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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.
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