Wednesday, June 10, 2020

858: Why Do Good People Bad Things...?

Why do good people bad things? That is our question at the moment, because our starting point was, that most people are OK.
In the previous lecture we saw, that children at a very young age are spontaneously helpful, can discern the good guy and bad guy, choose for the good guy.
We also saw how easy these same children can be brought to change to tribal and xenophobe behavior. Is it something in our DNA?
We saw that the common Wehrmacht soldier was not a blood thirsty, sadistic fighting machine, but a comrade who fought together and for his comrades.
We've also seen that firing rate of soldiers  in World War One was extremely low. We have trouble killing people 
while looking them in the eyes, even if Hollywood wants us to believe that it is a piece of cake.
Even more difficult for most of us is stabbing. During the battle of Waterloo or the Battle of the Somme (1916) only 1% of the injuries were caused by bayonets.
And again Hollywood wants us to believe that thrusting a sword or knife in the body of your opponent is a piece of cake. 
News media make us believe, that everybody walks around with a huge knife in his pocket.
Then, how is it possible that yet so many young men have fallen in so many wars.
There is a possible answer, when you look at the numbers.
Take for instance the cause of death of British soldiers during World War II.
Mortar, artillery grenade, bombardment, shrapnel: 75%.
Bullit, antitank mine: 10%. 
Landmine and booby trap: 10%
Explosion and accidents: 2%
Chemical cause: 2%
Other causes: 1%
If these victims have one thing in common, most of them were killed from a distance. Most of the soldiers were killed by someone, who never laid eyes on his opponent.
The whole development  of military technology is aiming at  increasing the distance between you and the enemy, you want to kill.
From club and knife to bow and arrow, from rifles to artillery, from artillery to drones and intercontinental missiles.
There is sufficient evidence that we have a basic aversion to violence, so we like long distance weaponry.
In addition to long-range weapons, armies are also looking for ways to increase psychological distance from the enemy. 
Dehumanizing others, for example by referring to them as cockroaches, makes it easier to treat them in  inhumane ways.
The military has realized this "aversion problem" and has adjusted its trainings methodes. One result was that in Vietnam the firing rate per platoon went up to 95%.
Another result was that this aversion was beaten out of soldiers, which resulted in a huge increase of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms.
I remember, when I was a child, I went to the firing range of the military in my town. I saw soldier lay down and firing at targets with those concentric circles.
Nowadays soldiers train with targets that look like persons. Shooting at such shapes then becomes a kind of pavlov reaction.
On the one hand we can do it, on the other hand it has its price.
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

[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): oki
[13:20] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:21] CB Axel: OK. That sounds good.
[13:21] CB Axel: I've heard of that documentary but haven't watched it.
[13:21] herman Bergson: You'll see Brian Hare, who we discussed here too, the evolutionary antropologist
[13:22] herman Bergson: Did you see that clip of a police officer beating a person who was just walking away with his bike?
[13:23] herman Bergson: There are officers in DC with no marks at all.....
[13:23] herman Bergson: That was one of them and he kept on beating and beating.....
[13:24] herman Bergson: Dehumanize the other and you can do that
[13:24] CB Axel: I didn't see that one. I've seen plenty of others.
[13:24] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): and no one stopped him?
[13:24] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(
[13:24] herman Bergson: That is what they train soldiers for...
[13:25] herman Bergson: So...good people can do bad things....
[13:25] CB Axel: If you watch the video of the man who fell and hurt his head after the police pushed him, you'll see on cop start to go to help him and another cop stopped him.
[13:26] herman Bergson: Yes I saw it.....
[13:26] CB Axel: One good cop was stopped from doing good. :(
[13:26] herman Bergson: The  cop who pushed him was shocked when he saw the blood
[13:26] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Trump said something like,,,the man fell on purpose
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I saw a police posting a video of how he opposed all this and he lost his job
[13:26] CB Axel: Hate seems to make people physically stronger and emotionally empty.
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :(
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): awful
[13:27] herman Bergson: Hate is that weird force in us that brings evil
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): all while Trump is pushing on "YOU HAVE TO DOMINATE THEM!"
[13:28] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Hate costs a lot of energy
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he really shows that he is 100% evil now, his true side
[13:28] CB Axel: I read this quote today that helps explain Trump's reaction to all of this: ALL TYRANNIES RULE THROUGH FRAUD AND FORCE, BUT ONCE FRAUD IS EXPOSED, THEY MUST EXCLUSIVELY RELY ON FORCE. -GEORGE ORWELL
[13:28] herman Bergson: I'd the documentaries......and you'll learn that there still is hope
[13:28] CB Axel: Caps not mine. I cut and pasted.
