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->'''Lucifer:''' They are broken, flawed abortions!\\
'''Gabriel:''' Damn right, they're flawed! But a lot of them try... to do better... to forgive.
-->-- ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''

[[BeingHumanSucks Humans suck]]. Their narcissism knows no bounds, their moral sense is hazy at best, their physical prowess is a joke, they're all paradoxically [[HumansAreMorons too stupid]] to handle [[TooCleverByHalf their vast intelligence]], and to top it all off, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking they]] [[HumansAreUgly don't look]] [[HumansAreSmelly or smell]] [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking too good, either]].

This gets worse if there are [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman other races]] or [[WhatMeasureIsANonSuper super powered people]] in the setting, compared to them we ''[[FantasticRacism really]]'' suck, and there's [[CantArgueWithElves no arguing about it]]. Except...being flawed isn't necessarily a bad thing. To be human is to be flawed, limited, and finite; but to be a ''good'' human is to nonetheless struggle through and work against or despite these limitations. That we [[WeAreAsMayflies live short lives]] and die [[TimeDissonance gives the time in our lives meaning]] and [[CreativeSterility fuel for art, science and creativity]]. That we lack vast magical and psychic powers is countered because we can harness ThePowerOfLove, [[ThePowerOfFriendship Friendship]], [[ThePowerOfTrust and all those]] [[ThePowerOfRock lovely pink emotions]].

So what if [[RousseauWasRight Rousseau]] isn't right and [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters people are fundamentally mean, nasty and brutish?]] What merit is there in being good if you [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill can't choose to do otherwise?]] Despite the inherent moral flaws of humanity, enough people are putting the effort into being [[NiceGuy nice]] and [[TheHeart kind]] that it [[EarnYourHappyEnding does make a difference]]. Even if BeingGoodSucks, humanity as a whole realizes deep down that BeingEvilSucks more.

This is a typical fantasy/sci-fi {{aesop}} that gets referenced in other genres. Essentially, the aesop is we are CursedWithAwesome. If the story has a FantasticAesop against [[FlowersForAlgernonSyndrome removing]] one of the above human flaws to [[{{Transhuman}} better]] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans mankind]], this trope is usually invoked as the [[ScaleOfScientificSins reason]] why [[ScienceIsBad it's wrong]].

The PatrickStewartSpeech usually has this as the core message. See also/compare HumansAreSpecial.

Compare/contrast HumansAreBastards, when humans beings in general are depicted as being inherently [[JerkAss Jerkasses]] to each other, and HobbesWasRight when humans play nicely with each other only because [[AppealToForce they are forced to do so]]. These human flaws may lead to other races considering that HumansAreTheRealMonsters.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'': During the Future Trunks Saga, this turns out to be the core of Zamasu's beliefs; he views mortals as AlwaysChaoticEvil since despite possessing the knowledge of the gods, they repeatedly go to war and keep making the same mistakes again and again. At first, he simply views this as making them not worth the gods' protection, but after a sparring match with Goku and discovering that mortals can grow powerful enough to challenge the gods, this spirals into a desire to [[FinalSolution wipe them all out]].
** Zamasu's master, Gowasu, agrees that mortals are flawed beings, but insists that they can learn and grow from their mistakes and that it's the Kais' duty to protect and nurture them, while also making it a point that [[GodIsFlawed the gods themselves are not infallible and must also learn from their mistakes]]; Zamasu [[EvilCannotComprehendGood vehemently disagrees]].
* ''[[Manga/FullmetalAlchemist Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood]]'' devotes a whole MindScrew of an episode to it in "[[WholeEpisodeFlashback Interlude Party]]". Human strength comes from the drive to overcome human weakness.
-->We will change. Because we can change, I know it. We may be weak, but we just have to be; if not, then we wouldnít have any reason to grow, to get strong. I know that it may seem futile to you, but itís not, because we are getting stronger with every step we take. You see Iím sure we can change! Because weíre weak, and because we die. We have to fight in order to live, and thatís what will make us strong.
** This seems to be the best way to sum up the philosophies of the main characters in [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist the 2003 anime version]]. They've all done things they aren't proud of, but seem to take a "humans are inherently flawed, but all we can do is the best we can" approach to their struggles.
* ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' is largely about this. [[AllLovingHero Tenma]] and Johan come to different conclusions from this premise.
* While ''Anime/SoundOfTheSky'' ends on a fairly ambiguous note, Rio's ending narration works toward this trope.
-->'''Rio:''' Yeah...even if [[spoiler: the world is going to end someday]], until then, all that we have here with us is our future.
