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Why is humanity so unkind to one another

  1. Jun 12, 2004 #1
    why is humanity so unkind to one another, just to fight for anything that they wanted to get?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2004 #2
    "How can you expect kindness and decency on a planet of sleeping people?"
  4. Jun 12, 2004 #3


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    I hate people who behave like that; death is too good for them... (:grumpy:)
  5. Jun 12, 2004 #4
    because we CAN be unkind. We can CHOOSE, get it? why have the instinct of aggression if it has no apparent or inapparent use?

    your president is proving that right now, by trying to establish a "free" society in Iraq, through the help of *force*.

    so you see, when we fight we don't just fight to obtain resources, but to bring (through the means of war, but also through the means of *culture* (hollywood)) other nations and cultures closer to our way of thinking and doing things our way, thus lessening or eliminating the threat of them doing the same to us.

    If one culture (I.E. muslim) is forced or led to embrace another culture, another ways of life (Ie christian), it is far less a threat to the latter culture. The differences become extremely small until it decreses just to individual differences within the greater culture and society. (for example: differences between nations in european union are present and pretty obvious, but we are all connected with a greater, christian, western, principles, thus cooperation is possible).

    or; if iraq was christianized and democratisized a 100 years ago, they would have no objections to trade and be kind to the western world, and your president could obtain what he wants through simple trade, plus there would be no need to try and strenghten it's cultural and military influence in the arabian peninsula.

    but this is just one case to think about.

    the dynamics and laws of human relationships are much more complex than any intel chip or something like that, and if one would want to think about "why are we aggressive" or similar things about human relationships, one must have a continuously open mind, being able to see the patterns and laws that apply to our behaviour. actually much like mathemathics.

    the anwsers to such questions are elusive and not easily determined, much like the weather.
  6. Jun 12, 2004 #5
    I think the key is directly related to self preservation. This fundamental trait of biological things pit one against the other. It seems to surface in the form of greed, although this greed can be well disguised and presented in some unexpected ways.
  7. Jun 12, 2004 #6
    Could it be that all the higher order functions of humans we like to point to as the result of primitive and primal necessities are actually higher order functions? It just seems so cliche to say every action we do is the result of wanting food or the result of genetic evolution.
  8. Jun 12, 2004 #7
    The higher order functions are such, because they stand on the shoulders of our more basic instincts. I believe our basic instincts are a little broader in scope than simply wanting food.
  9. Jun 12, 2004 #8
    Well granted, I am not providing a rigorous argument against or analysis of your position but from a cursory inspection all this sort of rhetoric seems a bit cliche. To somewhat paraphrase the utilitarian Mill, obviously we share the desires of primitive animals such as, of course, the pig, but our functions and desires are also much more expansive and our endeavors are much more of a, pardon the expression, higher order. I do tend to doubt that all of our endeavors can be reduced to such primitive motivations and propensities. Many who subscribe to this sort of idea even go to such an extreme as to dream things like "evolutionary morals" and other such concepts. I think it is more of the act of taking a valid scientific idea and attempting to apply it everywhere for the sake of simplicity. But maybe not. Though, it does seem to be a bit too cliche.
  10. Jun 12, 2004 #9


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    1+1=2 is pretty cliche, but it's still right.

    That isn't to say the position you are arguing against has been proven correct, but skepticism alone does not disprove it. Don't forget that Mill had absolutely no knowledge of modern evolutionary principles and genetics.
  11. Jun 12, 2004 #10
    Hi Nico,

    Although i'm convinced our basic biological needs play a major roll in human behavior, it in no way justifies the extent some people will go to, in order to carry out their personal agenda. Obviously, people receive satisfaction in many different ways, and many will sacrafice the rights of others in order to fulfill those needs.

    Many years ago, I was having a simular discusion with a friend. I recall telling him that I believed all conflict was a direct result of ignorance and/or greed. Today, this is still the position I would take.

    Good discussion, thanks.
  12. Jun 12, 2004 #11
    Well 1+1=2 is axiomatic it is not cliche. You're just making a strawman of my informal criticism. As far as Mill is concerned, it was an obvious allusion, I must assume you are familiar with it because you are criticizing him; you seem to suggest that a pig and a human have an equal capacity for fulfillment, is this so? In simpler terms, and in the rhetoric of Mill, is it incorrect to say based on modern evolutationary princples that "it is better to be Socrates unsatisfied than a pig satisfied?" I had not known that the modern theory of evolution had proven that pigs and humans have equal propensities for satisfaction. I think the position that all of our actions are simply reduced to primitive functions is more a way to find an easy and somewhat intuitive solution without actually giving the problem a rigorous examination.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2004
  13. Jun 13, 2004 #12


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    I don't recall saying men's urges are the same as those of a pig. You seem to be arguing with someone else, perhaps the aforementioned strawman. What I meant to point out was that Mill did not have the understanding of biology necessary to dismiss or accept a biological account of the urges and satisfactions of a man. I'm not reducing anything to primitive functions here. Many biological functions are far from primitive, not to mention far from completely understood.

