Tuesday, March 31, 2020

838: A Disappointment....

And now the big disappointment. Man also has a cruel, evil side. 
Homo Sapiens does terrible things that don't even occur in the rest of the animal kingdom. 
Chicken do not organize penal camps. Crocodiles do not build gas chambers. Never has an elephant thought to register, lock up and exterminate another people. 
We are talking here about typical human crimes. Homo Sapiens is not only extremely social, but can also be exceptionally cruel. 
It seems we have to come to a painful conclusion. "The mechanism that makes us the nicest species," writes Brian Hare, "has also turned us into the cruelest species on the planet." 
Brian Hare is a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. 
He researches the evolution of cognition by studying both humans, our close relatives the primates, and species whose cognition converged with our own. 
Humans are group animals with a fatal disability. We are most attracted to those who look like us the most .That instinct also seems to be anchored in our bodies.
Initially there was a lot of enthusiasm when biologists discovered that the hormone 'oxytocin' plays a crucial role in love. 
Spray a little oxytocin in the nose of your date and you can have a really nice evening.
Or even  a better idea: let the government spay this oxytocin from helicopters on the towns, on masses of people.
The hormone oxytocin (the "cuddle hormone") makes you softer and sweeter, more quiet and  peaceful. That would be the ultimate Flower Power experience.
But the shock came in 2010. The magazine "Science" (vol. 328, issue 5984) published an article of Carsten De Dreu.
He (born 6 July 1966) is a Professor of Psychology at Leiden University and Behavioral Economics at the University of Amsterdam.
He works at the intersection of social psychology, (neuro)biology, and behavioral economics.   
Research has shown that the effect of oxytocin is often limited to our own group. 
While it increases love for our own friends, it can actually strengthen our aversion to strangers.
Oxytocin is not the hormone of universal brotherhood.       , but of "own people first".
There goes the friendly "Homo sapiens" down the drain. Was Thomas Hobbes right after all? 
Did we start with a war of all against all in prehistoric times? Not a war among friends, but war against enemies.
For the theory, that Homo Sapiens had caused the extinction of the Neanderthals, is no archeological evidence, but for violence among each other all the more.
Our starting point was that most people are OK. Are we mistaken? Are we that Killer Ape after all.
Apparently the fight between Hobbes and Rousseau is still on. We had good hopes, that Rousseau had won, but now......
I see you next lecture...   Don't give up :-)
Thank you for your attention again....

Main Sources:
MacMillan The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2nd edition
Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1995
Rutger Bregman, "De meeste mensen deugen",, 2019

