One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Can we blame evolution for terrorism?

May be the quote of Martin van Creveld, "War is the greatest fun you can have with your paints on" seems improper to a lot of people but I like to repeat it because it reminds us of a tragedy that is the gift of nature (evolution). Creveld says this evolutionary tragedy as, "Men love war and women love warriors" and as you know well that "female preferences" in evolutionary studies are popular driving force for a lot of bizarre evolutionary trends in male animals that have evolved at cost of lowering their survival rates. Some well known examples are bright coloration, elongated tails, feathers, fins, horns etc. Males in order to attract female mate also compete with each other and sometimes these competitions are fatal. When it comes to men, men have not evolved horns, bright coloration, long feathers and tail but instead have evolved cultural products. Among these cultural products are "glory" and "honor"... Glory and Honor are actually the same as coloration, long feathers and horns in animals...

Some pictorial presentation of evolution in response to female preferences,
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But what it does mean to us? That is the key question. If warrior nature had evolved only as a matter of defense and protection, we could expect that by growing awareness the levels of wars would drop and we could hope for an ultimate peace but the fact of matter that the love of war is something also linked with female preference is dangerous. Because it makes wars glorious and sadly it is the case. Most of time wars are not fought based on necessary (defense) but for glory, national glory or personal glory and we unfortunately we can blame evolution for this....

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Almost all cultures both ancient and modern saw war as a source of glory and it is also indicative of the fact that it will remain so in future. Though Sports present an alternative to this evolutionary need and both nations and individuals are earning glory through sports but I don't think that sports have been successful as an alternative to war so far...

The biggest concern is the shifting modes of wars. As armies are increasingly shying to face each other they use proxies to harm each other and this method has emerged as main cause for rise of terrorism. It is said that evolution is blind and this concept sadly looks true when we see a link between terrorism and evolution. When I see terrorists take pride of the killings of innocent unarmed citizen and pose themselves as heroes, I can see the true drive under their skin. Though they try to legitimize their acts based on religion or ideology but their acts are more than simply driven by ideology or religion. It is the "Peak experience" or "sense of glory" that drives the killings... In a way poverty is also makes terrorism attractive. Poverty denies or reduces the chances of having "Peak experiences" through constructive achievements and as terrorism provides very cheap chances to fill the "empty experiences" with "Peak experiences" so individuals with weak psyche get attracted to it.......

Following is a talk from Aljazeera and I thought it has some link with our topic...
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5 comments:

  1. Almost all cultures both ancient and modern saw war as a source of glory…

    It really doesn't seem to me that the need for glory is what is driving modern wars. It is not a reason normally given for the invasion of Iraq, for example, nor for the genocide in Rwanda.

    Also, ancient cultures that waged war are not far enough back in time that you can firmly state that their actions have anything to do with evolution. It could be a purely cultural phenomenon, like so many other ones that don't have clear links to behavior influenced by our evolutionary past.

    By your line of reasoning, because humans are evolved animals, we can blame anything we do on evolution: love, war, caring, hurting, partying, religion, terrorism. I'm not quite sure what your errand is, but you seem to downplay the link between religion and terrorism. I don't deny that there are other factors - clearly there are, such as poverty and injustice - but saying that we can blame terrorism on evolution is rather empty.

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  2. Dear Bjorn, thanks for thoughtful comment. If you don't believe that modern warfare is not driven by "glory", I recommend you to watch BBC's documentary, "The Power of Nightmare"... you can watch it on You Tube... Still, I recommend you to read Pluto's Republic in which he talks about "Noble Lie" as a way to social engineer. Culture is a means of social engineering and war stands at the core of it because it is what makes cultures distinct from each other and let people to identify them as a group. One more point I like to make that cultural evolution is not measured with same stick with with we measure physiological evolution... A quick glance at history shows the rapid evolution of culture....

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  3. If you talk about cultural evolution (which is indeed much more rapid), then I think you are conflating that and biological evolution in your post. Also, what are you really saying in this post, in terms of blaming cultural evolution for terrorism?

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  4. Dear Bjorn, I agree with you in the sense that evolution of culture needs a different mechanism as it has evolved very distinct than that of biological evolution... Instincts on other hands are playing as a bridge between two and we can't totally cut off both... like for biological evolution we need chemical molecules (genes) to explain their evolutionary trends though both systems are different...

    Coming to link of terrorism with evolution, the point is that both when people are illiterate and ill literate biology reflects more in their actions than reasoning... Cheers and thanks for reflection :)

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