than your average baboon. But, his case, of course, is the exception rather than the rule – that humans are superior to the average animal, be it an ape or aardvark.
A classic definition of the mind: “The intellectual or rational faculty in man; the understanding; the intellect; the power that conceives, judges, or reasons; also, the entire spiritual nature; the soul; — often in distinction from the body” (http://www.brainyquote.com/words/mi/mind190241.html).
Another definition of the word, mind, is as follows: “That which thinks, reasons, perceives, wills, and feels. The mind now appears in no way separate from the brain. In neuroscience, there is no duality. . .” (http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25284 ).
Descartes states: “Cogito ergo sum.” In English: I think, therefore I am. Descartes’ statement has become the rationalist’s mantra. In short, he teaches me that Reason is the foundational metaphysical reality. Because I am a thinking man, I am rational. Because I meditate, I am a man. Because I mull over things, I am human. Because I reflect, I am real. Because I deliberate, I am defined. Because I am defined means that my existence makes sense. And maybe for some, because I make sense then, others may understand me. Consequently, a world of rhetoric is not necessarily a world of bull-shit. Not that bull-shit is so bad; one may use it for fertilizer. J
What is depravity? The definition from The Free Dictionary: “the state or an instance of moral corruption.” A helpful legal definition: “Depravity of mind refers to the state of mind which is contrary to justice, honesty or morality. Depravity of mind is a condition where there is a deviation or departure from the ordinary standards of honest, good morals, justice, or ethics as to be shocking to the moral sense of the society. Depravity of mind can also be described as an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private and social duties which a person owes to another, or to a community” (http://definitions.uslegal.com/d/depravity-of-mind/ ). Nikolaus Karl Günther Nakszyński, a German actor who died in 1991, remarks, ““One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real” (http://en.thinkexist.com/). So much for depravity, its existence appears to be self-evident, even for the stupidest simpleton.
Suffice it to say that our thesis seems solid, at least for the moment. Are there any takers? Responses, rejoinders, retorts, reactions, replies, etc. would be appreciated.