[13:29] herman Bergson: Very true, CB
[13:29] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I just hope all this will stop, or even better had never happened
[13:29] CB Axel: Until you invent time travel, Bejiita, never happened is not an option.
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and that Biden becomes the president (he should have been last time instead of Trump) as I get it Biden is the total opposite of Trump
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): at least mostly
[13:30] CB Axel: He's not the total opposite, but he's all we've got.
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): he seems to have something in the brain at least
[13:30] herman Bergson: let's not discuss US politics here.....
[13:30] CB Axel: He's not liberal enough for me.
[13:30] CB Axel: Good idea, Herman.
[13:31] herman Bergson: But wonder about man who can  be so peaceful and cruel in the same time
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well we need someone not spreading hate and lies around the world thats for sure
[13:31] herman Bergson: So far we have seen that both sides seem to be in our genes
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and as u said there is probably still hope
[13:31] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cause most are as u said ok
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ill watch through those videos, already saved the links
[13:32] herman Bergson: It is worth your attention
[13:32] herman Bergson: They deal with a lot os themes we are dealing with here too
[13:32] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm, I want a world without hate
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): its meaningless and brings only sadness
[13:33] herman Bergson: That could be possible, Bejiita...
[13:33] CB Axel: I think you'll have to build it yourself. :)
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hope so
[13:33] herman Bergson: it seems that when people understand their hate feelings, they can change
[13:34] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:34] herman Bergson: There IS some progress......
[13:35] herman Bergson: I see it every time on TV when I see for instance a colored TV host of a newsprogram....
[13:35] herman Bergson: in the 50s it would have been unthinkable
[13:35] herman Bergson: Now you see brilliant minds on TV, that are not white
[13:36] CB Axel nods
[13:36] herman Bergson: We have black professors and scientists now......
[13:36] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:36] herman Bergson: SO....the hate isn't that strong anymore in general
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): now US only need to learn this too
[13:37] herman Bergson: There even was a non white president
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): because indeed we are all the same
[13:38] CB Axel: It's so confusing, though. I learned today that the Nederlander group that owns many Broadway theaters donates heavily to Trump.
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes but many opposed that and those same ones put trump in his position
[13:38] herman Bergson: therefor I am still an optimist about the fate of mankind.....
[13:38] CB Axel: Yet the musical Hamilton is in one of their theaters.
[13:38] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the world have at least got better in general and hopefully will continue to do so
[13:38] CB Axel: I guess if people of color can make you money then they can be accepted. :(
[13:38] herman Bergson: Do Nederlanders own Broadway theaters?
[13:39] oola Neruda: i think it depends upon the neighborhood.... there are still a lot of very cruel people out there
[13:39] CB Axel: LOTS of Broadway theaters. :(
[13:39] herman Bergson: YEs oola, there are
[13:39] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Nederlanders?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Didn't know CB
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the most worrying thing now are the totalitarian leaders recently in position. In Hungary, Poland, Turkey ect
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): includig Trump
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): those have to go
[13:40] oola Neruda: some of the most vocally "christian" that i know...are the most prejudiced
[13:40] CB Axel: And many in the West End and in the US.
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): then world will become even better
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but ill hope things will soon change
[13:40] herman Bergson: It will take centuries.....
[13:41] CB Axel: Too many people who call themselves "christian" are anything but.
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): true CB
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): they use it for power
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and oppression
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): might
[13:41] herman Bergson: Like Gemma said last week....racism will be forgotten in 200 years
[13:41] oola Neruda: and forgiveness for what they do
[13:41] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we are the same
[13:42] herman Bergson: But we are part of the process to make it a forgotten issue
[13:42] CB Axel: There has been racism in the US since white people first arrived.
[13:42] CB Axel: So it started in Europe much earlier than that.
[13:42] herman Bergson: Since the 16th century CB, when the slave trade began
[13:43] CB Axel: The slave trade did not begin racism.
[13:43] CB Axel: The slave trade was caused by racism.
[13:43] herman Bergson: Matter of definition.....
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yep
[13:43] herman Bergson: if you treat your fellowman as cattle....what do you call that?
[13:44] oola Neruda: or when countries were colonized,,,,the real citizens were treated badly because the whites had ships and other ways to run things...
[13:44] herman Bergson: white supremacy?
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): tyranny
[13:44] CB Axel: I don't really blame Europeans. With the history of small city states etc all fighting one another mistrust of different people is to be expected, I guess.
