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56278Re: [evol-psych] Warfare as suicide

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  • Phil Roberts, Jr.
    Aug 5, 2007
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      Irwin Silverman wrote:

      > On Thu, 2 Aug 2007, Phil Roberts, Jr. wrote:
      >>In this view, the moral ideals that underlie most human
      >>conflict is not so much an adaptation as a
      >>maladaptive byproduct of the evolution of rationality.
      >>Is this pretty much a non-starter as far as
      >>you are concerned?
      > I'm with you on the need to identify with something larger than
      > self. I am a great fan of Erik Erikson's analysis of the travails of
      > adolescence in these terms.

      Yes. His view on social development is interesting. However, I
      think it is misleading to refer to the emotional difficulty we
      often encounter in adolensence as an "identity crisis". The
      problem is not that we don't know who we are in adolesence, its
      that we CAN'T ACCEPT who we are, i.e., of low stature, etc.
      This is different from a great ape, in all likelihood, in that
      in man it has an emotional component not present elsewhere in
      nature to any significant degree, in that it is injurious
      to the ego (self-worth) to perceive one's self as an underling.
      Compare this to what a great ape probably experience, i.e.,
      frustration at not being able to access physical necessities
      with no ego/self-worth manifestations whatsoever. It is
      a mistake, IMHO, to equate the pecking order we find in
      nature where only physical needs are involved, with our own
      insatiable appetite for self-significating experience in
      which difficulties have resulted
      in suicide being the second leading cause of death in college
      students, at least according to a recent television report.
      Humans are not animals, and the reason why EP is not taken
      seriously is because too many EPers think we have to assume
      they are in order to qualify as a scientist. There is
      nothing scientific about the assumption that the introduction
      of rationality into natural selection doesn't bring along
      with it it's own dynamics.

      > I don't go along, however, with the
      > "maladaptive byproduct" notion. Our so-called moral ideals
      > are a large part of our politics and competitive nature.

      But our competitive nature has a lot more to do with
      ego/self-worth than with physical needs. When Mary Collins
      dumped me for another guy when I was twenty-one, I had to
      be monitored for suicidal behavior per instructions from
      my shrink. That makes no sense whatsoever in evolutionary
      terms. Rather than curling up in a ball and wishing I was
      dead, I should have had an even stronger urge to compete
      for females. My competition with other
      males had very little to do with my physical needs, but
      rather with my EMOTIONAL need for evidence that I was
      of worth, in this case in the estimation of a significant
      other where the reflection on my self-worth was all the
      more effected.

      > E.O. Wilson put it this way:
      > " Human beings are consistent in their codes of honor, but
      > endlessly fickle with reference to whom the codes apply.
      > The genius of human
      > sociality, in fact, is the ease with which alliances are
      > formed, broken
      > and reconstituted, always with strong emotional appeals
      > to rules believed
      > to be absolute (On Human Nature, 1978, p.163)"

      And yet, most of us would agree that the codes of honor of
      the Nazi's were less honorable than those of most modern
      cultures. There seems to be a standard over and above
      the specific codes that guides us.


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