Can Hatred Be Eradicated?

This post was inspired by a 3-day trip I recently took to family in a tiny, rural town in central Texas.  Over the course of two evenings we had some energized political and social discussions regarding the United States, both past and present, and our nation’s “current health” or standing in the world.

It seemed our energized discussions and some debates were inevitable (at least for us outspoken ones) given that most of the headline news was and has been the ongoing 2020 Democratic debates by TWENTY-SEVEN Presidential candidates. Our heated debates were further fueled by the fact that the current POTUS spends more time on Twitter than he does matters of State or his marriage. Plus, out of six adults, I was the only Independent and anti-Trump voice in the room.

One single subject of many argued, or in the case of the four ultra-Republicans in the room rallied around, was America’s world image of strength, power, and dominance—in the form of Biggest Brother (Bully?) on the block. It was begun by one man’s example of the U.S. buying and building the Panama Canal, ‘a feat of marvel and American power, wealth, and supreme engineering for the benefit of all humanity.’ When they paused to breathe, I asked him and his excited party-proponents “Did that include the Panamanians too and their well-being and future?” There was a long pause of silence and puzzled expressions.

None of them had any significant, factual, historical knowledge of Panama and Central America prior to 1903. And there was as much naivety about post-1914 Panama and the context surrounding the Hay–Bunau-Varilla Treaty up to and including the Torrijos–Carter Treaties of 1977. They only learned and/or read in American school books or American news articles what agreed with them. When I briefly elaborated on the 1977 treaties involving Democrat President Carter, several of the men pounced on his presidency in hateful ways. I could no longer get a word in they became so incensed. It was as if I was watching them spray high-octane propellant onto each other as my Mom had to leave the room. She was the only patient, peaceful, understanding Moderate in the room, though completely drowned out.

I can never seem to be less amazed, shocked, and disturbed about how very, very little historical context our generation of Americans, born from say 1930 to say 1970—that is FULL historical context from all perspectives!—they actually possessed. They have essentially ONE, personally fed to them chosen lens they viewed history and current events (both of which are inseparable!) to formulate their unyielding, uncompromising lifetime posture. The tiny perspectives are colossally astounding!

Since it is impossible to post about all the subjects we argued and discussed, I’m picking this single, multi-faceted subject we argued:  Punishments. Over the last many decades and centuries the precedence of punishment for Hate-Crimes, War-Crimes, Heinous Crimes/Massacres, and Genocides have been foolishly and inconsistently set on an ever increasing global jurisdiction of law.

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There’s one way, out of a few, to determine whether or not you are to some large or small degree a racist, or bigot, elitist, xenophobe, partisan, antagonist, hero or villain, segregist, war-criminal or misanthropist. But not now. I will share a reliable litmus test at the end of this post.

Is extreme human rage and hatred genetic, hereditary? Or is misanthropy taught and learned over time? If the latter, then it can be untaught, unlearned… or so the logic goes. For humanity’s last 3-4 millenia, or I should say MAN’S (the male gender’s) last several millenia, what have we learned about hatred that becomes mass genocide, gendercide, infanticide, pedicide or familicide, etc? Why does it continue? As the dominate species on the planet, do we perpetuate heinous acts of slaughter toward strangers and opponents?

Our behavior in the ancient past is a list of human hate-to-carnage on enormous scales and they are far too numerous to recount in this blog-post. But four of them are well-known among historians:  the Assyrians in northern Mesopotamia, the Greeks at Melos, the Israelites against the Midianites near Elath, and the Romans at Carthage—about 150,000 people, all considered by many historians as the first full-blown genocides.

As far as body-counts, the human race’s nine largest verified genocides and heinous war crimes have been:

  1. Master Plan for the EastNazi Third Reich, 1941-1945, around 13-million plus.
  2. The HolodomorSoviet Union, 1932-1933, 7.5 million Ukrainians.
  3. European HolocaustNazi Third Reich, 1941-1945, 6-million Jews.
  4. Polish ExterminationsNazi Third Reich, 1939-1945, around 3-million Poles.
  5. Cambodian GenocideKhmer Rouge Regime, 1975-1979, about 3-million.
  6. Indonesian GenocideRepublic of Indonesia, 1965-1966, about 3-million.
  7. Bangladesh GenocidePakistan Islamic Military, 1971, some 3-million.
  8. Armenian GenocideOttoman Empire, 1915-1922, about 1.8-million Armenians.
  9. Kazakh GenocideSoviet Socialist Republic, 1931-1933, 1.75 million Kazakhs. Note: let it be known that the United States is historically part of other atrocities and war-crimes as well. Click here for truncated list.

At least five mass genocides and war-crimes have happened in our current 21st century, three of them are ongoing today in Myanmar, Sudan, and Syria-North Iraq. Clearly, the war to end all wars philosophy has not and is not working. Individuals, regimes, and governments are still using violence and slaughtering on industrial scales to resolve differences or take what they want. Why? There is a discernible pattern of this human psychology and behavior manifested over history. And after some 140,000 years of evolution, we humans are masters of repackaging, disguising, and justifying!

Stage I — Fanning the Flames of Paranoia

In all historical cases of human atrocities and crimes on incomprehensible scales, the individual ego is the categorical starting point. A person’s developed and learned stereotyping pathology: Me against Them is based not only in evolutionary tribalism, no matter if it is right or wrong, accurate or inaccurate, but it also flames fear and/or ignorance. If a person’s fears and ignorance are correctly identified and are similar or identical to that person’s primary home/community/region, then a person of charisma and cunning (Ego) can exploit those individual and group dynamics for personal and tribal gain.

One modern case-in-point of psychological, covert manipulation of populaces was the 2014-2018 scandal, downfall, and expiration of Cambridge Analytica in London. The tactic that clients of Cambridge Analytica (CA) utilized was the identification of an individual’s, then a group’s, followed by a community’s and region’s political hot-points—or fears and ignorance—based upon a comprehensive 70,000 to 100,000 data-points of one person without their consent or full knowledge (stolen). Then those individual’s data-sets were compared-contrasted to other individuals (near and far) in geopolitical data-sets. These colossal data-sets were compiled on millions and billions of electronic-connected people by CA Ltd, sorted, and handed over to CA’s multi-million dollar clients, who then turned around and targeted individuals, groups, and organizations with weaponized propaganda. This fraudulently flamed people’s natural and learned Me versus Them paranoia. It systematically perverted and distorted political facts and blatantly undermined and vandalized once protected mechanisms of democracy. This is why Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg were deservedly slapped with an unprecedented $5-billion dollar fine by the Federal Trade Commission. The one word reason? Accessory. Or more precisely, Passive Accessory.

Need a prime example of passive accessory?

Stage II — Feeding Depraved Indifference
Oskar-Groening-circa-1941

Oskar Gröning c. 1941

The 93-year old Prussian-born man Oskar Gröning, willingly joined the Schutzstaffel or SS of Nazi Germany in 1940. He was legally charged in Germany 70-years later as an accessory to murders he allowed and was complicit in the summer of 1944 while stationed at Auschwitz. His 2014 indictment and 2015 sentencing was ground breaking for international as well as German law, to say the least.

Of course, in all cases of lifelong imprisonments, or death sentences, and cases of national and/or global reach, let alone the sensational accounts of Holocaust events, there was very heated debate and controversy to the purpose of imprisoning a 94-year old geriatric person with significant health concerns. But Oskar Gröning was not your typical SS soldier. He was an accountant who also confiscated Jewish materials and wealth for his Nazi regime despite never using his own hands to murder anyone.

Therefore, in a bigger general sense, Oskar Gröning was a victim of mob-fueled volatile influence and taught (forced into?) depraved indifference as a teenager and young adult. But the desensitization grows like aggressive cancer. He  willingly and knowingly perpetuated and passed on, or enabled more depraved indifference upon others. Sadly and more horrifying was this passivity, theft, and lethal application was allowed and implemented upon small children, toddlers, and infants. In his case, on at least 300,000 lives while stationed at Auschwitz. That was only within two months time, 16 May 1942 to 11 July 1942!