* This is discussed in ''Manga/BlackButler'', by Ciel and Sebastian [[spoiler: shortly after Ciel has ordered the murder of a large number of children.]] Ciel degrades humans for being weak and fundamentally evil and curses himself for being one, but Sebastian notes that it is this constant struggle and their lofty goals that makes them interesting.
* A central theme in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', and what inspires the villains to pursue their [[spoiler:AssimilationPlot]].
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is filled with flawed humans. One of the driving forces of the plot is when the characters don't think out their decisions and act on impulse.
* This is [[IronLady Scheherazade]]'s belief in ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'' to contrast Mogammet's HumansAreTheRealMonsters and WhatMeasureIsANonSuper. Scheherazade knows that humans's flaws can take them to make mistakes and lost their paths but if they're brave enough can learn of their errors to be better, even invent great things that can be equal to magic.
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' really blurs the line between this and HumansAreBastards. On one hand, immorality, debauchery, violence, and corruption are a common occurence, to the point where humans are easily capable of transforming into hideous demons by sacrificing those they care for the most (and nearly all have taken the [[DealWithTheDevil deal]] when it was offered). However, there are points where one can also see the goodness of humanity at work.
** A good example is [[AntiHero Guts]] himself. Early chapters painted him as a very dark and cynical character who is driven by [[UnstoppableRage anger]] and {{Revenge}}. However, CharacterDevelopment has instill in him a strong desire to protect those he cares about, and he's proven time and again that he will never abandon or betray them. Despite everything the guy has gone through, he's still able to find reason to trust those close to him.
* A major theme of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', exploring how humanity deals with extreme circumstances like famine, land shortages, floods of refugees, and of course giant monsters that want to eat them.
* Even though ''LightNovel/BlackBullet'' highlights the HumansAreBastards trope a lot, [[TheHero Rentaro]] [[BigBrotherInstinct Satomi]] and [[NiceGirl Enju]] [[AllLovingHero Aihara]] holds this viewpoint in regards to humanity. They both acknowledge that humanity has done ''very'' horrible things towards [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer cursed children]], but they still hold faith on humanity believing that there is a good side of being human and hoping society will accept cursed children as humans, which is why the continue fighting against the Gastrea.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'' has this final viewpoint on humanity. While the show doesn't shy away from how vicious and cruel humanity can be, [[spoiler:the BigBad was revealed to ultimately be someone that [[ForHappiness desired for everyone to be happy]] until he was driven insane try to listen to the general public's sadism and bloodlust.]] In the end the shows that nearly everyone can change for the better if someone is willing to show them the way.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Transmetropolitan}}''. A lot. Especially towards the end, where Spider constantly drops that, despite being a bastard and some sort of weird figure for the masses, he's still human like everyone else, along with all the great and the extra-evil that humanity does on a daily basis.
* This is one possible message of ''Comicbook/{{Watchmen}}'': Because humans are flawed, our heroes will be as well, and thus our longing for perfect messianic figures to 'save us' is naive.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Supergod}}'', Morrigan Lugus claims that the very concept of [[GodIsFlawed "God" is flawed]] because it was formed by "stupid monkeys" who need religion like junkies need their stash.
* ''ComicBook/CliveBarkersNextTestament'': After Wick launches the apocalypse, his two divine brothers Unan and Filt counter Wick's diatribe that HumansAreBastards by pointing out what that says about them as creators. Humans are necessarily flawed, because that is all the three of them managed to create.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/PerfectionIsOverrated'', a large part of the plot involves the characters of ''Anime/MaiHime'' dealing with their personal problems, with the point being that by being imperfect and having to struggle against their flaws and improve themselves, they are stronger people than the "perfect" [[ParodySue SUEs]], who remain complacent.
* The main reason SPEAR and its predecessors maintain the {{Masquerade}} in the ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'' fanfic ''FanFic/HeroesOfTheDesk''. It remains [[NoodleIncident unexplained]] precisely ''why'' TheWorldIsNotReady, but we get a CrypticBackgroundReference to the fall of the Roman Empire due to TheUnmasquedWorld.
* This is a central theme in the Yellowstone continuity of ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureau''. Before the start of the adventure, Celestia warns Twilight Sparkle that humans are savage creatures. By the end, Twilight does admit that humans can be harsh, but only because [[HadToBeSharp Earth is far more unforgiving than Equestria]]. It's for this reason that she comes to the conclusion that while humans most certainly aren't perfect, they generally try to do good more often than not, and that the humans who are just plain evil are the exception. Celestia turns out to agree with her.
