14. Progress to Humanness

14.10 Contemporary Violence

The blending of the notion of Race with that of Nation led to the unleashing of a violence that found its paroxysm in the atomic explosions over the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This annihilation of at least 200,000 civilians killed in the most horrible conditions for no other reason than they were Japanese, not because they presented any menace to the US armies and fleet, was feasted with champagne in American homes. Whereas this mass destruction is now regretted in the USA, it has not been ground for reconsideration of the violence. On the contrary, racism and nationalism have amplified. Joshua Lederberg asks 8: “Why do the aggressive pulsations of Sapiens so easily exteriorize into violence and murder? Are we forever doomed because of our ancestry to outbursts of tribalistic genocide? If evil is rooted in our genetic heritage, then we had better heed the cautions that we are, with our technology, simply building ever more powerful tools for the exercise of that evil”.

In addressing the question of violence, the choice between the politically constructed answers of social science and the evidential answers of evolutionary biology is essentially a choice between ideology and knowledge. Social theorists view violence as a symptom of an unhealthy society, in which men fear and disrespect their neighbors. Social science regards human cultures -from their eating habits, courtship behavior, music, rape and murder to language- as a human invention that develops arbitrarily. Violence and murder take place only when men learn to kill and can be eradicated simply by substituting new lessons. Social scientists assert that socialization alone causes differences in aggressive pulsations. They ignore that these differences also exist in all the animal species in which territory plays a preponderant role. Social science fails to recognize that Darwinian selection has shaped not only human bodies but also human psychology, learning patterns and behavior as well.

Sociobiologists emphasize that learned behavior is the result of psychological adaptations that have evolved over long periods of time. U. Segersträle, in “Defenders of the Truth”, Oxford U.P. 2000, New York, describes the Homeric and bitter war opposing for years the tenants of the two theses. It all started with the claim made by Jensen that IQ has a genetic component that differs between races. Lewontin and S.J. Gould angrily opposed this (“genetic determinism is bad science in support of odious politics,” they said), apparently because history had shown how easily undue extrapolations could be made. However, any trainer of dogs knows that dogs of different races display different levels of intelligence to perform some well-defined tasks. All traits and behaviors stem from a complex interplay between genes and the environment. Aggressiveness has evolved over millennia of human history. Aggressiveness is a biological phenomenon that is the product of the human evolutionary heritage (see 15.3.1). Individuals are not passive recipients of experience. Biological processes bias humans to develop a particular set of cognitive, affective and behavioral forms but the cultural context of growth shapes these forms in particular ways.

Human social behavior creates the environment in which people build their lives and experience different degrees of success, failure and frustration. The identification of a person with family members, with a particular social class, with ethnic, religious and national groups is a primary source of variation. The historical era during which the adolescent years are spent sets adult ethical values. The advances in cognitive capacities that emerge at adolescence, due, in part, to maturational changes in the central nervous system, motivate most youth to brood about the validity of their childhood beliefs because they realize that their current experiences are not plumb with their older ideas. As a result, adolescents are unusually receptive to historical events that sweep across a society to challenge existing beliefs and motivate youth to transform their older assumptions into a philosophy that will govern their activities for the rest of their lives.

The resentment of juvenile outcasts was manifested by an attack that was planned on the 24th of December 1994 on the Eiffel tower in Paris, which is a civilian target. It aborted. The attack of 11th of September 2001 on one civilian target (the New York towers) and two military targets (the White House and the Pentagon) heralded the revolt of the damned of this earth (fig 14.11).

Afbeelding 58

Figure 14.11: This young educated woman was the first contemporary female Palestinian kamikaze. Her suicide and desire to inflict therewith harm indicates the immense despair of the Palestinian population.

References

8. In “Unity of knowledge” ANYAS, 935: 2001, page 37

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