What do you think is the root cause for humans treating others so badly?  Money, religion, death, imperfect evolution, ...

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 Same shiest, different pile.

I agree, high tech and economics, they are but tools that can be used in religious ways. Though I don't think in terms of "good" and "evil", cancerous growth of humanity is as close as it comes for me to "evil". Religion is a human tool of power, written by humans, to control humans. Until our value systems escape from these sorts of writings that have ruled humanity for 5000 years, declaring ourselves "godless" is entirely futile.

The root of all evil is the thought or act that does not promote the flourishing of an individual. 

Competition for food and sex....and natural selection which caused hominid's brain to scheme and plan and think abstractly (as physical prowess and strength retreated) and sexual selection which caused females to adorn themselves and males to degrade their rivals all leading to culture and a concomitant but unfortunate atavism in biology...rrrr whatever man, don't have a cow man.

The most likely reason is that aggressive behavior held, at some early stage in evolution, advantages for reproduction and survival. At a time when food was scarce, and illness ravaging, the more agressive individual may have had a clear survival advantage.

We see in many animal species a hierarchical structure in which the stongest male dominates and holds all the sexual cards until he dies or is displaced by a younger stronger male in a fight for leadership.

This may have been the organization of human societies at an early point when there were only small tribes of hunter-gatherers and agriculture had not yet developed. Only after the development of agriculture was cooperative behavior superior to hierarchy for the group survival.

There has always been cooperation, it is the nature of any social animal. Furthermore, there is no anthropological indication that hunter-gatherer tribes had that sort of male structure (dominates and holds all the sexual cards until he dies or is displaced by a younger). Penis size to body ratio, to the contrary, infers that females of early tribes practised promiscuity. The anthropological most likely scenario is that a small proportion of males and females - alpha males and alpha females - did most of the breeding, the and rest of the tribe had support roles.

There has always been a balance between violence and cooperation, between ingroup and outgroup. But as population sizes increase, the relative amount of resources diminishes, and this pushes the equilibrium, the larger the society the more violence, and the more top down dominance is necessary to maintain "order". That is how religion/patriarchy developed around 5 millennia ago, as a power/control tool. There is no real distinction between patriarchy and religion, one is the left hand, one is the right hand.

Today, as our population continues to increase and the ratio of resource availability continues to decrease, top down controls will continue de become stronger, to attempt to control the increased violence inescapable by overpopulation, and this is biologically true in most species.

Violence is not "evil", it is simply a stress reaction, it is simply the flip side of the coin of cooperation. One without the other is impossible. Only the balance between the two varies.

My point was carelessly worded. I meant to suggest that the balance between hierarchical social structures and cooperative social structures favored the former in pre-literate pre-agricultural tribal societies. Despite the immense variety of social structures in human societies hierarchy and dominance are still strong in most. It is almost irresistable to view social history as a struggle to achieve a balance between cooperation and hierarchy.  

Here is a quote from one paper:

Dominance appears to be written deeply into our physiological, social,
and cognitive functions. It emerges early as a defining trait of individuals
(personality) and hence produces a propensity for human social groups to
organize themselves hierarchically, and for the majority of individuals to
displace responsibility for their actions by obeying authority. So large a
part does it play in our social lives that it also shapes and modifies our
cognitive strategies and physiological responses


Do you have a reference for this point? I'm interested to read about it.

The anthropological most likely scenario is that a small proportion of males and females - alpha males and alpha females - did most of the breeding, the and rest of the tribe had support roles.

That seems to support the notion that some kind of social dominance hierarchy was the normal mode of organization in early tribal societies. Cooperation would have been present as well, but within a hierarchical structure.

Hunters cooperate.

Indeed. Cooperation always coexists with violence.

I like that reply TNT except that I wonder how promiscuity can be reconciled with alpha mating.

Inuit peoples (used to be called Eskimos) displayed some variation on this until very recently. Neither the male nor the female were sexually exclusive, but there was a definite alpha structure for both sexes. Alpha males did some choosing, alpha females did some choosing, others settled for leftovers or did not breed.Wolves display some variation in the alpha males / alpha females breeding pattern.

And of course chimps also display female promiscuity within an alpha male / alpha female structure.

There is really no serious biological/anthropological evidence for sexual monogamy in H.sapiens before modern religions, and parenting monogamy, somewhat older, began around the beginnings of patriarchy/religion, 5-6 kya, when males began to consciously understand their role in reproduction. And neither advanced at the same speed in different regions.

I would ideally like to see a reduction in violence, not only bodily violence, but systemic/structural violence, but I don't see that ever being realistic with a growing population.

The root of all evil could be pride. It is the obvious root of many evils. LIke greed, money, power, popularity and of course not being able to admit your wrong when you see someone else's point of view that is reasonable. Try to be humble and see how you can become.

Pride is a form of self delusion.

Yes it causes problems, like murder, suicide, greed and even demonstrations.

People need to realized that much of their own reality is illusion.

Buddhism teaches that our Self is an illusion.

Buddhism even taught this to Jesus, but he didn't listen and his pride got him executed and thrown into either an unmarked or mass grave.

He was never important enough for a tomb and certainly not for the mounting of guards for a dead person's body.

If those stories were true, there would be a lot more evidence in the Roman chronicles at the time, but they really didn't consider him as important, just another petty criminal.

For his followers to believe Jesus was that important is massive false Pride in their false hero.

Pride comes b4 a Fall!

Aye John Johnson  :-D~


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