We have seen that Mencius’s social theory relied on the “germs” of virtue humans were bound to cultivate to realize what lay dormant in their nature. Xunzi, perhaps impressed by the pessimistic temper of his time, feels unable to accept this somewhat benign vision of natural virtues. Humans, he argues, are born with a desire for profit and with feelings of envy and hate. If these are not reined in, all sense of courtesy, humility, loyalty, and good faith will disappear, and unceasing strife and conflict will ensue. Human nature, Xunzi concludes, is evil, while “goodness is the result of conscious activity.” Virtue and social order, he goes on to observe, are artificial and not natural; they have to be created by human efforts. Nature is what we are born with, while the path of rites and righteousness must be learned. At times, he comes close to saying that morality is a human invention.