One particular example Gröning cited himself was watching an SS Guard on the off-load ramp to the line of train-cars snatch by the leg a crying baby from the mother’s arms and like swinging a baseball bat slammed its body and head against a half-ton truck until the infant stopped crying… dead, blood (and matter) splattered everywhere. Gröning’s words, rather calm words actually.

Gröning went on to say matter-of-factly ‘that it would’ve been more humane to shoot both the baby and mother at close-range, quickly killing them with one bullet. That’s how I would’ve done it’ he explained. It was the 20th century.

Why is this window of time and human behavior so critical to learn from? Were not the Nuremberg Trials sufficient, the final verdict to stop forever these types of extreme barbarity? Read on.

Stage III — Establish Fear of Consequences Against Doubters

To keep strict total control of the masses, or a dictator’s followers or minions, or say an individual supreme leader, President, King, Caliph/Grand Mufti, Pope, or cult of personality, establishing an extreme fear of brutal consequences upon followers who doubt or question that supreme individual’s authority is an age old repeated tactic dating back at least 4,000 years, likely much more. The tactic has been repackaged, renamed, and disguised an infinite amount of times and ways throughout humankind’s history.

The degrees of consequences or punishment against dissenters, doubters, skeptics, traitors, etc, have varied as well, but with the same goals achieved upon the masses:  assimilation, Monism, and total obedience. Those too have also been repackaged, redefined, and disguised repeatedly throughout humanity’s history. There are three types I personally think are the best examples of total control by extreme fear and consequences. This can also be termed forced assimilation or coerced assimilation and they come in many guises. I will list only three.

  1. Ethnic assimilation — this is often nationalism, or hyper-patriotism on steroids. If a majority of a population seek strictly a homogeneous identity—not pluralism or diversity, i.e. one race, one religion, one language, and one culture/tradition—and are willing and very aggressive to achieve and protect (spread?) this ideology at all costs, that is forced ethnic assimilation. Almost the entire 19th and 20th-centuries are littered with forced ethnic assimilation:  Imperial Japan (Ryukyuans), Nazi Germany of course, Soviet Russia (South Ossentia-Georgia), and the United States (Native American Indians) have histories of forced ethnic assimilation.
  2. Political assimilation — this typically happens with refugees or immigrants expelled from their native lands for various political reasons, primarily because they are simply minorities there with little-to-no voice, economic, or political clout. When they arrive in their new country, by their 2nd generation the same conditions and sociopolitical treatment back in their homeland then gains momentum in their new country. Example? Jim Crow laws—today repackaged and covertly disguised in the private and public sectors for many new minorities. One such political assimilation today are our At-Will labor laws. Should a wrongful termination law-suit be filed, guess who has the financial clout/leverage to drag the law-suit out and/or make it financially unfeasible to finish? The single ex-employee or the business/corporation?
  3. Religious assimilation — forced conversion of minorities to a state or majority belief-system, or its opposite secularization, has been part of humanity’s behavior and historical record since well before the 3rd millennium BCE. The forced assimilations of Jews from ancient Syro-Palestine to Europe are very well known. Typically and gradually this is done by restricting the minorities (or perceived threats/enemies) from social, economic, educational, and political access or participation, i.e. more and more isolation. Example? Several years ago I applied for a teaching position at a private, Christian Liberal Arts college, but was denied a final interview and hiring because of my personal Humanist Freethinking beliefs. Although the college could’ve easily fabricated a legit state-federal explanation to any investigating authorities, I was completely qualified for the position… with the exception of my own personal, non-Christian off-campus world-view. It wasn’t forced religious assimilation at that point, but if educator jobs were near impossible to land in a majority (overwhelmingly?) Christian-Fundamental nation, they certainly would’ve progressed toward that end. The same scenarios take place in many radical Islamic regions. There is no difference.
Stage IV — Turning Decent People into Slaughter Machines

Tip:  Be careful when you assert that this slaughtering behavior happens only to others, but never to yourself when thrown into mob-herd violence and pandemonium or when there is no escape from the system, the machine. You probably do not know yourself enough when exposed daily to extreme duress and fear for an extended period of time; months, years, most of your life. One doesn’t know with any certainty what it is like to walk in someone else’s shoes for 1,000 or 5,000 miles until they actually do it. History has shown time and again humans are quiet capable of the most horrific acts. It happens even to the best of people.

That said, thankfully modern scientists, cognitive neurologists, counselors, embryologists, pathologists, geneticists, psychologists, paleoanthropologists, historians, et al, are discovering every year that we can now recognize the early signs/symptoms of an impending Slaughter Cult and their leaders. Since at least the Nuremberg Trials and the recent formation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands, humanity as a general whole is on its way to further establishing accountability for behavior and enforcement against any national leaders and their members/military for crimes against humanity, including massacres and genocides. However, there is still much to be changed, done, and collectively fought for and defended.

Most people today may be unaware that most/many of the judges at the Nuremberg Trials were German-Nazi sympathizers. This was the reason why so many Nazi war criminals received, in world-opinion, light sentences and punishments or were never pursued. Without realizing it the Allies, reformed Germans, and perhaps the rest of the interested world set a precedence for future war-criminals. This precedence of getting away with it and the historical fact that other later tribunals or international courts followed suit, thus creating (though in slightly reduced occurrences) our perpetual genocides and crimes against humanity still happening to this day and since the European Holocaust. Yes, progress has been made in little steps, but they have not eradicated genocides and wide-spread misanthropy.

What is perhaps alarming (disturbing?) to most/some proud, patriotic Americans is the fact that the United States government endorses and helps enforce the ICC trials and decisions on foreign leaders and nations, BUT does not allow the ICC (or any nation) to bring the U.S. or U.S. leaders to trial for any crimes against humanity (100-years ago, 70-years ago, during Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq, or last year), let alone be convicted. Here once again, precedence is set for radical exceptions, if it can be called that! Russia has made the same self-proclaimed exemption. Therefore, this implicitly tells the world there ARE INDEED people and nations above laws for humanity. With that precedence set since post-1945, then yes, even decent Americans can be made into slaughter-machines if they follow their Leader(s) wherever and however in all capacities, ala General Jacob H. Smith, Lt. Col. Oliver North, so on and so on. We can be made into obedient robots.

And this following 11-minute video sums up exactly how a once humane, kind, helpful, patient, tolerant, collaborative,  tactfully determined and compromising child, adolescent, person or group can be turned into the antithesis of those traits and into an indifferent, hateful, slaughtering machine by the same personality types:

A Precedence of Exoneration

Now we have an idea why the worst forms of hate, slaughter, and genocide of entire groups or populations are still happening in the 21st-century in several parts of the world. These cult of personalities still believe (as our current POTUS does) they are untouchable, above the laws, and even if caught will glide through the sentences given by a weak and disunited, non-unanimous international court. This explains why a man such as Oskar Gröning (above), who indifferently stated, ‘it would have been more decent and quick to just shoot the baby and mother at close-range with one bullet’ escaped any sort of justice for the remainder of his life. Accessory to complicit genocide behavior was exonerated, excused, acceptable in 1945. For the most part misanthropy, hate crimes, genocide on industrial scales are still exonerated in 2019.

So back to my initial question at the start, are you a racist, or bigot, elitist, xenophobe, partisan, antagonist, hero or villain, segregist, war-criminal or misanthropist? Can you become an accessory to any of those behaviors?

Who do you think you are? A hater or a lover? Fighter or Peace-maker? These questions can be answered by your own knowledge-base and breath of your first-hand experience. Just ask yourself, How large, how vast is my world-wide cultural library, past and present? How frequently do I add to it, revise it, and correct it? Is it a 10 x 10 x 8-foot unit/container or is it a multi-story Library of Congress, of Britain, of Canada, or Russia? Be honestly raw with yourself and I think you’ll have a more true answer.  🙂

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75 thoughts on “Can Hatred Be Eradicated?

