As with all the other Truths About Everything, truly understanding the implications of this one changes things significantly. The idea of "original sin" is a novelty concept of the Catholic Church, an organization that also specializes in sinning, though not very originally or coincidentally. It usually follows that the more you seek to suppress something, the more driven you are to act out the very thing you are suppressing. Of course, the belief in some kind of inherent "sinfulness" in human nature is certainly not limited to Catholics.
Even psychology-minded critics of religion like Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, believed that human beings were "bad" by nature, that is born with inclinations to be aggressive, competitive and selfish, and that these tendencies would plague us all of our lives. In his book, "Civilization and its Discontents," Freud lays out what he believed to be the unavoidable conflict between our primitive desires and impulses, and the need to behave in a socially conscious and cooperative way for the good of society, a conflict which ultimately leaves us... well... discontented.
The truth is, however, that the Church and Freud are wrong. There I said it. Blasphemy, eh? Okay, so let me qualify a little...
It is true that human children are basically savages for the first 5 years of their little lives. By civilized standards, little kids are greedy, sadistic, violent, narcissistic, impulse ridden, ruthless, and pretty much incapable of true empathy. It isn't until around age 6 or 7, when most children start desiring to have a pet to care for, that kids begin developing some small amount of empathy. However, because little children are... well... little, they can't do a great deal of harm to society, so they are given a fair amount of leeway by adults going about the business of socializing and civilizing the little Neanderthals.
Furthermore, it is certainly true that adult human beings as a whole have a history of violence and destructive acting out on a massive scale. No other species so wantonly attacks and kills their own like we do. And we don't just kill when we feel our survival is threatened. We kill out of pride, lust, envy, over differences in philosophies, spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation and skin color. Whew!
So, didn't I just validate the Church and Freud? Human beings from the get-go seem to be pretty... bad! Yes. But... no. You see, we've have made things a lot worse by believing in our own badness, by even developing such a concept.
Linear human evolution, as we think of it, began at a very animalistic level, yes, where violence, as such, was for survival purposes as it is with most animals in nature in this particular line of reality. However, homo sapiens became capable of developing intellects and egos, which allowed us to reflect on our behavior, a potentially positive things, but along with the capacity for reflection came capacities for judgment, shame and guilt (specialties of the Church, btw), and along with judgment, shame and guilt came emotional and psychological disturbances and distortions, which caused our personal and social evolution to become somewhat derailed.
Here's famed psychoanalyst, Karen Horney:
"Inherent in man are evolutionary constructive forces, which urge him to realize his given potentialities, that man by his very nature and of his own accord, strives toward self-realization, and that his values evolve from such striving. With such a belief in an autonomous striving toward self-realization, we do not need an inner straight jacket with which to shackle our spontaneity, nor the whip of inner dictates to drive us to perfection. There is no doubt that such disciplinary methods can succeed in suppressing undesirable factors, but there is also no doubt that they are injurious to our growth. We do not need them because we see a better possibility of dealing with destructive forces in ourselves: that of actually outgrowing them. The way toward this goal is an ever increasing awareness and understanding of ourselves. Self-knowledge, then, is not an aim in itself, but a means of liberating the forces of spontaneous growth. In this sense, to work at ourselves becomes not only the prime moral obligation, but at the same time, in a very real sense, the prime moral privilege."
If you're a reader of the FPL blog, you probably seen that quote before because it's one of my favorites. What Horney is saying here is that if the "whip of inner dictates" - i.e. - judgment, shame and guilt - were not in play in our psyches, we would naturally outgrow our primitive impulses. Again, it is our belief in our own badness that causes us to act badly. In other words, our actual original sin is believing in original sin.
Here's a quote from the home page of Full Permission Living:
"Full Permission Living is the based on the understanding that human beings are, by first nature, sane, loving, cooperative, creative, humorous, intelligent, productive and naturally self-regulating. Full Permission Living rests on the foundation of truth that all people are entitled to live pleasure-filled, spontaneous, lives without guilt, shame or oppressive inner rules and prohibitions. Indeed, we are meant to live with full inner permission to follow our natural inner guidance and our inborn pleasure instinct to seek out gratification in all of our actions and endeavors, and that such a way of living always benefits those around us and those that we love."
That last line is important, folks. Contrary to common (erroneous) beliefs, truly living a life of self-centeredness - i.e. - centered in your true self - will always benefit the people in your life energetically as well. That's the harmony of the way higher consciousness works. The belief in competitiveness and scarcity is exactly that - a belief, an idea, perhaps an experiment or game that we have been playing that we are now beginning in earnest to outgrow.
Hey, we've had some great wars, haven't we? Some spectacular thefts, scandalous cheating, innovative brutality, really taken it to the edge, right? It was stimulating for sure, but if you're ready for the next level of excitement - peace, harmony, bliss, expansive creativity without competition, deep love, Eros and sex, vibrant health and abundance... then keep in mind what Karen Horney's "prime moral privilege" is - to work on yourself - and have a blast!