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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Evolution Rant

Have I gone crazy or has the ruling class completely forgotten the fundamental rule that violence begets violence. The entertainment community feeds off of young peoples’ primitive propensities. Our government (I prefer regime) has all but abandoned diplomacy as tool for bringing order to chaos. To top it off, our sense of compassion for strangers is not at an all-time high – something you might expect at this point in our evolution.

If you pause to think about what our social evolutionary path might look like, you must conclude that unless we eventually learn to live together in peace, we will destroy ourselves. We learn as small children that cooperation with and support for others is a “good” thing. Why do some forget this wisdom, as they grow older? My research would suggest that it is because children don’t learn from being told something. They learn from observing their world, including the people around them. They model behavior, not reconstruct it from abstract instructions from their elders.

Until we break the cycle of violence by disconnecting our young from it, we are doomed to repeat it. Each of us has two sides of our personalities with which to contend: our primitive side and our evolved side. They are often in conflict. The primitive brain packs more emotion, positive and negative. It is the brain that gets our adrenaline flowing. The evolved brain provides us with abstract thought, which allows us to understand the basic nature of the universe in which we live.

This conflict within ourselves must ultimately be resolved before we can expect to solve our social ills. A friend and I were debating the other day. We were talking about Israel and Hizbollah. He contended that Israel is right to use maximum force against those who would attack them. On the other hand, I argued that a passive approach would ultimately be much more effective. His position, you have heard a thousand times on the news. My position is less popular (sadly).

Terrorists ultimately must be able to convince people that they are fighting against evil. In order for this to happen, they expect that their enemies will inflict harm on the civilian population from which they draw their recruits. If there is no enemy, there are no recruits. Instead of escalating the war, if the Israelis offered to unilaterally cease-fire and to assist with rebuilding Lebanon, the ranks of Hizbollah would be thin indeed.

Would there be casualties? Absolutely! My friend asked me if I would have my family be one of the ones to be sacrificed on the alter of “the greater good.” I told that I would. If I believed that by sacrificing a small number of lives, we could put an end to human tyranny, I would do it in a heartbeat. To me, that is what courage is all about – courage to do what’s right regardless of the personal cost. That, my friend, is evolution. But, don’t take my word for it, just look at how few people died in Gandhi’s revolution in India. It’s time to grow up.

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