    • I can certainly appreciate that tall order of tolerance Ark! LOL In fact, I’d be prone to join you in those attempts… just in case you had the insane idea (death-wish?) of watching your Reds play in Old Trafford in-person! 😵😄

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ark, I’m so glad you brought up football!!! 😉

      It seems my Gunners have lost their freakin’ heads in declaring/hinting interest in Barca’s Coutinho!!! WTH!? A possible £110-million!? 😮

      Grrrrr, it appears about the only thing we can do is get good/great players on loan. 😦

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  1. I think I was happier being ignorant to the information you provided in this post. I admit that history has never interested me, politics haven’t either. I enjoy your posts, even if they expose me to things that are unpleasant to think about. It’s amazing that I have made it through 40 years of life without knowing so much. Those in charge want it that way though.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Tracy! 🙂 I do understand “ignorance is bliss.” All of us require periods of decompression from life, from others, from family(?) 😛 and struggles, definitely! Long periods of high cortisol levels in the body is NOT healthy, but detrimental! Much shorter life with more medical complications if cortisol isn’t properly managed. ❤

      Yes, exposure to unpleasant information, human behavior, etc, is often the best way to learn the best solutions. Hence, the entire purpose of my blog: exposing Taboo subjects rather than fearing them or doing the ostrich head-burial in the sand move. 😉 However, like good intelligent parents, we MUST take our young beautiful children to get those necessary vaccinations… that make them bawl with lungs like Hyenas! 😬 Geezz, I hated those Doctor visits.

      Nonetheless, to encourage you to not be timid/shy, but brave 😉 … keep this profound lesson and speech in mind and very close to heart…

      First they came for the Communists
      And I did not speak out
      Because I was not a Communist

      Then they came for the Socialists
      And I did not speak out
      Because I was not a Socialist

      Then they came for the trade unionists
      And I did not speak out
      Because I was not a trade unionist

      Then they came for the Jews
      And I did not speak out
      Because I was not a Jew

      Then they came for me
      And there was no one left
      To speak out for me
      Martin Niemöller

      We must speak-out, stand-up for, and if absolutely necessary, even fight when it could mean physical harm or death, against those who would exterminate most. Once depraved indifference (from fear and/or rage) has infected/embedded in the human brain/neurology… it is near impossible to change/cure! THIS is why I am not afraid of exposing or sharing here unpleasant, awkward, horrible subjects, the taboo subjects. What’s the alternative if they don’t get confronted? 😉

      Many thanks for your thoughts Tracy, Keep ’em coming, please.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Is extreme human rage and hatred genetic, hereditary?

    Yes. Just look at the normal behavior of the other great ape species (other than bonobos, which are the exception people always point to, but they are the odd one out), and of primitive hunter-gatherer human cultures which preserve the way of life of our distant ancestors, with per-capita rates of death from violence which are not just higher but far higher than those of modern civilized societies, even when our exceptional outbursts of violence like World War II are taken into account.

    If you extrapolate the death rates from intergroup violence (“war”) in typical hunter-gatherer societies to the present world population of eight billion, you would get 960 million battlefield casualties per generation. Even the 20th century with all its horrors was not even close to being that bloody.

    What is really artificial, learned behavior is the relatively peaceful and compassionate character of modern society. We no longer consider things like witch-burnings to be light entertainment suitable for taking children to see, as our ancestors in the Dark Ages did. We’d be nauseated to watch convicted criminals thrown to animals to be eaten alive in front of paying crowds of spectators, as was routine in Roman times. We wouldn’t countenance religious ceremonies involving tens of thousands of prisoners of war having their hearts cut out while they were still alive, as the Aztecs did. Even the Nazi government felt a need to hide its genocidal practices from its people (and the Trump regime today tries to hide and deny the much lesser cruelties it is committing at the border). A few centuries ago people gloried in such behavior without embarrassment. Tamerlane, Ghengis Khan, the Crusaders, and innumerable others spread over forty thousand years would have contemptuously dismissed Gröning and even Hitler as sniveling humanitarians.

    That is the real nature of humanity. The discomfiture we feel today at such behavior, and the fact that most of the time we don’t do such things any more, is a historical aberration — an artifact of modernity. It is an immensely precious triumph over the horrors of nature. The fact that it takes substantial amounts of brainwashing and conditioning to push people even a little way back toward their natural state of callous savagery is welcome evidence of how robust the civilizing process of the last few centuries has been.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Ahhhh, Infidel. What an excellent comment and view-point! 100 thank yous. 🙂

      Medical sciences, as well as the related influencing eco-biology, seem to be showing us that over several generations the external/environmental factors WILL gradually change/morph our genetics for adaptation. What is often misunderstood is that this process takes many decades and centuries to notice/see the subtleties of change/adaptation. For scientists of human Evolution, this is no surprise at all.

      However, our biggest problem now are the constant attacks and purveyors of propaganda/rhetoric and dissemination of false information: science deniers. More specific, the proponents of ancient, antiquated Superstitions and Boogidy-Woogidy spirits and gremlins. Those science deniers, whether they realize it or not, are directly or indirectly enabling and feeding misanthropy, hate, and the WORST of human nature. Yes? 😦

      Your excellent point of more “micro” atrocities, intergroup violence — within our communities, families and extended families — is very well taken. Wow! 960-million deaths per generation!!!!??? 😮 THAT is mind-boggling, more incomprehensible! 😢 Why aren’t we doing much better on critical-analysis and conflict resolution rather than constantly building machines and weapons of MORE killing on industrial scales? You don’t have to answer that Infidel. It was somewhat rhetorical; I know several of the answers.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Well, science-denial mainly enables stupidity and error, and historically religion has encouraged the worst tendencies of humanity, but it’s far less successful now than in the past. Today in the West, people who challenge religion are often insulted and lied about. 200 years ago they were socially ostracized and sometimes charged with blasphemy. 500 years ago they were burned alive. There is still the same pattern of decreasing violence over time.

        That’s 960 million battlefield deaths per generation, not deaths overall, based on a typical figure of deaths from intergroup violence equaling 12% of total population per generation in pre-agricultural societies (12% of 8 billion is 960 million). Total deaths from violence in those cultures are even higher since further deaths from violence within groups (equivalent to murder, not war) must also be included and are very high by modern standards. Again, there is a general pattern of violence decreasing over time. Analysis of records of crime from medieval times suggests that murder was much more common relative to population size than in modern times, but still much less common than in hunter-gatherer societies.

        I would argue that we are doing better on conflict resolution, and that that’s one of the reasons why the number of war deaths in fact is nothing close to that 960-million-per-generation figure that it would be if we were still behaving like our ancestors.

        Terrible things have happened in more recent history, but again, the fact that most modern leaders and perpetrators feel the need to hide and deny what they’re doing and use euphemistic language shows that the civilizing process has not been fully reversed even in such cases. The Mongols and Crusaders boasted of their deeds with no such inhibition. Accounts of warfare between tribal groups in the Amazon describe the slaughter of enemy children as a joyous, festive occasion. Not even the Nazis committed their genocides in public squares with ordinary people joining in as a festive occasion. Even they felt they had to hide what they were doing from the German masses and use depersonalizing technology like gas chambers because carrying out mass killings by shooting (the original method) proved too demoralizing to the soldiers who were ordered to do it. It wasn’t possible for even the Nazis to de-civilize most people far enough.

        Whether there’s any genetic component to the decreasing human tolerance for violence is an interesting question. Conventional wisdom would say no, because there hasn’t been enough time (500 years is only about 25 human generations). I’m not so sure — our experience with animal breeding has shown that substantial changes can arise in a surprisingly small number of generations. On the other hand, it’s not obvious why there would have been a strong selective pressure in favor of decreasing tolerance for violence. Richard Dawkins, one of the greatest living evolutionary biologists, briefly considered the question in one of his books, and as I recall he considered it genuinely mysterious why humans have become so much less cruel in such a short time.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Infidel, you are reminding me of Dr. Steven Pinker’s acclaimed book Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Familiar with it?

