Kindness-Supporting Beliefs and Meanness-Supporting Beliefs
Kindness and meanness is a matter of both choice and genetics, but with choice playing a larger part over the long run. Some people are naturally more mean and others are naturally more kind. At the same time, any given person can be kind and mean at different points in their lives. And populations can also go between kindness and meanness depending upon their attitudes.
There would not have been more naturally mean people per unit of population in 1930s and 1940s Germany than at any other place and time. However the Nazi ideology taught people to be exceptionally mean, resulting in even people who were by nature kinder-predisposed behaving in cruel ways. Likewise there would not have been more naturally kind people per unit of population in America of 1960s and 1970s than at any other time. However the liberal beliefs that the people had at the time taught people to be kind, resulting in far more kindness manifesting than at most times in history.
Among individuals, exposure to kindness-supporting beliefs teaches people to be kind, and exposure to cruelty-supporting beliefs teaching people to be cruel. The same people would behave differently depending upon which beliefs they hold. There are naturally or habitually mean people who become kind when they are convinced of the validity of kindness-supporting beliefs. There are also naturally kind people who become nasty when they are exposed to toxic attitudes. A woman who practices romanticism or liberal Christian humanism would be kind; a woman who practices malignant feminism would be mean. This is the case for women regardless of their genetic predisposition to meanness or to kindness.
With populations we see similar results. There have been populations that at different times in their history were - hard-working or lazy; wealthy or poor; peaceful or warlike; tolerant or intolerant. These are a direct function of the beliefs that they had at the time. Afghanistan under Islam is a much different place than was Afghanistan under Buddhism. Today's Netherlands differs vastly from the Netherlands of the Victorian era.
Does this exclude genetics as a factor? Absolutely not. Most of the world's greatest sprinters are descended from a single tribe in East Africa. Nigerians and Lebanese made excellent businessmen and marketeers even when their countries were in a horrible shape. The Iranian women are sexy and fashionable even though their country is run by an Islamic dictatorship that forbids things of this sort. Genetics have a large factor in both individuals and populations; choice however is a greater factor still.
From this consideration it follows that encouraging kindness-supporting beliefs as opposed to meanness-supporting beliefs would be vastly beneficial for humanity. Beliefs determine a vast chunk of people's actions, and people's actions determine reality of the world to a still greater extent. While in no way a sole solution, kindness-supporting beliefs would go a long way to improving the world and people's existence. And it would also improve the people who exist in the world.