Building from a piece of the last post and from Neil's comment:
"Also, couldn't it be argued that this behavior is related evolutionarily to how many animal species treat the smaller and weaker of the litter ?"
Bullying. Predation. Abuse and exploitation and even slavery...all are very, very natural things. Ants milking aphids (or is it the other way around?). Cats toying with mice. The new leader of a pride of lions killing the cubs of the previous leader. This is where we came from. All of us.
A lot of it is very cold math. If your tribe is starving you MUST take food or land from a neighboring tribe. There are only three options-- 1) Refuse to take the land. You and your children starve. None of us are the products of this choice. 2) Try to take the land and fail. You leave no descendants. None of us are the products of this choice. 3) Try to take the land and succeed. We are all descended from people who made this choice.
If lion 'A' kills the previous leader's cubs and lion 'B' does not then B's cubs start out at a disadvantage. The killers win the darwin game.
And this is where people glitch. There is an automatic assumption in our world that natural=good. Most of what we call good is profoundly unnatural. And it is still good. Compassion for others outside our immediate gene pool? You will search long and hard for this in nature and if you can find an example it will be because the very oddity has drawn attention. Natural sanitation systems? Where is the gender equality in a pride of lions or a herd of deer or any other social mammal?
Do we have gender equality now? Of course not. But we have the idea. An idea not found in nature. And we have decided it is good and many, many people are working for it.
You may or may not agree, but I like this civilization better than the natural world. I love that I can cherish K instead of thinking of her as a commodity or a 'helpmate' or a gift from her parents to cement ties who could be traded off...
But this civilization, this concept of good, is an act of mass will. It takes work and effort and conscious decisions every day. Being a bully is natural. Even the weak do it when they get the chance. Exploiting is natural. People do it unconsciously every day. Seeing your impulses and choosing another course, a better way...
That is unnatural.
That is an act of will.
That is what being human is all about.
Jan 31st 2015 - If you are in the Bay Area ... This Saturday, 4 - 6pm ish. Book reading/discussion/Q and A on 'The Liar the Cheat and the Thief' + play, at Soja Martial Art...
23 hours ago