          Pinker compiled a wide-range of data and evidence that modern humanity, 21st-century humans and civilization that despite mainstream news media, we actually HAVE made epic steps toward a better existence and life… as a whole, on a global average over the last several decades, perhaps century. Yet, he wisely points out too there still needs to be more progress, more sound reasoning, more solid science, humanism, and altruism/philanthropy, no doubt! And since my favorite Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson likes Dr. Pinker as well, I have great respect for Pinker too — Wilson’s endorsement of him is good enough for me. 😉

          I’m juggling several obligations right now Infidel so I’ll have to come back to this a bit later to finish. Apologies Sir. Thanks for your understanding; continue if you’re so inclined.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Professor: Yes, I’ve read Enlightenment Now (and reviewed it here), as well as his previous book The Better Angels of Our Nature. That vast amount of data makes them pretty large books, but he was well aware that many people would be inclined to reject his conclusions and that he therefore had to present all the available evidence backing them up. As it is, I find his case practically irrefutable, especially since I was previously aware of what primitive societies are actually like and had never fallen for any of the “noble savage” horseshit that’s so popular in some quarters. Pinker was right that we need to understand as accurately as possible why things have improved so much, to make sure the improvement continues and we don’t revert to our natural state.

          He did suggest a number of possible reasons for the decline of human cruelty, some of which I found less plausible than others. One that I did find plausible was the growing political and social power of women. Females are generally much less violent and aggressive than males, and again, this holds true among great ape species generally. But women have only acquired a substantial amount of power over politics and society in the last 200 years at most.

          With regard to this:

          are you a racist, or bigot, elitist, xenophobe, partisan, antagonist, hero or villain, segregist, war-criminal or misanthropist?

          Most of us here, I’m sure, would deny being racists, xenophobes, potential war criminals, etc. I think you’re right that a more cosmopolitan awareness helps. I have been to Japan, Germany, and several Arab countries, being able to meet and (in varying degrees) talk with people there in their own languages, and gotten firsthand impressions of the cultures (although it helped that I had plenty of prior knowledge). This kind of experience does inoculate a person against considering some foreign or other “out” group as just a faceless, homogenous mass. While I know that culture can make huge differences to how people think and behave, nevertheless I know all human individuals are human individuals first and foremost.

          I do wonder, though, at how the standards for such things shift. For example, racism in the sense of a belief that some races are inherently more intelligent and capable than others was an almost universal belief until maybe a century ago, and in large parts of the world it still is. The fact that Lincoln hated seeing black people enslaved and treated cruelly doesn’t mean he thought they were equal to whites. Similarly, for most of history it was generally believed that women were less mentally capable than men and needed to be under male supervision for their own good. So the rejection of such beliefs would not have struck people in those days as evidence of progress, but simply as bizarre. Most Americans and Europeans a century ago would have though us insane, not advanced, for allowing gay marriage. It makes me wonder how standards will continue to evolve in the future. One obvious example is that it’s very likely people in a few decades will judge our time to be barbarous and immoral for the vast amount of cruelty to animals it tolerates within the meat industry, and I hope the practice of eating animal flesh itself will be rejected as primitive and disgusting. But I have a feeling the standards for being humane and civilized are likely to shift in other way too, ways we can no more guess at than people 100 years ago could have guessed that equal marriage rights for gays would one day become a hallmark of a humane society.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Just real quick Infidel… I just thought of this and wanted to mention it before I forgot it! LOL

            Regarding the hereditary, genetic, or transgenerational passing of aggression to offspring/descendants via (maybe?) our neurology/hormones which naturally tie in with the hypothalamus, I wrote two different blog-posts related to this question. One on my paternal family, the other on my maternal family, respectfully… Legacy and My Heretical Heritage. Check them out if interested and you have the time. 🙂

            My quick point is this, with parental-familial cognitive and behavioral patterns/tendencies most certainly influencing development of infants, toddlers, children, and adolescents, and mine being traced and confirmed back to the 1600’s on my Mom’s side and late 1800’s on my Father’s side — it’s peculiar and utterly intriguing that in our DNA the XX chromosomes (most females) are much more hearty and resilient (in repairing itself) than the XY chromosomes (most males) — this coincidence(?) is often reflected in my families’ long genealogy. We know, ironically or not, so much more about my maternal lines! Puzzle that. LOL

            Anyway, thought I’d throw that in here. 😉

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          • Oh! See, got interrupted and forgot my closing to that! Hahaha! My point was that my maternal ancestors come from the Waldensians of NW Italy/Piedmont toward Lyon, France. The Waldensians were hunted by the Roman Catholic Church as heretics, many of them slaughtered at the Piedmont Easter Massacre in 1655. The Waldensians were a passive, peaceful, poor group of Believers/Community. My Mom, her mother, and her grandmother, and so on were all quite gentle women married to patient, lovingly tolerant men.

            To sooth any worries you might have Infidel, obviously, not all of us were caught, tortured, and killed. Wooohooo! We are/I am here to tell about it! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Infidel. I agree with most of what you wrote except the last part.

      The fact that it takes substantial amounts of brainwashing and conditioning to push people even a little way back toward their natural state of callous savagery is welcome evidence of how robust the civilizing process of the last few centuries has been.

      As we have seen anytime one group gets unhindered control over another group, those restraints are released. From some slave owners in the US doing horrific acts on their slaves who they had complete control over, religious cults with actions committed by one or more higher ups being done against the lower members ( such as taking others wives, and abusing their children with their knowing about it ), horrible mistreatment including death for minor offenses in different political groups such as Israel / Palestinians, (I know we disagree on this as it seems you quit talking to me over my saying the treatment of the Palestinians is unreasonable and must be stopped) and the mistreatment of minor groups such as the LGBTQ in Chechnya where the abuse by the state is horrific, and then they try to make the family kill the accused, to even the treatment of females in some Islamic states.
      I think civilization is a thin veneer we are always trying to shore up against the weight of our emotional bigotry trying to break through.
      Be well. Hugs

      Liked by 3 people

      • Scottie, this is not the place to discuss this, but since you have deliberately lied here about what I said, I have to respond. As my e-mail at the time made clear, the issue was that you made the outrageous and unforgivable statement that Israeli policy is like that of Nazi Germany, not just that it was “unreasonable”.

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        • Hello Infidel. I agree I would rather not discuss this on the Professors channel as it takes others into what should be a private debate. I do not know what email you are talking about. We were arguing about the Palestinian / Israeli conflict with us at opposite sides of the argument, You kept insisting I read a post you made on it, I did , I was tired, and going to bed , I informed you I disagreed with the post and pointed out I had made other posts on my own blog you could look at , and I went to bed. In the following days I realized you had totally cut me off and my opinion out of your discourse. That is your right, but it doesn’t stop me from both understanding good points you make and disagreeing with you. I have tried reaching out to you and you disregard any attempt. As for the current total attempt to destroy the Palestinians by Israel we can again join the debate if you wish.
          So here we are. Hugs

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        • Hello Infidel. I did a email search ( my current email total is about is about 44 thousand. I did find one email from you on the subject. It was as you say.

          Scottie, I am writing in reference to this:

          https://scottiestoybox.com/2019/05/17/israel-thinks-palestinians-have-no-human-rights-so-killing-murdering-them-is-ok/

          Chomsky’s bullshit is bad enough — his bigotry in this issue is a matter of record — but then you said this:

          “Seems WWII Germany is providing Israel with policy. The extermination of ‘the other’ is on the other foot now.”

