Thursday, May 28, 2020

854: Where did evil begin.....?

As a college professor I told my students about the Stanford Prison Experiment and about the electric shock machine of Milgram.
And all this to show how easy it is to turn good people into evil people, to show that evil in man is so close under the surface.
In fact I myself believed in the Veneer Theory, the Hobbesian look at life. Civilization is just a thin layer. Underneath we are brute and selfish beings.
However, since the archives are opened we have to conclude that the scientists had manipulated the test persons and the data to get the results THEY wanted to get.
So, we are actually fooled by people like Zimbardo and Milgram. In the previous lectures we have shown proof, that actually most people are OK.
In stead of the Bystander Effect we have seen that most people are willing to help in serious situations.
Kitty Genovese was not attacked three times, but two times and it was not true, that she died on the stairs of the apartment building all alone.
She died in the arms of her friend and neighbour, who unfortunately couldn't help her anymore, but that info would have ruined the exciting story in the newspaper.
Most people are OK and want to help their fellowman. If there is one group that fails in this regard, then it is those at the top:
the manipulating scientists, a chief editor, a police commissioner, politicians. Time and again they are caught lying or manipulating data to save their position.
To claim that most people are OK doesn't mean that we close our eyes for the evil, that man is capable of.
On the contrary, but this evil inflicted by men is not explained by a Milgram or a Veneer Theory.
We have seen that evil is often disguised as good. The test persons in the electric shock experiment, for instance, believed that they we HELPING science.
They were not drooling sadists that loved to torture their "student", neither are we trigger happy bellicose people despite two World Wars or Vietnam.
We have to find a plausible explanation for the evil in us. What we know is, that it hasn't been there since day one.
Prehistoric people were nomads, hunter / gatherers, as we have seen. They didn't fight each other.
The first archeological finds, that can be interpreted as proof of warfare date back some ten thousand years.
It was in the era that man began to settle, started agriculture and "invented" private property.
Could it be, that man wasn't prepared for such a way of life, mentally and physically?
Evolutionary psychologists sometimes refer to it as an "evolutionary mismatch":
Evolutionary psychology considers human cognition, emotion, and behavior to be products of psychological mechanisms that evolved to solve recurrent survival and reproduction challenges in ancestral environments. 
Humans, however, have begun living in environments diverging vastly from those in which they evolved. 
In evolutionarily novel contexts, key aspects of psychological mechanisms may no longer be linked to the environment in the same way. 
Take for instance obesitas. Hunters and gatherers were slim and fit, but now there are more overweight people worldwide than hungry ones.
Why do we keep eating all this sugar and fat? Simple, our DNA still assumes that we run through the jungle.
In prehistoric times it was smart to stuff yourself, if you happened to find a nice fruit tree or something like that. 
Some extra fat for leaner times wasn't a bad thing in those days. It is probably in our DNA, but now we live in a world of abundance and we keep on eating.
Natural selection adapts organisms to their past environments and has no ability to foresee the future. 
When the environment changes, adaptations to past environments can misfire in the current environment, 
producing a mismatch that can only be solved by subsequent evolution or by modifying the current environment. 
Suppose the hunter / gatherer nature is still deep in our DNA, could claiming a territory or claiming private property or living in cities be such an evolutionary mismatch?
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