    By the way, 1+1=2 is both cliche and axiomatic, which was exactly my point.

    from www.dictionary.com

  14. Jun 13, 2004 #13
    Well respect to the axiom, touche! As far as Mill, well you specifically disagreed with my remark so I assumed you knew what I was referring to. Mill simply said that the humans clearly had more expansive propensity for satisfaction than lower animals, but I digress. I must reiterate that I am not proposing a rigorous attack on the position in question I simply have my reservations about it and I have seen no real prove other than some, what I consider to be, weak inferences.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2004
  15. Jun 13, 2004 #14
    from what i have seen, irrational aggression and violence is the result of fear. once man realizes that it is not weak to be kind we will commence our next phase of evolution.

    understanding the nature of our fears will eliminate wars, racial bias and religious intolerance.

    olde drunk
  16. Jun 14, 2004 #15
    I suggest that it is the conflict of idea, both inside of both human nature and all of nature that is the source of conflict.

    Animals are their ideas, and in nature we often see the males fighting each other to deliver to the female the best *genetic* idea for the continuation of the species. We even see this in the moment of conception and the dance between the millions of sperm and the one single egg.

    Conflict performs a function in nature. In Humanity, as we climb out of our lower animal natures, what can save us in this process is that we humans are NOT our ideas. Once an individual can see this, they can then embrace the natural conflict of idea and have it serve all of humanity instead of cause misery and suffering such is what we are witnessing in world events.

    When human beings confuse themselves as the ideas being discussed, we find them hurting, maiming, or killing those who voice the opposing idea in defence.

    The conflict of idea will always remain. It is probable that the conflict of idea will also serve the higher functions of humanity once it is properly understood.
  17. Jun 14, 2004 #16
    i have no difficulty accepting aggressive competition in nature or in sports among humans. it is the emotional need to harm - injure another that has fear as the most probable root. when an athlete goes beyond the rules of the game, invariably his fear of embarassment, failure, etc is the force behind the improper act(s).

    if we could only understand that embarassement comes from an egotistical weakness and that losing is a part of the game; we can interact (play the game) more freely with more joy. professional players have another concern, loss of income. the US will not have it's best possible baskeball team because they fear for their safety.

    why are so many decisions made out of fear???? no wonder we have a world full of unrest. everyone is affraid that they will lose what little they have to a lesser country - religion - race. all this anxiety has a global impact on many levels.

    the irony is - none of us will leave this world with more than what we came in with. so, what's the big deal with sharing???

    all the wise men since forever have said 'love your neighbor as yourself'. how can we fight over which wise man siad it best??? the only understanding we can garner from harmful violence is that it is fruitless. it never solves the real problem. in fact, it may complicate an otherwise simple problem.

    maybe we are here to learn that hurting each other has no merit???

    olde drunk
  18. Jun 14, 2004 #17
    Much is discussed about this subject, but I seldom see anyone explain why it is necessary, possible, or even desirable to put an end to violence. Does anybody really believe a world filled with angel-like people, completely incapable of doing anything unpleasant to each other?

    This is a world of suffering, and suffering comes in many forms. If it's not by violence, it will be by disease, strife, hunger, boredom, loneliness, despair, mass destruction, misfortune...

    We are born to suffer, and suffer we must. There is no way out of it other than death. If there is another life waiting for us beyond the grave, then we can dream of a perfect society completely free of evil. In the meantime, the best we can do is gather strength to endure our ordeal.
  19. Jun 14, 2004 #18


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    Let us not forget the importance of anger. I don't think fear is the only factor playing into this. Also, some people are just plain sick. I used to read a great deal about serial killers when I was a kid, and for the most part, they are neither fearful or angry. They're motivated by the acquiring of pleasure just like the rest of us; it just so happens that they derive pleasure from slicing up other human beings.
  20. Jun 14, 2004 #19
    Agreed, Olde drunk. It is an emotional need to harm that stems from the desire to solve a problem that an individual has, somewhere in there is a conflict of idea about self, or even how to solve the problem.Irrational. Thinking with the feelings.

    fear is not a feeling but an idea about what we are feeling or experianceing. It is a 'knee jerk' reaction in a time of percieved threat to status, order, or survival. It is identifying with the 'idea', we kill or harm to protect the idea too, which of course is just simply irrational. Like animals.