          Seriously? You’re calling Israel’s policy the same as that of Nazi Germany and accusing Israel of “extermination”? This issue came up in the comments on your earlier post a few days ago. About half of Israel’s Jewish population consists of refugees from Arab countries where their ancestors were persecuted for centuries. Since Israel was established it has faced a series of wars launched by Arab countries with the aim of destroying it, followed by ongoing terrorist campaigns which continue to this day, orchestrated by fanatical religious irredentist groups like Hamas (who hate gay people even more than they hate Jews). In the course of defending itself (yes, militarily) against this, Israel has shown a degree of restraint that probably no other country on Earth would show under similar provocation, and goes to almost ridiculous extremes to minimize civilian casualties. And you’re comparing this to the regime that carried out the Holocaust?

          I can accept differences of opinion on a lot of things. I can’t stomach this. Not even close. This is absolutely outrageous and horrifying. Did you really mean what you said?

          Infidel753

          Yes Infidel I can say the current program by Benjamin Netanyahu is the same extermination and denial of rights as the Nazi’s did to the Jewish people. These are facts.

          Hugs

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      • Scottie — again, this is not the place. If you wanted to discuss this, the appropriate thing to do was reply to my e-mail (posting someone else’s e-mails in a public forum is generally considered unethical). My reaction was entirely to do with the post I linked in the e-mail, not the earlier debate. Comparing Israeli policy with Auschwitz is too stupid to even discuss. Never contact me again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hello Infidel. Sorry to offend you. I was really trying to understand why you thought the oppression of one group was different than the oppression of another group. Sorry about posting your email if that offends you, but why should it if you stand by it, but you wont acknowledge me another way. You do not see the same degradation and demeaning of Palestinian life that is happening now is the same progression that happened up to the Nazi concentration camps and further? That was my point and that you wont even consider it is rather telling. Never more means more than one group, it means all of us. Hugs

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        • Hello Infidel. OK as you request this will be the last time I attempt to communicate with you. It sadness me as I respected your opinions and willingness to discuss sensitive issues. I am really surprised and shocked that one dissenting opinion pushed our relationship over the edge. However as much as it saddens me I will not attempt to contact you again. I will however like comments you make I agree with, I will still go to your blog, and I will follow up with your comments as I see fit not expecting you to acknowledge I exist. I am sorry it has to end this way. Best wishes. Hugs

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    • What is really artificial, learned behavior is the relatively peaceful and compassionate character of modern society.

      I don’t know if I completely agree with you here. I think reciprocal altruism is as much a part of our genetics as the violent part. Ultimately we are successful as a species because we cooperate, and that simply couldn’t be achieved if peacefulness and compassion wasn’t also a part of us. Ruling with fear and coercion can work for a short time, but studies of primates indicates that even this tends to be short lived in it’s effectiveness. It seems to me that the choice to try to cooperate or ally with a neighboring group was at least as reasonable an option as warring with them, when you consider the possibility of being completely wiped out as a people, or reduced significantly enough to impact the genetic variety needed to maintain a healthy tribe. It also seems that at a time when we were more acutely aware of the scarceness of resources and we didn’t know how to farm, would lead to a lot more fear of the competition that other tribes might provide and this might lead to opting for more violent choices over more peaceful ones. Thus making the decision almost one of practicality over violence being our true nature, and peacefulness and compassion a learned behavior.

      I’ll admit to not being an anthropological expert, but it also seems that our success cooperatively within a tribe is what allowed populations to grow, but this at this same time led to tribes more frequently bumping into each other and this typically ended violently. My point being is that both sides of our nature were relevant. As we’ve put away a lot of mysticism and come to understand how things work better, we can opt for cooperation more than violence. We simply aren’t as isolated and we’ve simply seen that despite different skin colors or religion, that more can be accomplished through cooperation without our loved ones having to die in wars.

      I could just be an optimist. lol

      Liked by 2 people

      • All this is true, and reciprocal altruism is certainly innate in humans (and other primates). I didn’t intend to imply that all our peaceful and cooperative behavior is learned rather than innate; what I meant was that the extreme degree of peaceful and cooperative behavior seen today, and the extremely low levels of violence (compared to previous periods of history and prehistory) is learned rather than innate. The fact that it’s so historically unusual bears this out, I think. For whatever reason, we’ve learned to act far more in accordance with that side of our nature, and far less on the basis of the violent and cruel side, than our ancestors did.

        At each stage of development — from hunter-gatherers to agriculture, from smaller to larger and more complex societies, from superstition to enlightenment, from agriculture to industry, from industry to the post-industrial data-centric world we have now — violence and cruelty have decreased compared to the previous stage. That’s consistent with a gradual process of moving away from nature psychologically, as we’ve moved away from nature in other aspects of our way of life.

        It’s also noteworthy that in nature, reciprocal altruism generally only applies within the social group. Chimpanzees show a lot of altruism within the social group, but males generally kill outsider males on sight, if they can. This also seems to be the case with primitive humans, which is how the Old Testament can have God ordering the Hebrews to slaughter other tribes right after giving the commandment “thou shalt not murder”. The commandment applied only within the tribe. With more civilized humans, the distinction between in-group and out-group broke down as our social groups grew so large that they included individuals not personally known to each other (chimpanzees can’t do this, which caps the size of their groups at about 120 members, that being the largest number one individual can easily get to know and recognize), so that it stopped being possible to tell insider from outsider in many cases.

        Ultimately we are successful as a species because we cooperate, and that simply couldn’t be achieved if peacefulness and compassion wasn’t also a part of us.

        There also needs to be an arena in which such cooperation can work. I think the fact that we’re related most closely to chimpanzees and bonobos (which have much bigger social groups than other primates) was probably critical. At the other end of the spectrum, orangutans are, as far as I know, the only ape species which has no social groups and each individual lives in isolation. Adult males fight each other viciously on contact, and there’s almost no cooperation between individuals. So even though orangutans are probably the second most intelligent species on Earth after ourselves, they can never set off down the road to civilization no matter how smart they become. The lack of social groupings makes it impossible.

        And I agree with your last point. Intelligence and reasoning do matter, since they can discover the objective fact that cooperation is usually a more effective way of reaching goals than violence is — especially with the extremely destructive weapons we now have.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Intelligence and reasoning do matter, since they can discover the objective fact that cooperation is usually a more effective way of reaching goals than violence is…

          Infidel, please excuse me if I have shared this quote with you before, but it’s apropos here for your and Swarn’s discussion/viewpoints I think:

          Exclusion makes us suffer. Inclusion makes us thrive.
          —- E. O. Wilson

          And what I love about the acclaimed entomologist Dr. E.O. Wilson’s contextual meaning of that is he has drawn this theoretical truth from his lifetime studies and research of Eusocial and Superorganism behaviors of at least 6 different insects. We humans, though not yet perfecting it, are mammals/primates that clearly have shown the capacity for eusocial behavior! At the very least we highly intelligent humans have 6 species now we could greatly learn from. 🙂

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        • Sorry for the delay in response to your excellent response here. It’s a good way of putting it, that we’ve become less violent as we’ve lived more apart from nature. In many ways I like to think that humans have not only domesticated other animals but we’ve really domesticated ourselves. Domestication, in a way, sacrifices certain freedoms for increased leisure time and safety.

          In your comparison to chimpanzees I think you’ve pointed out an important difference between us and our closest genetic relatives. We somehow have the capacity, and maybe this is a relatively new capacity to not only have compassion for those we know but also those we don’t, provided we can categorize them as part of the same “tribe”. In an interview Sam Harris did with Yuval Harari, Harari said an interesting thing, which was to praise nationalism. He said that nationalism has allowed us to care for people in a way we never had before simply because they are members of our country, even if they live a 1000 miles away. As ugly as nationalism can be at times in the lack of compassion it might demonstrate towards other humans outside borders, there is some truth to what he says. He says that we’ve made a jump to caring for just the people we know at about 1000, to potentially caring for a 100 million people in a country. He says the jump in order of magnitude to 8 billion people, is much less than the number of orders of magnitude we jumped going from 1000 to 100 million. I don’t know…it made me a bit hopeful.