[13:15] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:15] herman Bergson: In the coming lectures I'll investigate that question
[13:16] herman Bergson: What I find interesting today is the observation that evolution prepares for the past....can't look into the future...
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (stuffing myself with Daim bites)
[13:16] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:16] Jack Lust (jacklust): evolution has no end goal or purpose other than to survive
[13:16] herman Bergson: And we are changing our environment  rapidly these days
[13:17] oola Neruda: too rapidly and for the worse
[13:17] herman Bergson: Survival is the goal, I assume, yes
[13:17] oola Neruda: survival of the richest
[13:17] Jack Lust (jacklust): we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by disconnecting from nature
[13:18] herman Bergson: But we aren't evolving as fast as we change our environment, I'd say
[13:18] herman Bergson: Crossed my mind, Jack.....
[13:18] herman Bergson: Shouldn't we have stayed hunter/gatherers :-)
[13:19] herman Bergson: But agriculture produces the food in your backyard.....
[13:19] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): we can't go back in time
[13:19] herman Bergson: and we love to be lazy :-)
[13:19] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now we are mostly coders staring into Visual studio and munching candy/drinking beer and cola all day
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and yes I guilty to that but I don't do it all day but
[13:20] herman Bergson: We still love sugars a lot of organisms....
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): it tastes good
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats why
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same with eating too much salt
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): also tasty
[13:21] herman Bergson: Might have prehistoric roots in our DNA
[13:21] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): chips, dip strips and fast food in general
[13:22] herman Bergson: But the coming theme is that we have to find an explanation of evil in man
[13:22] oola Neruda: people do not understand the land anymore... just the farmers.... and it is going to make things harder as global warming ramps up...there will not be enough water nor understanding of crop rotations etc. to take care of everyone
[13:22] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): missmanagement
[13:22] CB Axel: We can google all that information, oola. :)
[13:23] Jack Lust (jacklust): territory I understand.  if that space gives you what you need to live, you don't want someone else coming in and depleting your food, for instrance
[13:23] herman Bergson: yes...sure, Jack...
[13:23] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm
[13:23] herman Bergson: The hunter/gatherer shared all his food with the others....
[13:23] Jack Lust (jacklust): and you will go to great lengths to protect that, but I don't know if that would be considered "evil"
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like mom comes and eats all my choco in the cupboard
[13:24] herman Bergson: The farmer however keeps it for himself....
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): lol
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): shared it with others you said, but how many others?
[13:24] CB Axel: I still have trouble believing that hunter/gathers didn't fight over territory.
[13:24] herman Bergson: No, but it is the basis of conflicts....
[13:24] oola Neruda: but we don't...we put money before all else and are destroying what we currently gave,,,,, and a lot of it is not draining the Midwestern aquifer..... and a lot of other practices
[13:24] Jack Lust (jacklust): well, keeps what he needs and sells the rest.  capitalism is one of many evils in the wrong hands
[13:25] CB Axel: If there was shortages for any reason, they would have fought for the best places.
[13:25] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): u should nt keep more then u need thats true
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes CB, there certainly may have been conflicts and confrontations in those times, I guess
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): how much do we really need Bejiita?
[13:26] herman Bergson: But that is something different from organized warfare
[13:26] Jack Lust (jacklust): and if it was just about food that would be easy to justify.  But we need money in this society, without it, you won't go far
[13:27] oola Neruda: not taking care of the bees..... or the monarchs.... most people do not know why that matters....
[13:27] herman Bergson: Sell the rest.....sure....but what when you haven't the money to buy that rest and starve?
[13:27] Jack Lust (jacklust): money certainly complicates things
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we need as much as to keep stuffed
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): not going hungry
[13:28] oola Neruda: you cannot google people into acting responsibly with weed killers and seeds that are genetically created to outdo your neighbor...
[13:29] herman Bergson: If you keep thinking, you might get the feeling that we have organized our society in the wrong way
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): (admits to have killed weed and ants with roundup today at our factories spring/summer cleanup)
[13:29] herman Bergson: the money, the private property.......isn't there an alternative?
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but they were under our golf greens at the backside
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): was all bumpy
[13:30] oola Neruda: our dept of agriculture busted up the experts they had by  closing the office and if they wanted to keep their jobs they would have to move to arouond kansas city...
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): inddeed the greed problem have to be solved
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): in general, not just the food
[13:30] oola Neruda: closing the office
[13:31] herman Bergson: I heard about that....oola
[13:31] oola Neruda: serious mistake
[13:31] herman Bergson: deliberate politics
