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Violence

 


Violence is the choice of the incompetent. We were not born with fangs and claws like animals which need to resort to violence even for their food. We are endowed with a higher-level consciousness, a mind that that can think rationally and find practical and amicable solutions to problems. We are not meant to be violent by our very physical structure and nature. Yet many of us choose to remain at the level of animals by resorting to violence.

Human evolution seems to have been one-sided; the brain evolved while the heart remained the ape’s. Our intellectual faculties went on acquiring more and more finesse enabling us to probe the microcosmic world of subatomic particles and the mystifying infinity of the cosmos. We have created technology that can put the old gods to shame. We will achieve a lot more in the days ahead. Our brains will ensure that.

But what about our hearts? We are still primitive enough to hunt down other people just because they worship other gods, have different cultures, or are darker-skinned than us. A casual look at the 20th century alone will reveal indubitably the monstrosity of our hearts.

The eradication of the non-Serbs by the Bosnian Serbs, the Ottoman slaughter of the Armenians, the Nazi Holocaust, Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia, Saddam Hussein’s destruction of the Kurds, the Rwandan Hutus’ extermination of the Tutsi minority… Well, there are more. Every continent on the earth had it. Violence. Worse than animals. The victims were from a large spectrum of race and religion – Asian, African, Caucasian, Christian, Jewish, Buddhists, Muslims… Add to all those the two world wars.

Would any of those animals whom we call brutes indulge in such massive acts of violence?

We are worse than animals. Our hearts did not evolve at all. They still remain primitive and savage. If the animals could think half as much as we can, they would hang their heads in shame looking at our deeds.

The last chapter (Afterword) of Harari’s bestselling book, Sapiens, is titled ‘The Animal that Became a God’. 70,000 years ago our earliest ancestors appeared on this planet as remarkably insignificant animals. 70,000 years is a brief period in the life of a planet that has been here for around 4,000,000,000 years. But in that brief period, that insignificant little descendant of the ape transformed itself into “the master of the entire planet and the terror of the ecosystem,” in the words of Harari. The author goes on to say that “Today it stands on the verge of becoming a god… (with) the divine abilities of creation and destruction”.

More destruction than creation, in fact. That is the contribution of the species that prides itself on its intelligence, ideology, spirituality, mysticism, and what not. Harari calls us “irresponsible gods who don’t know what they want”. Not knowing what we want, we went around wreaking violence on almost everything and everybody. We massacred and plundered. We raped both our women and our planet. We sent rockets and satellites penetrating the virginity of the outer space too. We did things that no other animal on the planet would ever do.

When will this violence stop?

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The previous post in this series: Utopia

Tomorrow: Will, the Tyrant

Comments

  1. 'Violence is the choice of the incompetent' is the beginning sentence of this post and if this is to be trusted, there's no need to find other reasons for violence (by mankind). We are violent. The reasoning leads to the inference that we are incompetent. Is it ? Your differentiation between heart and brains is more convincing in this regard. All the same, our womenfolk appear to be different from its counterpart, i.e., the men who have been the leaders to all kinds of (unnecessary) violence, brutality and hatred. Men perpetrate, women suffer the most without any fault of theirs. Have hearts of the women developed differently from those of men over the millenniums ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Women were kept suppressed in all patriarchal societies. Otherwise would they have been as violent as men? It would be interesting to study that.

      I've lived in Shillong for quite a while. Northeast tribes are mostly matrilineal with women wielding power. Yet the women were quite gentle while their men were ferocious. Now your question assumes greater importance. Are women more evolved than men? I'd say yes. I've no proof, of course, except the experiences and history.

      Delete
  2. You nailed it with "Violence is the choice of the incompetent," in the context of humans who don't need to hunt for their food any more and yet they hunt every day.

    I believe it is the other (darker) side of our intellect that has turned us into 'irresponsible gods'. The more we achieve and accumulate, the hungrier we get for even more.
    Other animals on the planet eat/accumulate only as much as they need. They don't destroy their own habitat in order to hoard more. So, perhaps, the heart is not to be blamed--but the egoistic intellect.

    Lastly, the current virus situation makes me wonder if this is the only way 'the gods' will be reined in. Is the Malthusian theory at work?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The heart-brain paradigm is a metaphor. It's all in the brain or consciousness, I suppose. So your darker side of the intellect view is entirely valid.

      I mentioned Malthus just yesterday in a conversation related to Covid. Perhaps the earth has its own corrective measures. Perhaps.

      Delete
  3. Can I ask how long it took you to write this..? Out of pure curiosity?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1/2 an hour. But i had a rough draft ready with me which took another 1/2 an hour to prepare.

      Who are you, if I may ask.

      Delete
  4. Very well written Sir.
    Yes it's very sad that inspite of all the intelligence some people still cannot understand the meaning of peace and harmony.

    ReplyDelete

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