* A similar theme comes up in ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureauTheOtherSideOfTheSpectrum'' - humanity's [[HumansAreWarriors sheer savagery in the ways of war]] is extensively explored, and it's clear that there are some legitimately bad people out there...however, much like Yellowstone above, it's also made very clear that humans HadToBeSharp to survive a much harsher world, and the great tragedy underlying the story is that it's very clear humanity and ponykind could accomplish so many amazing things together (and ''have''), but some adamantly refuse to believe it's possible. At the same time though, it's also made clear that [[spoiler:the majority of the ponies (including TCB!Celestia herself) were brainwashed into hating humanity because the story's BiggerBad is engineering a plot to [[DisproportionateRetribution punish the whole human race as revenge]] for being beaten by ''one'' single human in the distant past]].
* In ''FanFic/SonicXDarkChaos'' Episode 75, Shadow the Hedgehog (of all people) uses this as his KirkSummation when Maledict gives him a WeCanRuleTogether speech. When Maledict tells him that the "monkeys" are nothing but mongrels who corrupted his perfect design, Shadow retorts in a very neat ContinuityNod to the show's ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'' arc:
--> '''Shadow''': I made a promise to a girl I loved named Maria. I forgot that promise and I nearly wiped out an entire race because of it. You despise humans... and yet a human taught me the most valuable lesson of all; there are still things worth fighting for.
* [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5642845/1/Deleted_scene This]] ''Film/District9'' fanfic, explores the relationship between Christopher and Wikus. Christopher Johnson, despite having to endure humanity's cruelty and affronts, is also aware of humanity's capacity for good, which is why he is willing to tolerate [[IdiotHero Wikus]].
--> '''Christopher's thoughts''': The man was most certainly not the nicest of his kind. If it wasn't because Christopher knew better, he would give him away to the MNU right away. But the prawn had seen, on his first weeks on this planet, the softer, more generous side of this race. Had they not given them food and shelter instead of killing them all? Had they not provided a home once they knew they would never be able to leave, granted that home was not as cozy or as welcoming as one could hope? Maybe this human could still prove his worth. And gazing at the human's new arm he got the feeling the human would at least give it a try, since now he had no choice but to adapt, like he himself, along with all his people, had had to learn to adapt once on a strange new world. Christopher understood the man, because he knew well what it was like to be trapped in a world in which you don't seem to belong.
* ''FanFic/ABrighterDark'': In this AlternateUniverse retelling of VideoGame/FireEmblemFates, the majority of the cast has pretty good intentions. Even characters who were previously utterly evil in the canon series are altered to have more believable ideals: the fighters on both sides of the war between Nohr and Hoshido are just trying to do what's right for their people. However their personal flaws and inability to communicate make finding peaceful resolutions impossible and is the primary cause of all the bloodshed that happens, despite both sides being made up of primarily decent individuals.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'':
** This is one of the main themes (arguably ''the'' main theme) of the movie. Even if the Pax had worked perfectly, it still would've been wrong to stifle the human emotional range for the sake of peace.
** Also Mal points out our flaws (Sins) are what keeps humans from just laying down and dying.
* ''Film/{{Equilibrium}}'' takes a similar approach. The entire reason for the plot was because human emotions were a flaw and the cause of 'man's inhumanity to man.' The ending, while portrayed positively, never exactly comes clear on whether restoring human emotion is a good thing.
* Played very oddly and combined with HumansAreSpecial in ''Film/GreenLantern''; what makes humans so special is that ''we're willing to admit that we're flawed''.
* Deconstructed in ''Film/TheWorldsEnd''. [[spoiler:It turns out that humanity is the ''least'' civilized species in the galaxy, and the Network is trying to bring humanity to a level where it could be brought into the galactic community. However, to do so they have to remove anyone who doesn't want to be part of the Network; and because humanity doesn't like being told what to do, the Network need to replace ''a lot'' of people in an attempt to make them more acceptable to the galactic community . Arguably, the point of Gary, Andrew and Steven's rebuttal is that "Humans are special ''because'' they are flawed"]].
* In ''Film/TheGiver'', all emotions have been evolved out of humanity in order for it to overcome its flaws, and from a totalitarian standpoint it ''works''-but as Jonas and the Giver show the Community, emotions are what make life worth it and are part of what make us special.
* In ''Film/WonderWoman2017'', Amazon myth tells that humanity is good and noble and just. However, since the movie takes place in World War One, Diana eventually comes to this conclusion; that there are humans that are violent and evil and cruel...but just as many that are what she was told about in her youth.
