Transcending the jungle

Humans are glorified animals, and it is debatable whether we are "better". Even though humans have great capacity to transcend our base natures, it appears we choose to do otherwise, even in conditions of great security where the lower rungs of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs are easily satisfied.

One reason for this is due to the existence (the optimist in me refuses to write "prevalence") of sociopaths and psychopaths. I've long held the view that all humans today have basically descended with two basic poles of evolutionary fitness behaviour: hunting and gathering. You can also argue these traits are responsible for our biological divisions. There is a continuum between these poles and no human is one or the other entirely. The hunters are the more aggressive types who in today's society are likely to be the violent sociopaths but abnormal, antisocial, and asocial behaviour can arise from anyone.

As civilisation progresses, we should have transcended our need to be hunters and gatherers yet I believe we fall into the same patterns of behaviour since we don't think about it. So everywhere you go in this world, there's going to be some idiot who will want power. There is no escape at the time of writing. These people usually are occupying positions of authority in society, including law enforcement and government but also as heads of big institutions of any kind, where (they believe) they have power over other people's lives. While some of them might be behave ethically, some won't you never know with whom and when that occurs. So our best bet is to live in a place where there is a reasonable amount of freedom and you're free from the whims of these power trippers, big and small.

Incidentally, this is one of the reasons conservatives are deeply distrustful of government but people who propose limited government without thinking through the consequences are also falling into the same authoritarian trap. The same applies too much government but I believe our collective wills can be a force for good provided it is done correctly (so not little or big, but "right government" which is possible only via technology combined with the right sort of policies).

You can also try to fight for others to have this kind of freedom being aware of the consequences. You can try to fight for greater democracy, perhaps a techno-democracy, that lets everyone have a say in how they are governed but representative democracy is flawed with humans as they are currently for the reasons stated above.

Pseudointellectual ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||