[13:44] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): De meerderheid van de Broadwaytheaters zijn eigendom van of worden beheerd door drie organisaties: de Schubert Organisatie, de winstgevende tak van het non-profit Schubert Fonds die 16½ theaters bezit (het deelt het eigendomsrecht van de Music Box met de Irving Berlin Estate); The Nederlander Organization, die negen theaters onder haar hoede heeft en de Jujamcyn die er vijf beheert.
[13:44] oola Neruda: and look what they did to the Native Americans
[13:44] oola Neruda: to get their land
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa yes
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): the wild west time
[13:45] CB Axel: Racism didn't start with the slave trade. Whites were prejudiced against natives.
[13:45] oola Neruda: right
[13:45] CB Axel: Like oola said.
[13:45] herman Bergson: what about centuries old anti-semitism?
[13:45] oola Neruda: and in the old country...prejudice against anyone who did not have as much as you had..... "ranking"
[13:45] herman Bergson: dates from the Middle Ages...
[13:46] oola Neruda: class system
[13:46] oola Neruda: still have that
[13:46] CB Axel: Dates from the Roman empire at least.
[13:46] herman Bergson: It all boils down to this US vs THEM inclination we have
[13:46] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): The name “Nederlander” has been synonymous with great entertainment since 1912. A show business dynasty began when David T. Nederlander, a smart young businessman living in Detroit Michigan,
[13:46] herman Bergson: that is more universal than racism
[13:47] CB Axel: They own 9 of the 41 Broadway theaters, so nearly 1/4.
[13:47] herman Bergson: you're off topic Beertje
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): sorry
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but I had to know if Nedrlanders own theaters in the US
[13:47] oola Neruda: no idea
[13:47] CB Axel: I think she's just trying to defend another Nederlander. :)
[13:47] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): it's the name of a man
[13:48] CB Axel: Yes. It's a family name.
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): yes
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:48] herman Bergson: So, no Dutchmen......
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): no, not at all
[13:48] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): aa ok
[13:48] herman Bergson: fake news then ^_^
[13:48] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont):
[13:49] herman Bergson: Thanks for the fact checking anyway, Beertje
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): my pleasure
[13:49] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): this is how misunderstanding comes in our lives
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): never thought who owned the Broadway theater however I watched the CATS musical recently at a friends place, the newly made 2019 version
[13:50] CB Axel nods
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and I've also seen things like West Side tory, even tried to do a play of that one in SL long ago
[13:50] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): me and some friends
[13:50] herman Bergson: Conclusion.....Dutchmen aren't supporting Bunker Boy with donations
[13:51] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): lot's of people are misunderstood, and hate is an easy way to do something about it
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): easy way out?
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well
[13:51] CB Axel: I would never accuse any Dutchmen of supporting Trump. :)
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:51] herman Bergson smiles
[13:52] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): you need a lamp to find one CB:)
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): haha
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats true
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well you could fumble around for it
[13:52] herman Bergson: Enough of this :-)
[13:53] oola Neruda: some people create hatred towards others as a means of getting followers and or power
[13:53] oola Neruda: FEAR
[13:53] herman Bergson: We can overcome hate, most of us are OK......only news media and Hollywood make us believe that most of us are not ok, easy killers etc
[13:53] herman Bergson: yes oola....
[13:54] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): the influence of film and other media is enorm
[13:54] oola Neruda: Trump does that
[13:54] oola Neruda: beelittles people
[13:54] oola Neruda: or outright scourches them
[13:54] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): but sweet and nice movies are not an attraction
[13:55] herman Bergson: He does...and now he has his own it....Bunker Boy
[13:55] CB Axel: Speaking of film, I should go. I now have 6 videos to watch before Thursday!
[13:55] oola Neruda: smilessssss
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:55] oola Neruda: did you make that one up?
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ill plow through as well
[13:55] herman Bergson: 4.5 hours in total CB :-)
[13:55] oola Neruda: love it
[13:55] CB Axel: That's not bad. :)
[13:55] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:55] herman Bergson: ok...thank you all  again......
[13:55] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): oh i need a lot of coffee and chocolate
[13:55] herman Bergson: Happy watching :-)
[13:56] herman Bergson: Class dismissed......
[13:56] CB Axel: Thank you, Herman.
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): Thank you Herman
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu next time
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:56] CB Axel: And sorry for the Nederlander confusion to the Nederlanders here. :)
[13:56] herman Bergson: See you Bejiita ^_^
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): or should we play turtles again?
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:56] .: Beertje :. (beertje.beaumont): CB
[13:56] herman Bergson: Interesting confusion CB
[13:56] CB Axel: Bye, everyone. See you on Thursday. :)
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu CB
[13:56] herman Bergson: We do Bejiita
[13:57] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you Herman and class!

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