The Discussion

[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:16] Windows Bhalti: thank you, professor
[13:16] herman Bergson: The floor is yours....:-)
[13:16] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): last lecture I was optimistic....
[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but now I'm not sure
[13:17] herman Bergson: I have been thinking of you Beertje writing this lecture ^_^
[13:17] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): omg
[13:17] herman Bergson: I mean...I expected a kind of reaction from you like this...
[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you know me too well....
[13:18] herman Bergson: That is why  I said....don't give up :-)
[13:18] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:18] herman Bergson: where there is time there is hope....
[13:18] CB Axel: So I'm not the only pessimist in the group?
[13:18] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I'm an open book:)
[13:18] herman Bergson: and next time ...who knows :-)
[13:20] herman Bergson: Yes CB, you give me  a hard time.....but maybe I can make you change your mind :-)
[13:20] CB Axel: You haven't so far. :)
[13:20] herman Bergson: But it is a fact.....we have to face this dark side of homo sapiens
[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): every coin has 2 sides
[13:21] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): even Homo Sapiens
[13:21] Windows Bhalti: attach feelings to facts?
[13:21] herman Bergson: I know, but I won't give up :-)
[13:21] herman Bergson: What do you mean Windows?
[13:22] Windows Bhalti: are pessimism and optimism feelings
[13:22] herman Bergson: I'd say, not just feelings....
[13:22] CB Axel: They are not facts.
[13:22] herman Bergson: it is your perception of reality
[13:23] Windows Bhalti: then the facts presented in the lecture today are therefore, emotionless
[13:23] herman Bergson: and the conclusions you deduce from this perception
[13:23] herman Bergson: as such, yes I would say
[13:24] Windows Bhalti: nods
[13:24] CB Axel: What facts? The only fact mentioned was that oxytocin makes people attracted to others like themselves.
[13:24] herman Bergson: homo sapiens built the gas chambers...whatever emotion you'd like to link with that observation
[13:25] Windows Bhalti: two facts were presented:  the other was that oxytocin make people kill those unlike themselves
[13:25] herman Bergson: Yes the other fact was the discovery of oxytocin
[13:25] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): so 3 facts
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I thought it  only made u feel good
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but I don't now all facts
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): about the stuf
[13:26] CB Axel: He didn't say that oxytocin makes people kill others.
[13:26] herman Bergson: yes...with respect to your friends Bejiita....
[13:26] herman Bergson: no...it might create strong aversion to strangers....
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like hug me = I feel good, is that a direct effect of that chemical?
[13:27] herman Bergson: When you hug your brain produces this oxytocin and serotonin...
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah'
[13:27] CB Axel: I see only two facts, I guess. 1) there is a hormone called oxytocin and 2) it attracts us to others like ourselves.
[13:27] herman Bergson: and that makes you feel good :-)
[13:28] herman Bergson: true
[13:28] herman Bergson: third fact...
[13:28] CB Axel: So, Herman, you have to like a person well enough to hug them to produce oxytocin?
[13:28] herman Bergson: it is NOT a universal attraction to all of mankind...
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): are people going to be more pessimistic these days, because they can't hug eachothers because of Corona?
[13:28] herman Bergson: it even stimulates aversion  to  people who don't belong to our group
[13:29] herman Bergson: pessimistic....?
[13:29] herman Bergson: sad maybe....
[13:29] herman Bergson: I relate concepts like pessimism and  optimism with a timeline....
[13:30] herman Bergson: there are concepts which tell about your perspective
[13:30] herman Bergson: you say.....
[13:30] herman Bergson: it is getting darker or it is getting lighter....
[13:31] herman Bergson: like the glass is half empty or half full...though you'll drink the same amount of water
[13:32] herman Bergson: I'd like to advise you  to stay optimistic :-)
[13:32] Windows Bhalti: the strength of the aversion equates to the strength of the action
[13:32] herman Bergson: you could say that, yes
[13:32] Windows Bhalti: nods
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:33] herman Bergson: eventually it could lead to murder or lynching
[13:33] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): or war
[13:33] herman Bergson: yes
[13:33] Windows Bhalti: ...so ...killing
[13:34] herman Bergson smiles
[13:34] Windows Bhalti: grins
[13:34] herman Bergson: Guess it will be quit a  job to get the optimism back here ^_^
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hehe
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well
[13:34] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): I think so too:)
[13:35] herman Bergson: Ok...
[13:36] herman Bergson: Let's leave the question "Is Homo sapiens in fact a Killer Ape" dangle as the sword of Damocles above our heads :-)
[13:36] Windows Bhalti: to be or not to be
[13:36] herman Bergson: right :-)
[13:36] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): that's the question:)
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): indeed'
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): going to be a hard week-end
[13:37] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): with that sword above my head
[13:37] herman Bergson: Well...let's see next Tuesday how the story will continue :-)
[13:38] herman Bergson: Thank you for your participation again :-)
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:38] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ....
[13:38] Windows Bhalti: thank you, professor.  thank you, everyone.  take care, all
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): nice again
[13:38] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman. See you all next week. :)
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Windows
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:38] herman Bergson: Be well CB
[13:38] herman Bergson: and Windows
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): at 10 again
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hugs all
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):

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