    Well, it is all about where you place the conflict and the violence. If conflict is a neccesary strategem of nature, which it seems both you and I agree on this matter, we human beings in the 21 century, as intelligent as we are, can use this natural function to enhance us instead of eventually destroy all of us.

    The main goal all of us share is we all want to 'win' on some level, or desire such a goal that if it is achieved we can call it winning. Winning then too is a function or strategem inside of nature, I suggest.

    So it is more about the basic biological need to 'win' that pushes us to it, making others 'lose' as the only way to accomplish those goals of winning.

    What I suggest is entirely possible for us as a species in this moment in history is we can create, through our advanced technologies, win'win systems of administration that embarces everyones need to 'win', without creating loss...

    I can relate to the 'hopelessness' of the poster who began this thread. I suggest, if what one is searching for is 'hope' coupled with some 'certainty', to pick up the works of Buckminster Fuller, whose solutions of 'success for all without disadvantaging any' to gain more insight in this aspect of problem solving in the novel 21 century.

    There are many who suggest, and I agree with them, that we are closer to world peace than you think!

  21. Jun 14, 2004 #20
    But I don't agree with that. Nature could just as well be such that, when tired of living, the lamb would lie down with the lion, be eaten for breakfast the next morning, and feel the luckier for it. From a scientific perspective, it makes sense that a creature would avoid death until reproduction age, but it makes no sense at all that the creature should not welcome death after that, so as to save resources for the next generation.

    I can assure you that, in terms of achieving peace, human beings in the 21st century have nothing that their ancestors in the 1st century didn't have. It didn't happen then and it won't happen now. At least our ancestors fought for the basic necessities of life, whereas we fight for the right to buy cheap gas for our luxury SUVs.

    And that explains why a man would fly a jet airliner into a crowded building, killing himself and a few thousand others... where is the winner in that scenario?

    Why do you believe in technology, when the single most important use of it is to develop arms? The wars of the 20th century were the deadliest in human history; thanks to technology we've had death and destruction on a scale unknown to mankind.

    I feel bad pointing to the fact that the past is the most reliable source of information about the future, and that the past tells us that our future will bring more wars, some of them quite violent. I feel bad because, personally, I don't feel the need to entertain dreams about this world; I know it's nature and I'm not sad about it. I used to be sad, but nowadays I understand why suffering exists, why it is important to our lives, and why we must accept our fate rather than try and change it.

    I do realize that understanding those things takes a lifetime.
  22. Jun 14, 2004 #21

    "A man is born, he suffers, and he dies." =)



    Why does it not make sense that a "creature" would not welcome death after reproduction? What premises does that follow from? On the whole I can understand your position but I think much of this is derived from a very limited perspective that nature should follow, what are considered to be, "scientific princples" which are gained from nothing more than weak inferences of ought.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2004
  23. Jun 15, 2004 #22
    i think you are confusing perhaps fear of death with conflict? Animals surrender when they die, often they will run away and even die alone. they seem, in many occasions, to be wired how to respond to death.

    Yet regardless of how it may be percieved by the lamb, she does not lie down, she runs away. the slowest moving lamb is the one that gets caught, keeping the faster ones fit and on their toes. natural selection again. Survival of the fastest. The best ones live and pass on the most effective genes that are slowly refined throughout generations.

    Conflict, and games of conflict, perform over arching functions in the over habitat, insuring the most effective genes will always win and remain dominant.

    On your previous post you mentioned something about suffering/violence and such to be endemnic, forgive me if i mistook your point.

    how is that a scientific perspective when we have never observed such an occurance of aging salmon throwing themselves gleefully into the bear's mouth? or have I misunderstood you here...

    surely you have heard of that damn internet?

    Perhaps Nico can reveal how that statement is, what do you call it Nico, a vacuous truth? hehe...

    I am just curious how it not happening in 1 AD = It wont happen now or in the future. Rocket travel did not happen then either, nor cloning. Hey, guess what? In 2015, there is said to be a cure for cancer, or, anyone with cancer will not suffer and die. How about that? That also did not occur in the 1 century, nor in the 20th.

    It will happen because it is the only way to avoid total extinction and self -annilhilation. It never could have happenend until now, it was virtually impossible, but also because the world was not even connected nor aware of all it's neighbors to even imagine such a thing.

