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A Lesson from the Cat

fromantle
Posts: 274
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8/20/2015 10:04:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Our beautiful sleek, black, yellow-eyed cat killed a young song thrush.
My wife was outraged , she could not stroke him and locked him in the house.
"You must let him out it's the nature of cats they are pedators", I told her.
The pain slowly died and he was restored to our affections.
But what of man ? what is his nature?
Modern neuroscientists tell us we are partly hard-wired by natural selection.
Unlike the cat most of us have consciences which make us examin our actions.
Robert Hare has worked with long-term criminals for many years.and has suggested that 1% of the American population are psychopaths or human predators who lack empathy. Brain scan studies by Susanne Posel in 2013 suggestrd psychopaths have recognisable abnormalities.
Actions that we cannot help call into queston the whole area of law relating to punishment.Could it be that in the future brain scans those suseptable to extremist ideologies? It may be that large numbers of Isis members are infact psychopaths.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/20/2015 8:40:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/20/2015 10:04:18 AM, fromantle wrote:
It may be that large numbers of Isis members are infact psychopaths.

We know from human history that ordinary people inspired by fear and nationalistic jingoism can routinely become monsters.

We also know that children can be taught to kill insensitively from an early age -- abducted and often forced to kill a family-member child warriors can be trained at age six to eight for example.

In the renaissance, popular entertainments were to set dogs against bears or set fire to a cat.

In ancient times, adulterers would sometimes be stoned to death. In Taliban Afghanistan, they'd parade them in a soccer field, and push a brick wall over on them with a tank. Ordinary Afghanis would clap and cheer.

It's disturbing to think about, but we don't need a congenital defect to become a monster. Perhaps what keeps us kind and peaceful are our own societies.
Greyparrot
Posts: 14,295
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8/21/2015 3:32:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/20/2015 8:40:24 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/20/2015 10:04:18 AM, fromantle wrote:
It may be that large numbers of Isis members are infact psychopaths.

We know from human history that ordinary people inspired by fear and nationalistic jingoism can routinely become monsters.

We also know that children can be taught to kill insensitively from an early age -- abducted and often forced to kill a family-member child warriors can be trained at age six to eight for example.

In the renaissance, popular entertainments were to set dogs against bears or set fire to a cat.

In ancient times, adulterers would sometimes be stoned to death. In Taliban Afghanistan, they'd parade them in a soccer field, and push a brick wall over on them with a tank. Ordinary Afghanis would clap and cheer.

It's disturbing to think about, but we don't need a congenital defect to become a monster. Perhaps what keeps us kind and peaceful are our own societies.

http://en.wikipedia.org...
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/21/2015 3:43:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/21/2015 3:32:06 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/20/2015 8:40:24 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
It's disturbing to think about, but we don't need a congenital defect to become a monster. Perhaps what keeps us kind and peaceful are our own societies.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Exactly, GP. Our societies can civilise us -- or can easily induce the reverse.
fromantle
Posts: 274
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8/21/2015 4:43:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/21/2015 3:43:54 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/21/2015 3:32:06 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/20/2015 8:40:24 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
It's disturbing to think about, but we don't need a congenital defect to become a monster. Perhaps what keeps us kind and peaceful are our own societies.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Exactly, GP. Our societies can civilise us -- or can easily induce the reverse.
It would be nice to believe society can keep us peacable but such belief ignores our genetic background.
Human evil is a natural phenomenon, and some level of predatory violence is innate in us. Sam Harris neuro scientist
Ramshutu
Posts: 4,063
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8/21/2015 5:18:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/20/2015 10:04:18 AM, fromantle wrote:
Our beautiful sleek, black, yellow-eyed cat killed a young song thrush.
My wife was outraged , she could not stroke him and locked him in the house.
"You must let him out it's the nature of cats they are pedators", I told her.
The pain slowly died and he was restored to our affections.
But what of man ? what is his nature?
Modern neuroscientists tell us we are partly hard-wired by natural selection.
Unlike the cat most of us have consciences which make us examin our actions.
Robert Hare has worked with long-term criminals for many years.and has suggested that 1% of the American population are psychopaths or human predators who lack empathy. Brain scan studies by Susanne Posel in 2013 suggestrd psychopaths have recognisable abnormalities.
Actions that we cannot help call into queston the whole area of law relating to punishment.Could it be that in the future brain scans those suseptable to extremist ideologies? It may be that large numbers of Isis members are infact psychopaths.

The Stanford Prison experiment, and indeed occurrences in real life such as Abu Graib, and general prisoner abuse, relatively normal people involved in the Nazi Genocide shows that morality can be mutable, what you consider right and wrong is not an absolute but in many cases a product of the environment you are in. Whether you like that or not.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/21/2015 6:30:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/21/2015 4:43:36 PM, fromantle wrote:
At 8/21/2015 3:43:54 AM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/21/2015 3:32:06 AM, Greyparrot wrote:
At 8/20/2015 8:40:24 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
It's disturbing to think about, but we don't need a congenital defect to become a monster. Perhaps what keeps us kind and peaceful are our own societies.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Exactly, GP. Our societies can civilise us -- or can easily induce the reverse.
It would be nice to believe society can keep us peacable but such belief ignores our genetic background.

Chimpanzees are 98% genetically identical to us, and one of two nearest extant genetic relatives. They live in patriarchal troupes that routinely rape, commit infanticide, and perform ethnic cleansings in a competition for food.

Bonobo apes are also 98% genetically identical to us, and our other nearest genetic relative. They live in cooperative, oversexed matriarchal hippy communes and do none of those things.

Further, despite the violence in their societies, chimps are also one of the few species shown to be capable of compassion and self-reflection. In the wild, when well-fed, they will help strangers solve food-puzzles. They also understand how to use a mirror, and will readily adopt the young of other species to raise.

While our species has been guilty of every misdeed chimps have ever committed, we are also a species that learned to treat dogs as family, feed and protect each others' infants, and treat strangers as friends.

So we can see an enormous range of social behaviours reflected in our own genetic backgrounds, and in the behaviours of related species. While individual propensities might vary, I think what we actually do as a society depends on the societies we build.
fromantle
Posts: 274
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8/22/2015 10:55:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I knew nothing of Stanley Milgrams experiment thankyou for the informatio .
I'm just a layman probing the experts hoping to make some sense of the world.The findings that our consciences are quite weak and easily overcome by authority makes a lot of difficulties fall into place.
Why since Isis members are human just like me do they behave so differently?
I was reminded of Julian Jaynes the origin of conciousness and the bicameral mind.I think we are nearer to bicameralism than we credit, and authority pushes us into that unconcious mode.
Julian Jaynes mentions religion. and inner voices which would tie up with extremism and suthoritarian societies.
Since the theory believes modern conciousness only came into being about 3000 years ago it would explain your point about ape life- style. They are not concious in the way that modern man is.