          It makes sense that chimpanzees and early humans simply see other groups as competition and couldn’t see that they were fundamentally the same, even if they might have had different colored skin or different cultural practices. As we’ve learned more about what humans actually are, and also been able to spread cultural practices, and information farther and wider, it seems that this has helped us understand that even thought we might not know someone personally, they are likely fundamentally quite similar to us. Tribalism is a big part of who we are and you’re right that the in-group/out-group mentality is hard to shake, but I think a big part of the reason for us growing more peaceful and compassionate is that we’ve been able to hijack that tribalism mentality to broaden the definition of tribe to human. I guess that’s why I’m a humanist. 🙂

          As I look at say an issue like immigration, legal or otherwise, it seems that in the U.S. the differences extends to people who stop at nationalism to define “tribe” and those that think human is the better definition of “tribe”. It seems like a big gulf between those two definition, but like Harari says, maybe it’s not when you consider where we started from.

          By the way, I also remember reading that the Gibbon is also another solitary primate…not sure how close a relative they are to us compared to orangutans.

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        • @Swarn

          As ugly as nationalism can be at times in the lack of compassion it might demonstrate towards other humans outside borders, there is some truth to what he says. He says that we’ve made a jump to caring for just the people we know at about 1000, to potentially caring for a 100 million people in a country. He says the jump in order of magnitude to 8 billion people, is much less than the number of orders of magnitude we jumped going from 1000 to 100 million. I don’t know…it made me a bit hopeful.

          Maybe . . . Yet if nationalism did this in an uncomplicated way, how do we explain Red State/Blue State divides within the same country? People can have vastly different perceptions of who is a member and who is NOT within a national identity beyond obvious outsiders. People also have multiple identities (they contain multitudes) in which their national identity might be one part of who they are and how they see themselves, but they also might have other identities that intersect and challenge each other.

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      • Just interrupting briefly here to say HELLO Swarn!!! Very happy to see you here!!! 🙂 Don’t be a total stranger, okay? Pop-in every once in awhile and give your deeply valuable thoughts, suggestions, opinions, etc. Okay? ❤

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        • Trying Professor! As you can tell by my blog production, having two little ones has given me less time, and to be honest your posts while always extremely well written, are not digestable in the amount of time I usually have. But I just want you to know that I always remain impressed by your knowledge and thoroughness!

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          • Oh goodness, thank you very much Swarn for those kind words! PLEASE do not feel bad or obligated to keep up with posts, discussions, and forcing readings/dialogues that deserve intensive consideration and articulation. Believe me! I completely understand! 😄 I know full well as a former Dad of little ones, you have your hands full!!! Yet, it is SO WORTH IT!!! 😉 I already knew the reasons your WordPress activity had diminished: you have 3 dear ones (wife included – LOL 😛 ) to look after my Friend.

            However, I did want to make it known you are missed, your keen insight is missed, and your talents to engage so positively and constructively on MANY topics… is missed. It’s all good, just try to stop by when time and loved ones permit good Sir. ❤

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      • …humans have not only domesticated other animals but we’ve really domesticated ourselves

        That’s a good way of thinking of it. Certainly the differences between modern humans and our (say) Cro-Magnon ancestors are somewhat like the differences between domesticated animals and their wild ancestors.

        Now that we’ve decoupled the perception of the “in-group” from knowing individuals personally, we’ve opened ourselves to having multiple overlapping and even conflicting “tribal” affiliations. For example, I’m American by birth and citizenship, but British by ancestry and (to a great extent) culture. In some ways I feel I would have more in common with a Saudi Arabian atheist than with an American fundamentalist.

        I don’t know whether many people’s in-group will ever expand to include the entire species. Generally, an in-group feeling is meaningless without an out-group to define it against — it’s easier to feel solidarity if it’s solidarity against something. Maybe impersonal threats like climate change or disease can take on that role, but probably only for more sophisticated thinkers. And we always have to remember that all these civilizing processes are at different stages in different regions. There are still tens of millions of people (at least) whose mental horizon is bounded by a small literal tribe.

        If memory serves, Gibbons live in long-term monogamous pairs, so they aren’t solitary even though they aren’t really social either.

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        • Infidel, I am enjoying your discussion and viewpoints with Swarn and his with you. 🙂

          Both of you are pointing out quite well just how deeply embedded our primate DNA/instincts — after some 100-200+ millenia — still very much exist in all of us Homo sapiens and rears its ugly head in these horrific ways. That said, our worst behaviors overall across the planet SEEM to be lessening as I believe you and me discussed earlier regarding Harvard’s Dr. Steven Pinker’s research and very extensive data accumulation on our human history wrote in his two recent books. Comparatively, since humanity’s first written records and archaeological evidence, we are slowly (too slowly?) improving general living standards for many more, however, as Pinker also points out we still have a long journey ahead and much work to keep doing as a species.

          For me, what IS CLEAR is that war-crimes, crimes against humanity, mass murders/genocide, etc, etc, all typically have risen and rise then erupt inside regions of (extreme) poverty, poor access to basic resources, being (further) exploited by those disadvantages by other tribes, groups, or nations, and finally and much more critically: horribly inadequate quality education. There are some rare exceptions, yes. But if one studies closely all the defeated, collapsed groups and civilizations of the past, those aforementioned conditions existed in varying significant ways.

          What type and level education am I advocating? Not just basic K thru 6 or 12, but BROAD quality education covering all fields of languages (not just one’s native tongue), philosophy, literature, all of the humanities, mathematics (including advanced mathematics), most all disciplines of social and natural sciences, and some medicinal knowledge, those are what’s required to diminish a population’s suffering and vulnerability! And it goes without saying (or does it need saying? 🙄) humanity needs much, MUCH LESS or ZERO of the many antiquated bogus Superstitions/religions from Antiquity. Those are the biggest culprits for much/most of our atrocious acts of exclusion, prejudices, caste systems, and hate!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Well done Professor! Best to maintain some humility (and vigilance) knowing that the human animal has proven thoughout its history that it only takes a nudge . . . at the right moment . . . in the right environment . . . and there we ourselves are, not so very different from others in our capacity for unbridled hatred. Dangerous to automatically trust the ubiquitously ‘nice’ people (e.g. the holier-than-thou, the overt do-gooders), as they are often the most self-deceived in this (and other) respect(s). I tend more to trust people who acknowledge a full range of their susceptabilities whilst not being self-pitying, or humble-bragging. All the best, Professor.

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    • Thank you kind Sir. It is always wonderful when you stop by, visit, and share YOUR exceptional wisdom, eloquent prose, and witty humor! 🙂 ❤

      I tend more to trust people who acknowledge a full range of their susceptibilities whilst not being self-pitying, or humble-bragging.

      Now WHY can I not help thinking you were nodding toward me, pointing your eyes my direction when you wrote that!? Because I am MORE THAN HAPPY to embrace my primal beast, allowing it out to play when appropriate, of course, and all consenting and participating. But I wonder…

      Do your fine, tricky words there hold more, obscured just enough to tease the imagination, the delicious primal!? 😈😄

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  4. Hello Professor. I did it. I did it! I read the entire post in mostly one go, I fought all attempts at distractions to the point of turning off all other on going audio or visual activities, ( I stopped my other monitor playing news clips and turned down the other sounds in the room ) , I made the cat on my desk purr softer, kicked the one in my arms to the floor, I even added several shots of Vodka to my mental acuity, and I think I understood the entire post !!!!

    Well done sir, you sure do know how to educate me while bruising my brain. Or is it bruising my brain to educate me? Any way I would like to know how many continuing education credits I get to add to my record for getting this far?

    Seriously though, great post. I fear we have not come as far from our base emotional wants or needs as we really want to think we have. We may have big brains but most of the males are driven by a different organ and all of us humans can rationalize even the worst of our self / each other if they are in our group. I think of Roy Moore or the many religious child abusers who forgive and cover for each other and the congregants who still love them.