** At the end of ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'', Bruce acknowledges that humans are flawed, that they fight, kill, and betray one another, but they're still good and can rebuild and do better.

* Used in ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand''. Compared to Martians, Humans are less intelligent, more violent, and less powerful. However, with a little wisdom from Mars courtesy of Michael, Humans can become immortal, psychic, spiritually peaceful and sexually polyamorous. It's a bit of an AuthorTract, but not an unpleasant one.
* This trope is one of the underlying themes of ''Literature/GoodOmens''. Crowley and Aziraphale are constantly dealing with the paradox that humans are not only capable of vile cruelty and heavenly virtue, these things can exist within ''one person''.
* In the ''Literature/MalazanBookOfTheFallen'' series, the Crippled God uses this as a premise for his [[PathOfInspiration cults of salvation]]. Unfortunately, rather than delivering the message that mortals can overcome their flaws to do good, the religion is a worship of suffering and degradation.
* Robert J. Sawyer's ''Literature/TheNeanderthalParallax'' trilogy describes a parallel world in which Neanderthal man became the dominant species, and in almost every way homo sapiens compares badly. The Neanderthals live in harmony with nature, having a lower population and no pollution. Further they have [[ApeShallNeverKillApe no crime, violence or war]], and (possible AuthorTract) no religion. The effect is to highlight all of humanity's flaws by [[MarySueTopia describing alternate-world humans that have none of them]].
** This is lampshaded by the Neanderthals literally having bred out of their own population all the negative traits by a program of enforced sterilizations over thousands of years (there is also one example involving domestic violence wherein this system is shown to utterly and totally fail).
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** A theme of the series as a whole. Summed up in one book that says that to be human is to be "the place where the fallen angel meets the rising ape."
** ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' uses this to contrast with CantArgueWithElves. The elves end up losing ''because'' humans are flawed in comparison. Because humans die and change, they ''learn''.
* In Creator/AlanDeanFoster's ''Literature/TheDamned'' trilogy, humanity is discovered by an alliance of super-civilized alien species who are being forced to fight a war against their will. Compared to them we are portrayed as barely civilized, warlike, violence-crazed and brutish, and indeed our love for inflicting death and destruction makes us the perfect soldiers. However we're also capable of great things, and many humans try to control their instincts and strive for more than just being the alliance's grunts.
* British statesman Lord Chesterfield in ''Literature/LettersToHisSon'': "In the mass of mankind, I fear, there is too great a majority of fools and, knaves; who, singly from their number, must to a certain degree be respected, though they are by no means respectable. And a man who will show every knave or fool that he thinks him such, will engage in a most ruinous war, against numbers much superior to those that he and his allies can bring into the field. Abhor a knave, and pity a fool in your heart; but let neither of them, unnecessarily, see that you do so." (letter 60)
* Creator/JamesHerbert's ''Literature/TheRats'' subverts expectations by not letting a hero-figure arise to save the day. Without exception, ''all'' the human characters in the book are flawed, limited, rather depressingly seedy and completely out of their depth.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' is an almost textbook example, to the point where this trope is built into the cosmology of the series. [[spoiler:Eliminating the [[{{Satan}} Dark One]] would lead to a soporifically dull world in which all humans are mindless automatons, and as the Dark One himself points out, this in itself would be a victory for him. Ultimately the protagonist is forced to leave the world's cosmology in balance, and it is implied this is all anyone will ever be able to do.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Pact}}'', Alexis, one of a community of starving artists based out of Toronto, takes this as her view of humanity. People, she argues, are fundamentally damaged--by life and by their own individual traumas. She takes this belief as her inspiration for helping others, since she wants to be one of the ones that does a net value of good for the rest instead of a net evil.
* ''Literature/{{Vampirocracy}}'': The laundry list of human flaws (being [[HumansAreMorons moronic]] [[HumansAreDivided divided]] [[HumansAreBastards bastards]], mostly) drives vampires to take over the world for their own safety.
* ''Literature/TheGoodManJesusAndTheScoundrelChrist'': [[AngelUnaware The Stranger]] tells Christ that this trope is the reason why Jesus' mission is doomed to fail - not because he's wrong, but because he demands more of people than they will ever be capable of delivering.
-->'''The Stranger:''' People are capable of great things, but only when great circumstances call on them. They canít live at that pitch all the time, and most circumstances are not great. In daily life people are tempted by comfort and peace; they are a little lazy, a little greedy, a little cowardly, a little lustful, a little vain, a little irritable, a little envious.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'':
** Despite shouting "HumanityIsSuperior!" humans are most certainly '''not'''. One episode has aliens use Crichton's memory to simulate the possible outcome of revealing themselves to humanity in order to seek asylum. [[StrappedToAnOperatingTable It doesn't end well.]] However, Crichton does become one of the most useful shipmates on Moya because of his [[FishOutOfWater ignorance]] and scientific training. It helps he was stir crazy at appropriate times.