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(
[13:31] oola Neruda: yes
[13:32] herman Bergson: Ok...coming lectures we'll try to explain evil
[13:32] oola Neruda: greed
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): evil = harming others and the planet deliberately
[13:33] herman Bergson: Maybe greed is also such an atavistic trait....
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): short explanation
[13:33] herman Bergson: the urge to gather for leaner our DNA?
[13:34] oola Neruda: hope so
[13:35] herman Bergson: I have a question about that "deliberately", Bejiita....
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what
[13:35] herman Bergson: It implies a goal.....
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa yes
[13:35] herman Bergson: so the evil isnt in the action itself but in pursuing this goal.....what is your intention with your action
[13:36] herman Bergson: where does the intention come from.....?
[13:36] Jack Lust (jacklust): now you're starting into freewill
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): like "kill all jews" or "environment concerns are BS BURN THE AMAZON"
[13:37] CB Axel: They intentionally ruin the environment to make more money for themselves.
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats evil
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least to me
[13:37] theo Velde is offline.
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and also taking everything without care for others
[13:37] herman Bergson: But where comes the need from to gather so much money.....
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): pride, status
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): being better then "the rest town there that I piss on"
[13:38] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): fear I think
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): down
[13:38] herman Bergson: It is a fact...the rich get richer and the rest gets poorer....Pickety....and others
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Beertje.....
[13:38] herman Bergson: one of our most primordiaal emotions
[13:39] herman Bergson: Based in the so called reptilian brain.....the basic part of our brain
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): hard to control that emotion
[13:40] CB Axel: But fear of what?
[13:40] herman Bergson: In fact you hear all kinds of answers already with respect of changing our world and behavior
[13:40] herman Bergson: irrational fear, CB
[13:40] herman Bergson: Like fear of spiders, for instance
[13:40] CB Axel: So fear for the sake of being afraid.
[13:41] herman Bergson: but it is a real existential fear
[13:41] CB Axel: Oh! Spiders are evil. Just look at them!
[13:41] Jack Lust (jacklust): fear is used in politics all the time
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): spiders are beautiful cb
[13:41] herman Bergson: Basicly of course fear which helps  you to survive ultimately
[13:41] CB Axel: You sound like my sister, Beertje.
[13:41] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): :))
[13:42] herman Bergson: Yes fear is a good manipulative tool
[13:42] oola Neruda: at the moment we have a lot to fear from leaders with greed and an agenda that they really do not have scientific understanding of the affects
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): spiders are cute, I like those hairy tarantula ones, thae are cool and colorful
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they
[13:42] CB Axel: My sister has a pet tarantula. :(
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and what is an old attic without spiders and spiderweb
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and some ghosts )
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:44] CONNIE Eichel: pity,i have to run... thanks for all Herman, hugs for all :)
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu then Connie
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:44] herman Bergson: Ok....have a look at the subject "Evolutionary mismatch"....a new theme in science....
[13:44] CONNIE Eichel: see you!
[13:44] herman Bergson: OK Connie...:-_)
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Connie
[13:44] herman Bergson: A good moment to conclude this discussion...:-)
[13:45] herman Bergson whispers: Do your homework and thank you all gain for participating :-)
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): thank you Herman
[13:45] herman Bergson: Class dismissed ....
[13:45] iמʞαʞů (inkaku.capalini):               (`'·.¸(`'·.¸ ¸.·'´)¸.·'´)
[13:45] iמʞαʞů (inkaku.capalini):  ♫ ´·.¸¸.♫   A*P*P*L*A*U*S*E  ♫.¸¸.·`♫
[13:45] iמʞαʞů (inkaku.capalini):               (¸.·'´(¸.·'´ `'·.¸)`'·.¸)  
[13:45] .??(`' en>de: (`'
[13:45] .????.???   A*P*P*L*A*U*S*E  ???.????. en>de: ♫ ´
[13:45] '??(??. en>de: (¸.
[13:45] Jack Lust (jacklust): thanks Herman
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:45] oola Neruda: thank you Herman'
[13:45] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye bejiita
[13:46] herman Bergson: thank you all....good discussion...
[13:46] bergfrau Apfelbaum: Thank you Herman and class
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa BTW I recently read about those tonga boys in the local news
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the real lord of the flies case
[13:46] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman and everyone. See you Thursday. :)
[13:46]  Łîly Łŭsŧ (lily11223355): Great class,  all and Herman
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:46] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita....they are going to make a movie about the boys adventure
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye CB:)
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aaa ok
[13:46] herman Bergson: Thank you Lily
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu soon
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye all
[13:47] herman Bergson: The ultimate refutation of "Lord of Flies"
[13:47]  Łîly Łŭsŧ (lily11223355): Take good care everyone :) adios for now
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): bye Lily
[13:47] Jack Lust (jacklust): take care everyone
[13:47] herman Bergson: You too Lily...

No comments:

Post a Comment