    Love you. Hugs

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    • Hahahahahaha!!!! 🤣 Oh my goodness Scottie, I have to stop laughing (and crying with pain in my ribs!) before I can properly/seriously reply to you/this! So please give me a minute or 60. Geezzz, where’s the nearest towel? I must wipe my face… perhaps change my undergarments too, or for the Brits Hariod and Ark… my knickers. 😛

      You just MADE MY DAY Scottie! ❤

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    • Thank you Scottie for your kind words as well as your feedback. It is as usual, always welcomed, always centering and balancing… from your unique and significant POV. 🙂

      I fear we have not come as far from our base emotional wants or needs as we really want to think we have.

      Well, there are still way too many who firmly believe that all of humanity starts out horribly depraved, even as an ovum in our mother’s ovaries because of Original Sin, the fabricated necessary “problem” (sin) they must create (but retro-actively) in order to offer THEIR solutions. All three Abrahamic religions do this, but today with modern science and higher quality advanced education — more impartial PUBLIC education in the Western world — and most importantly the shift of MORE interdisciplinary cooperation and corroboration of academia and scholarship… we are as a species slowly making headway. Perhaps the very first misnomer and lie science dismantled was Geocentricity. Fortunately, Nicolaus Copernicus began the tipping of the first domino of 2,000-years of dominoes that are religious dogma and superstition!

      So we’ve made strides. We just have to stay vigilant and determined to keep exploring, keep examining over and over, testing, questioning, doubting (if necessary), and not let antiquated fears or false myths cloud and obscure truth. This is best done by cumulative consensus, world-wide, from many diverse backgrounds, many brilliant minds, and cultures, not afraid of being WRONG or modified more correctly. As you know, this is NOT the protocol of religion, certainly not the last two Abrahamic religions.

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      • Well, there are still way too many who firmly believe that all of humanity starts out horribly depraved, even as an ovum in our mother’s ovaries because of Original Sin, the fabricated necessary “problem” (sin) they must create (but retro-actively) in order to offer THEIR solutions. All three Abrahamic religions do this

        It’s not quite clear if you mean all three Abrahamic religions “fabricate” a problem (sin) and offer solutions or all three believe in the concept of Original Sin (i. e. “all of humanity starts out horribly depraved”). Either way . . .

        Judaism definitely does NOT believe in or teach Original Sin. Human beings are either perceived as neutral and possessing an equal capacity to do both good and bad. Or even in some interpretations as generally good at birth and by nature. Jewish Virtual Library on Judaism’s Rejection of Original Sin
        My Jewishlearning.com on the Jewish View of Sin

        People commit perform bad actions (i. e. sins) because… well, they are only human! They’re not perfect.

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        • To try to explain this idea better: for example, I might feel frustrated if my wife is asking me to do a whole bunch of chores that I don’t feel like doing (which happens from time to time) and tell her to leave me alone and I’ll get to it when I feel like in an annoyed tune. Theoretically, this could be seen as a “sin.” I performed a bad action (i. e. I shouldn’t have snapped, which my wife might have perceived as disrespectful), which stem from normal human instincts (I have bad days, sometimes get bad sleep, and what I want to do with my time in a day may be different than what others expect and want) and imperfections (I’m a procrastinator). Likewise, I think most people would also realize that this isn’t an EVIL action per se.

          So my impression in Judaism is that sin in the Jewish sense usually equates with mistaken actions in given situations where we know we did the wrong thing and we could’ve done better.

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          • That all makes good sense CR. Thank you. I would say that even though everything you’ve stated in this 2nd explanation is well and good, all of it can be recognized and done/corrected WITHOUT any religion or God/Gods/Goddesses. 🙂

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        • Ahh CR, I can always count on you to keep me in line or be more accurate, more specific with regard to general mainline Judaism. I am always grateful for that. 🙂

          You make a good point and the need for more clarity. I was implying, yet not articulating well enough, that the Abrahamic religions “fabricate” a problem in order to explain (justify?) their Beliefs and Practices to themselves(?) or to any non-Believers. I can elaborate more and hopefully tease/stimulate further thought by asking you this question, granted a loaded question… 😉

          Why does anyone ‘need’ or require a Universal God or a ‘righteous’ God — mostly told from very ancient scriptures from one tiny region of the world — to live a normal, good or even heroically altruistic, philanthropic life?

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          • Well, the simple answer is they don’t need God for any of those things. You can live a normal, good, or heroically altruistic life if you believe in God or if you don’t believe in God. Those are my most sincere and straight forward thoughts on the matter. In that sense, I disagree with those theists, usually fundamentalist, who think all atheists must live meaningless lives of debauchery and those atheists who think religion poisons everything and that anyone who follows a religious tradition or believes in God is living a deluded unfulfilling miserable life.

            For example, my wife is an atheist. While my wife and I are individuals with our own interests and unique personalities, we also have built and continue to build a life together. My “normal” and “good” life is at least partially her normal and good life because our lives and experiences are intertwined as part of our relationship.

            It’s important to note that you can be an atheist and remain Jewish. Being Jewish refers to both a religion and a people. You are considered Jewish if you went through a formal conversion process or if your mom is Jewish, regardless of what you believe in the latter case. In a survey of American Jews done by Pew Research Center, 68% said they felt it was compatible to NOT believe in God and be Jewish. 62% of all respondents said Judaism is mostly a matter of ancestry/culture and at least 55% of Jews who still identified with one of the religious denominations of Judaism answered the same way.

            https://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/jewish-american-beliefs-attitudes-culture-survey/

            So with this in mind, if I ever decided I didn’t believe in God anymore, I wouldn’t necessarily change my mind on anything else. I’m not really very religious to begin with; I’m very secular. Unlike a lot of Christian deconverts, it wouldn’t be like my whole life and purpose suddenly got pulled out from under me. My values would remain the same, my general ideas about the world would remain the same, my identity would remain the same. The way I live my life would more or less stay the same so if my life is good and normal now it wouldn’t suddenly not be good and normal if I stopped believing specifically in God.

            I realize this was a very personal answer. So to answer a bit more broadly, traditional Judaism (Orthodox) would argue you must follow the Noahide laws if you’re not Jewish to live a “moral” life, which does technically include believing in God. However, mainstream Judaism (the aggregate position of all types of Judaism) would generally say the thing that matters is to just be a good person and do your part in helping others and fixing the world.

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            • Those are my most sincere and straight forward thoughts on the matter. […]

              I disagree with those theists, usually fundamentalist, who think all atheists must live meaningless lives of debauchery and those atheists who think religion poisons everything and that anyone who follows a religious tradition or believes in God is living a deluded unfulfilling miserable life.

              Well CR, those perspectives on life and others are exceptional and VERY easy for most to live with/around, cooperate with, and be a part of a diverse community with little-to-no friction! This country could sure use more people like you and your wife!!! Please tell me you two have 10-children together and twins or triplets on the way! 😉

              So with this in mind, if I ever decided I didn’t believe in God anymore, I wouldn’t necessarily change my mind on anything else. I’m not really very religious to begin with; I’m very secular.

              Along with those Pew Research percentages, I too have found in utilizing similar surveys in my studies/blog-posts and exposure to many diverse groups, cultures, friends/acquaintences, etc, that the majority of modern Believers/religious-followers really just follow suit, assimilate(?) with the beliefs of their parents and immediate community — in the case of Jews and Judaism, 62% according to your Pew Research data. IOW, to them the decisions surrounding God/Gods/Goddesses (or nothing supernatural) is NOT a pressing mystery worth expending too much brain-emotional energy on. Well, until we are nearing our death bed. LOL

              I too am Secular, have been all my life with the exception of 11-years in my 20’s to 31-32. My paternal family is/was very Secular, but taught and walked a serious duty of service to others thru secular charities, Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, hospitals, Police & Fire Depts, schools/universities, our military branches, and several in governmental capacities. A service-minded community or nation is NOT one that divides everyone or looks to discriminate against non-Believers or against those who are different than you. With the exception of specific conditions in our military and its ‘servants,’ we DAMN SURE don’t solve issues/infractions by hate, guns and slaughtering or genocide… the most severe antithesis of uniting and service to others, obviously!