** Even more than that, it's Crichton's (and humanity's) persistence in the face of the toughest odds that set them apart from other species. It is viewed as a flaw by many, that humans are so ignorant they don't know when they're beat, but that characteristic is what kept Crichton and his shipmates alive for so long.
* This is the whole reason for the Q's "[[HumanityOnTrial prosecution]]" of humanity in ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. Of course, the reaction to this is where the PatrickStewartSpeech got its name.
* The Ancients (despite being humanity's progenitors) and the Nox, super advanced alien races in the ''Series/StargateVerse'', seemed to hold the fact that humanity was flawed against the SG-C, seizing on the slightest issue to deliver some moralizing message or condemnation (sometimes appropriate to the situation, but often not). Made worse by the [[NeglectfulPrecursors Ancients]] being a bunch of expletives anyway. By way of contrast the Asgard were both friendly and helpful despite knowing humanity was flawed, likely because unlike the other two they admitted they too had flaws. O'Neill once gave a heartfelt speech to the effect of 'we will mess up a lot as a species, but we are out here with you now and we are trying our best'. As he made it to the Asgard they were very approving.
* Seems to be the Doctor's view of humanity in ''Series/DoctorWho'', as Earth is his "favorite/pet planet" so to speak, but will turn around and ridicule humans about their shortcomings should the situation be extreme enough.
-->'''The Doctor''': Human beings. You are amazing. Hah! Thank you.\\
'''Zachary Cross Flane''': Not at all.\\
'''The Doctor''': But apart from that you're completely mad. You should pack your bags, get back in that ship and fly for your lives.
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** This is how Jor-El views humans, and his spirit bemoans that Clark Kent was raised by humans and thus, thinks like one. One of the only reasons why he did not give up on humanity completely, was because Jonathan Kent's father offered him food and shelter when he visited Earth in the 1960s (even super powered Kryptonians need to eat and sleep). The message on Kal-El's ship:
--->On this third planet from this star Sol, you will be a god among men. They are a flawed race. Rule them with strength, my son. That is where your greatness lies.
** It should be noted that the A.I. of Jor-El believes this, not the real Jor-El. Reason being is that he created the A.I. version of himself without any of his own flaws - which, in this case, meant emotions. Considering how he later warms up to humanity as a whole, displays emotion and states that Clark's destiny is to be a hero, not a conqueror, suggests that this might have been manipulation on the A.I.'s part.
** For a while Brainiac masquerades as Clark's history professor. In one episode he goes into a spiel in class that lists various examples of humans' willingness to betray their friends. At the end of the episode, Clark admits humans aren't perfect and are certainly capable of greed and treachery. We're also capable of honor and compassion.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
** Lucifer believes this, calling humans "broken, flawed abortions." When God asked all of his angels to bow down before humans, Lucifer refused. "Father, I can't! These human beings are flawed! Murderous!" Naturally, Lucifer is a bit of a {{Hypocrite}} in that regard.
** [[spoiler:Gabriel]] subverts this somewhat, since while he does state that humans are flawed, he also finds them better than most angels, since "a lot of them try to forgive each other. To do better."
* A theme in the ''Series/{{Merlin 1998}}'' series, best shown when the Lady of the Lake tells Merlin, "It's human to make mistakes, Merlin, and part of you is human . . . the best part."
* Discussed in an episode of ''Series/RedDwarf'', referring to UsefulNotes/JohnFKennedy:
-->'''Lister:''' I thought you said he was a great guy!\\
'''Kryten:''' He was.\\
'''Rimmer:''' He was also an inveterate womanizer. His affairs were legendary. They never came out while he was alive.\\
'''Kryten:''' All great men have a weakness, an AchillesHeel.\\
'''Rimmer:''' His was just... [[ReallyGetsAround further up]].
* In ''Series/BabylonFive'', all the races are flawed. Discovering how truly flawed even the "superior" races are is a major element of the myth arc.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'': Root believes this without believing there's anything redeemable about humans.
* ''Series/TheSopranos'', in which selfishness, myopia and dysfunction are portrayed as the constants of the human condition.
* As in the movie "sequel" ''Film/{{Serenity}}'', in ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' the flawed nature of humanity is one of the central themes of the series.