    I dont mean to sound sarcastic, really, I dont, but how much thinking have you really put into the matter, or was that just an immediate expression of your over all outlook. (i.e opinion)

    Well, they must be the asses who got us into this mess in the first place;-)

    there is no winner in that scenario objectivly, they are irrational and cannot percieve objective reality, but subjectivly, in the mind of the political fanatical Muslims, flying suicide airplanes into trade centers is how they can rid the Mid East of American Presence and return the Lands to Islamic Rule (i.e their version of 'winning')

    mo' later, I gots a phone call...
  24. Jun 15, 2004 #23
    I think I'm going to spend some time learning about Gurdieff, as the answer to this question couldn't have been put into more elegant terms.

    Most people spend their lives sleeping, doomed to never awaken to see reality of reality, caught in a cycle of horrible nightmares laced with sweet dreams. The only progress we have is when someone wakes up.
  25. Jun 15, 2004 #24
    this is true and I do not deny it. It sucks when politicians get to control technology and how it is used. Most scientists do not dream up death rays and the like, it is the neccesity of them that is encouraged by human politics, not human science, design, or technology.

    And no matter how bad things appear, there is more pleasure and oppurtunity now for humanity than ever in the past, or, i.e things are getting better in spite of all the madness politicians cause.

    the past does not tell us about the future, the past tells us about the past. and conflict has been apart of our history, and has even shaped our history.

    Let me ask you a question, and this is only for pondering, ok?

    do you think that maybe there is a design or goal/function of the human species? I mean, there either is or is not, right? chance or design/goal?

    If nature does have a 'goal' for life, then life in space is either that goal or is apart of that goal, because now mankind is a permenant post terrestrial species, with the advent of the international space station.

    Now the above is just a proposition, but if the above proposition has merit, then what would that make WW1 and WW2 but the background enviroment which led to the technology that would launch us into space?

    I use this as an example to suggest again the nature of conflict inside of life that nature uses to keep us moving forward...forward toward what i do not know, but space must be a part of it because that is what is in front of us.

    I am sorry you feel bad and not sad, bad or sad is not joy, hope, inspiration, and a bummer fer sure....

    well, that is just it, it is nature. we are nature too, right? intelligence increases in the species through the conflict of idea. Humanity right now has the potential to harness the conflict at it's root, idea, and use that 'nature' to insure success. Accepting misery and suffering is resignation, not a path of spiritual nobility. When Buddha was around, or the Gurus in India, surrounded by so much suffering, one had to accept that, there were no toher answers other than 'all life is sorrow'. In the 21 century, we have the know how to produce billionaire wealth for every single global citizen. we have the resources. the problem is distribution of those resources and the ideologies that control them. Never before was there this possiblity...( for foot notes in the above idea, please consult Buckminster Fuller's 'Critical Path')

  26. Jun 15, 2004 #25
    Trust me, without the work of brilliant scientists there would be no weapons of any kind. The team that built the first A-bomb had Nobel laureates amongst them. I'm sure people like Richard Feynman believed they were using science for a greater good when they built a device capable of killing 100,000 people and wiping an entire city out of the map, but the link between scientists and generals, between science and death, is there for anyone to see.

    I'm not sure things are getting better. It's easy to claim that from the comfort and safety of the American way of life, or from the quarter of the world who calls itself "modern" and "developed". But I wonder where the pleasures and opportunities are for the masses that live in poverty throughout Latin America, Eastern Europe, Africa, India, China, most of Asia.

    I do not believe in chance. I believe everything happens for a purpose, and we as human beings have a vague notion of what that purpose is.

    I fail to see the relevance of those adventures in space, but I'll accept your proposition.

    I believe suffering has a purpose, but I believe that purpose is much more personal than building rocketships. I believe we must suffer so that we learn the true nature of our relationship with the cosmos. I know quite a lot about suffering and about learning, out of personal experience. I know very little about space exploration and its importance to mankind's spiritual evolution.

    The things that are in front of us are often the hardest to see. You may think the moon and the stars are important; I think learning to love your neighbour as you love yourself is far more so.

    Do not be sorry. I am far more optimistic than you can possibly imagine. You have faith in humanity, but I have faith in God. It's hard to think of anything that gives more joy, hope, inspiration, than unquestioning faith in the power that created the Universe.

    Jesus Christ died on a cross. He accepted misery and suffering, he resigned to it and put everything in the hands of God. For a Christian, nothing is more spiritually noble than resignation - it means you trust God so much, you realize you don't have to worry about your fate, even if you don't understand it.

    When it comes to spirituality, what you believe determines what is noble. An Indian guru thinks of love as unnecessary attachment to an illusion; a Western Christian thinks of love as the essence of the universe. Both are noble in their own ways. Above all, spirituality is about understanding paradoxes. That is why it can't be explained.
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