              I very much appreciate your “personal answer” CR. Getting personal with people/strangers usually/most often creates a good chance that peaceful collaboration happens even with some minor or major differences. Absolutism/Ultimatums gets diffused, unity gets promoted. So to conclude my clarification about Abrahamic religions, perhaps I should’ve stated “traditional Judaism (Orthodox),” most Christian denominations, and most Muslim sects/branches… fabricate an unproven problem with life in order to promote their own agendas, their own ideologies. That might have been a better description. 🙂

              Thanks CR for all your thoughts and feedback Sir!

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  5. Wonderful essay. There’s much information to digest and many great points to consider such as Infidel’s observation of human nature (i.e. our hunter-gatherer roots) and Scottie’s inclusion of social/cultural dynamics as an even more potent factor.

    I think the bottom line is that individual human beings are highly adaptable and malleable. In a competitive environment where our primal beast is either necessary or encouraged, it will definitely emerge. In an environment where benevolence and cooperation are advantageous, the beast within us goes to sleep. Race is an easy outlet for our us-versus-them predisposition because it is so visually obvious.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Totally agree Robert. Isn’t it utterly baffling and sad that so much distrust and/or hate is based upon what is SEEN rather than who, where, how, and what is. That is, a complex living machine of machines consisting of internal submachines, from the Quark-subatomic level and DNA, to the human body as a whole and its expression, to a person’s and people’s contextual background and condition, both environmentally and as a functioning tribe/group, and then last to our place on this Pale-blue Dot of a planet. And that description is quite crude and oversimplified! LOL

      And yet, far too many want to keep everything and everyone in a kindergarten-level, tidy two-compartment box: either 1) Monism or 2) Binary-ism. That’s it. Nothing more. Or in your implied meaning, black or white, A or B, right or wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Another well presented and thought provoking article, Professor. From my own life experiences of male violence in the land of my birth and worldwide over time, I believe that “extreme human rage and hatred genetic, hereditary” are learned behavior, using the means presented in your article. Sad to say, the human mind can be easily manipulated for the good and the nefarious. Earlier today, I read about the violent acts perpetrated by male Christian Evangelical anti-abortionists, supported by their female counterparts, here in the USA.

    Can hatred be eradicated? Not any time soon. We humans have not yet evolved into spiritually conscious beings with shared compassion for each other and a vision of our oneness. Considering the path of self-destruction that our species is now on, I doubt that we will survive to attain such a level of evolution.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Rosaliene. ❤ 🙂

      Well, I think it within reason to expect we civilized, more intelligent species on the planet would've been much further along in all our great virtues, for everyone. But as Infidel rightly pointed out above — and reminded me of Dr. Steven Pinker's research and findings of our progress — there ARE positives and hope for us advanced primates! LOL

      However! You stated correctly:

      From my own life experiences of male violence in the land of my birth and worldwide over time, I believe that “extreme human rage and hatred genetic, hereditary” are learned behavior, using the means presented in your article.

      Here’s my interpretation of your rather pin-point assessment… of OBVIOUS gender differences and advanced sophistication and supreme abilities!!!

      Apparently most male Homo sapiens are devolving back toward Homo erectus, as seen with our one, single, TINY On/Off switch above. And Rosaliene, don’t ask us to locate our anus either, please! Geeezzzz, that might take too long. 😖

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Fantastic post, professor.

    As long as there is fear, hatred will not be eradicated.

    The instinct to kill for food, territory, mates, etc. is not really hate. To kill for fear of the “other,” religious fervor and self-loathing, as in the form of revenge, is all hate and seems to be a specific human attribute. It will not go away.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Mary. And thank you for your thoughts! 🙂

      To fully eradicate hateful behaviors, at least the type that result in 1 or more deaths/casualties/murders, but other types too resulting in serious immediate or long-term harm, will most certainly be near impossible as long as depraved indifference is regarded a normal acceptable mentality/ideology and social manifestation by ANY one person or populace. Yet, identifying this atrocious behavior is only PART of its persistence. The equal component and honestly more critical one to this disease and/or thriving cancer of hateful behaviors from depraved indifference is our “response” to it. It is glaringly obvious that our modern (weak, soft?) responses have fallen horribly short, sadly and shamefully for the victims and their families.

      Clearly if the decent human population — those who know we cannot afford to tolerate the genocides or its exoneration — continue the precedence of exoneration of these types of hate and behavior, then yes Mary, it would be ridiculous to imagine that we could ever eradicate hate. Despite our horribly flawed responses to it I do feel the ICC is a good step in the right direction! For me, as an American citizen and 8th generation Texan, it is not just embarrassing but shameful too that our U.S. government and our leaders/officials (for some time now) support the ICC in pursuing, capturing, trying, and punishing leaders and nations of war-crimes and crimes against humanity, however, will not allow the ICC to do the same to us. THAT is no different than our current Mob-Gangster President publicly boasting that he can shoot and murder someone on the street in broad daylight, get away with it, and even be applauded for it!!! 😳 WHAT THA FUCK!!!??? 😡

      Mary, you tell me… is that what a decent human being would say in order to stop perpetuating mass murders and genocides and get away with it?

      Liked by 1 person

    • An important piece to the puzzle that I haven’t seen discussed here is Minimal Group Paradigm. Basically, psychologists wanted to see what is the bare minimum someone would start showing in-group favoritism and out-group prejudice. While fascinating, the results in some ways are also horrifying.

      They found that basically people will start doing this with completely arbitrary bare minimum groups (hey, Kid, you’ve been assigned to Group A by a random coin toss and he has been assigned to Group B). In other words, you don’t need elaborate inter-group history or fighting over real resources or elaborate dogmas and propaganda, only the pressence of mere groups in many instances! Not only that, but some of the research shows people would rather get less resources overall for themselves (if it means they have more of that resource than the outgroup) OVER both groups getting significantly more resources, but the out-group has a little more than they do. See the video I linked below for more information:

      Like

        • Hey CR! Let me check my Spam folder or Moderation folder… 🙂

          LATER ADDITION — Well CR, after wading thru about 50+ Spam robot comments — and I still have over 130 Spammed comments to delete! — I didn’t find anything of yours there, in Pending or Spam. Sorry.

          LATER LATER ADDITION — Fixed everything CR. It’s good to go Sir. Btw, great to see you here again! 🙂 I will get to your comment/questions to me specifically when I have more time and less interruptions. Thanks for your patience.

          Like

  8. Ran across this some time back….the killings from the Bible…killings killings killings…that seems to be what we are about.

    Hope this link goes through

    Liked by 1 person

    • A little tweaking on my part and voilà! 🤩 It works now. Thank you for this.

      Yes Mary, THAT is exactly why exonerating hatred, war-crimes, and crimes against humanity are perpetuated! If a Believer’s own Supreme God does it or allows His #1 nemesis (Satan) to keep doing it repeatedly, indiscriminately to both their heart’s content, and humanity has no control over either of them(?)…

      DUH!!! It will never stop. That certainly isn’t rocket science is it?

      Like

  9. I don’t think hatred can be eliminated, it being an emotion and all, but we ought to be doing better at eliminating stupid behavior. We were making some headway until one of our two political parties decided to use hate as a political tool and the Internet allowed people to post stupid shot anonymously. We have back slid quite a bit (back slided?).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back-slided, sure. Or devolved? And the “Free Press” free-expression Internet? In the mid-1990’s when the world-wide-web was being introduced, I had no real, full foresight Steve that we were capable of live-feeds of mass murdering (for 17-19 mins?) while those corporations sat by as stupid Accessory (accessories) to such heinous crimes and inhumanity. THAT really woke me up to the true power of greed and wealth. 😦

      Like

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