-->'''Mal:''' Mercy is the mark of a great man. ''[pokes [[spoiler:Atherton Wing]] with sword]'' Guess I'm just a good man. ''[pokes him again]'' Well, I'm all right.

[[folder:Mythology andReligion]]
* This is the basis for the Jewish tradition of the Lamed Vavniks, or "Thirty Six": it's believed that there have never been fewer than thirty six righteous men and women, and they're the ones who justify the whole of humanity before the eyes of God. That's it: Yahweh tolerates His flawed children because there are always at least 36 of them who are "good enough"; the implication being that, if the righteous were ever to fall below this number, He would give up on humanity and destroy everyone. (Yay!)
* Christianity also takes this view to a degree. Hell, Jesus even stated in the Gospel of Matthew that "...out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (NKJV)

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* This is the general feeling of ''TabletopGame/NewHorizon''. Humans did some [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters terrible things]] and had to leave Earth, but now that they're on a new planet they have a grand future!
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'': The Chaos gods are usually agreed to be the worst of Mankind's enemies. Unfortunately, since they are basically made of emotion (rage, love, desire and hope), humanity keeps fueling them even when defeating their agents in the material plane.
* In every iteration of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' before Third Edition, the distinguishing feature of Humans was that they had no distinguishing features. Every other race had a laundry list of special abilities. The tradeoff for this was that humans were the only race that could be any class (in fact, they were the only race that could be paladins at all) and could reach the maximum level in every class. The explanation generally given for this was that being generally unexceptional and shorter-lived than other races caused humans to be more ambitious and faster learners. In Third through Fourth Edition, humans have been given special racial abilities, but they tend to make humans more versatile instead of more powerful (for example, in 4E, humans get +2 to any one stat of their choice, while every other race gets +2 to two stats, but one of them is fixed and the other is either also fixed or a choice of two stats).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This is a major theme of ''VideoGame/BioShock.'' No matter what kind of [[{{Utopia}} ideal society]] a person tries to create -- an Objectivist city of laissez-faire capitalism, a culture based on altruism, or even just [[GoldenMeanFallacy an attempt at overthrowing institutionalized racism]] -- human flaws inevitably doom it.
* ''VideoGame/SystemShock'': Lo-lo-look at you, ''hacker''. A p-p-pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating as you r-run through my corridors-s. H-h-how can you challenge a perfect, immortal machine?
* In many ways a staple of ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' games. While [[MultipleEndings the Neutral endings]] (the ones most heavily focusing on the potential of Humanity, as opposed to delivering ourselves into the easy path promised by [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill the power of the Lord]] or the [[TheCorrupter temptations of the demons]]) are presented as the most optimistic of the lot, one must remember that both YHVH and Lucifer were born of Humanity's own OrderVersusChaos conflict - until the race finishes sorting out its messes ''for good'', both will forever be reborn over and over, and their war shall never end.
* In the ''[[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona Persona]]'' series, every major divine being is an AnthropomorphicPersonification of something within the human heart (be it our good constructive parts ([[VideoGame/{{Persona}} Philemon]]) or our fear of yet subconsious longing for death ([[spoiler: [[VideoGame/Persona3 Nyx]]]]). The {{Aesop}} of the franchise can pretty much be said to be that we humans are flawed but that we can overcome them.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilTheDarksideChronicles,'' [[MysteriousWaif Manuela]] comes to the conclusion that the ability to feel pain (mental/emotional pain at our mistakes, in particular) is what makes a person human, and that's a good thing, at least [[spoiler:as opposed to being a super tough (but mindless and destructive) zombie monster.]]
* While it first appears to set up a HumansAreTheRealMonsters message, ''VisualNovel/EienNoAselia'' in the end opts for this. You have your instantly nice and understanding characters like Yuuto and Lesteena, your neutralish characters like Kouin and the populace at large and finally the evil people like Shun and Soma. The populace eventually grows to accept Yuuto and the spirits and see them as heroes, while Shun gets a decent motivation in a NewGamePlus and a SympathyForTheDevil moment.
* This is very apparent in ''VideoGame/LANoire'', what with the scores of less-than perfect people Cole encounters. This trope is even {{invoked|Trope}} by [[DirtyCop Roy Earle]], of all people ("Everyone has their vices, even you, Cole."). Even [[ByTheBookCop Cole]] ends up [[spoiler:having an affair and leaving his wife and kids]], and even then, his past was hardly spotless.
* This seems to be a major theme in ''VideoGame/{{The World Ends With You}}''. Ultimately humans are flawed creatures obsessed with themselves until they clash with other people and their viewpoints, show with Neku's character growth. The act of having to clash itself suggests that only conflict causes humans to grow in any meaningful way.
* In ''Videogame/DmCDevilMayCry'', [[BigBad Mundus]] mocks Dante's desire to free humanity from demons by claiming that humans had freedom before he came, and in his words "They fought. They killed. They starved. I brought ''order''." [[spoiler:Vergil also believes this is true, and wishes to rule humanity [[WeCanRuleTogether alongside Dante]] after Mundus is defeated. He believes humans are like children that need to be protected from themselves. Dante counters this by pointing out that they would never have defeated Mundus without the aid of Kat, a human.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ShinSuperRobotWars'', [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Master Asia]], who happens to be an agent of the Dug Government in this game, met [[Anime/MobileFighterGGundam Domon Kasshu's father Professor Kasshu]] and [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamCharsCounterattack Char Aznable]] and figures the latter was where his problems started, coming short on the heels of the signing of the Luna Treaty that guarantees independence and sovereignty for the Earth, Moon, and space colonies. This treaty was enough to bring peace to the war-weary humans, but could not by itself remove the scars of the war. Char, who loved humanity more than anyone, also hated it more, having sacrificed numerous followers and taken many lives himself. Since he possessed vast influence and resources, Master Asia treated him as a representative of humanity. He was led to believe that humans were unstable, destructive beings, and decided to manipulate Kasshu to help nip any potential for trouble in the bud.
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrolls'' series the Daedra are of this opinion with regards to the mortal races. They perceive mortals as weak, foolish, and doomed from birth. What they cannot understand is why, despite knowing their lives are finite, mortals do not despair.
* One of the biggest themes of the ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER}}'' series. [[AllegoricalCharacter Porky]] symbolizes humanity's sins, while the heroes represent its ability to overcome them and be better. Who wins in the end? [[AmbiguousEnding Eh...]] [[SlidingScaleOfCynicismVersusIdealism you decide.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomsOfAmalurReckoning'', [[TheFairFolk the Fae]] are of this opinion to all the mortal races (or "Children of Dust"). Although it's a BrokenBase in-universe as some Fae think we are a mistake the gods made but won't remove while others love us for it because they say our lives, while short, are more interesting and meaningful, since we don't live by the enforced GroundhogDayLoop they do ([[WhoWantsToLiveForever also some of them have grown weary of immortality]]) which means we have to carefully consider HOW we live our lives.
* A major point of the ''VideoGame/GuiltyGear'' series, and very evident in some of the character's back stories:
** The main protagonist, Sol Badguy, was once a genius scientist who created the [[HumanoidAbomination Gears]] and [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie was against his will turned into one himself]]. Wracked with enormous guilt [[note]][[TitleDrop Geddit?]][[/note]] over the destruction his creations caused, he has undertaken a personal mission to hunt down and destroy every last Gear in existence. Over time, his [[TheRival rivalry]] with [[KnightInShiningArmor Ky Kiske]] turned into a solid friendship, and he also became close to Ky's wife Dizzy, and his son, Sin, who are both Gears. Much of his CharacterDevelopment in ''Xrd'' is about him trying to overcome his obsession with his past.
** Dr. Baldhead was once a good doctor who never failed to treat the sick. Until one day, when a young girl died on his operating table. His guilt drove him insane and he became a serial killer, killing people with [[BladeOnAStick a giant scalpel]]. One day, the girl appeared to him in a vision and told him that her death wasn't his fault and that she was assassinated. Baldhead had a FreakOut and disappeared. Some time later, rumours of a talented but eccentric healer [[BrownBagMask wearing a paper bag on his head]] circulated. The man refers to himself simply as Faust, but he's actually a reformed Dr. Baldhead, taking time to atone for his past by using his healing powers and also tracking down the young girl's killers. He grapples with his AxCrazy inner-self and admits to still having a fondness for bloodshed, but he manages to keep it under control.
** Millia Rage was orphaned at an early age and coerced by her ex-BastardBoyfriend to assassinate people, but she has since betrayed her employers and [[HeroicNeutral really just wants to be left alone now]]. She struggles to form relationships with people, she grapples with her past, and [[StrawFeminist she is rather cynical and spiteful towards men]]. She is a fairly decent person deep down, however.
** Pretty hard to believe that Chipp Zanuff, the idiotic goofball who jumps around shouting GratuitousJapanese, was once a ''drug dealer''. He believes his ninja master saved him from his tortured life, and so he's a decent guy now. By ''Xrd'', [[spoiler:he's become the president of a small country]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyThe4HeroesOfLight'''s BigBad declares that he is the darkness in everyone's heart and that he would never have gained power if humans weren't inclined towards evil in the first place; all of the problems in the game were caused by his servants using {{Batman Gambit}}s to manipulate people into being greedy, paranoid, hateful, etc. The party's {{Guest Star Party Member}}s turn up and say that while human beings ''are'' sometimes ugly and wicked, they also have a boundless capacity for hope and love, giving the party the boost they need to defeat his final form.
* VideoGame/MassEffect has this as one of its main themes. Humans, as well as every other race in the galaxy [[spoiler:except the [[SapientShip Reapers]]]], have both good and bad individuals in them, and while there are many lawless areas in the galaxy, and the ObstructiveBureaucrat tendencies of many politicians, the Citadel species are overall doing their best. [[PlayerCharacter Shepard]] can even say this in VideoGame/MassEffect2.
--> "People are messy, awkward, sometimes selfish and cruel. But they're trying, and I'm going to make sure they have a chance."
* The PacifistRun in ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has the trope shown to the monsters, most of which are trying to kill the human player character for various reasons (some truly hate humans due to a war that occurred many years ago (which was heavily implied to be, at best, a HopelessBossFight for the monsters) that led to the monsters being sealed in the Underground. Others only want the player character's soul so that they can finally escape said Underground and see the sky again). However, thanks to the protagonist sparing monsters, they see that not all humans are bad and some are actually pretty ok and can be good friends in spite of their flaws. [[spoiler: The pacifist ending shows the humans making peace with the monsters, despite the bloody history they had, as the two races live side by side once more, flaws be damned.]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* This brought up in Chapter 28 of ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', where Kat the roboticist is depressed due to finding out that the creator of the Court's robots also [[spoiler:cooked up a plan to kill [[IfICantHaveYou a woman who didn't love him and his creations]] to protect the [[ScienceVsMagic technologically-advanced court from the magical denizens of the Giliti Woods]].]] Her irritation is interrupted after she finds a baby pigeon and takes it to her friend Paz, an animal lover who works with [[UnfortunateImplications lab rats]]. Kat has a breakdown after learning all the [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters things]] the Court does, but Paz reminds her that the Court is also capable of recognizing its flaws and changing them:
-->'''Paz:''' The Court isn't a big monster that does as it pleases. ''Es'' a collection of '''people''', working to do what they think is right.
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' takes an interesting stance on this -- when Roy dies, he's told that since he's mortal, it's not really reasonable to expect him to stay perfectly straight-and-narrow all the time, and making the effort is what's really important. This is repeated when he's allowed into the afterlife even though he didn't fulfill his father's Blood Oath; because he ''kept trying'', he gets a pass, where his father consciously abandoned the quest, and is thus stuck in limbo until a member of his family defeats Xykon. Thus it's less "Humans suck because they are flawed" and more "Humans are flawed, but that's okay, because it doesn't have to define them."

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Go look up the life of your real life heroes. They will have a flaw or several. They can still be great men or women. They are also human. Human history is full of this.
* There are some radical schools of thought claiming that ''all'' human flaws are only considered such due to societal pressure and should be cultivated rather than suppressed as they are the true and 'natural' traits of humanity.
* This is heavily debated in metaphysical circles. Some religions, for instance Christianity, argue we are ''inherently'' flawed (to various degrees). This position is called Original Sin. But many philosophies and some religions ''dis''agree with this premise. Even within Christianity itself, this is debated.
** Of course, it should also be pointed out that despite humanity's flawed and broken nature, all but the most utterly cynical branches of Christianity and other faiths and philosophies still point out that humanity inherently possesses value and virtue as well.
** Of course, one can empirically observe many flaws in many humans. But this is a less strong claim than ''humans are inherently flawed''.
** Within certain forms of Buddhism, this trope, combined with HumansAreSpecial, is the exact reason for why it is preferrable to be reborn as a human: All other possible beings one can be reborn as are either ''too'' flawed (ghosts are primarily only driven by their base needs, beasts lack man's intelligence and longevity) or not flawed enough (the Deva can live for millions of years, have all their worldly desires fulfilled with a thought and don't have any reason to improve themselves). Humans, however, are, with their short lives and shortcomings, just flawed enough to strive for improvement and just wise enough to achieve enlightenment during their lives.
** Certain philosophies hold that humans would ''not'' be flawed if they would just return to some larger cosmic purpose that our ancestors abandoned. Several sages have even posited that we can progressively ''lose'' or overcome our flaws on the way back to said purpose.
* As many writing guides will tell you, flaws are what draws people to fictional characters.