Monday, September 03, 2012

Why should all hell not break loose?

Look around. Nature is cruel. Nature is self-centred. At best, you will conclude you dont know what purpose, whoes purpose, nature is designed to serve. It is certainly not designed for known human standards of goodness. Everytime I read about or hear about some new confounding act of cruelty, this hits home with fresh force. Evil is a fact of life and not a biproduct of circumstances as people seem to want to believe!

I keep getting the argument that no child is born evil. Really? Then what about genetic propensities? Recently I heard about a shootout perpetrator who documented "changes happening inside him" for the month before he committed the crimes. It was later diagnosed that the region in his brain that control fear and anger had been feeling pressure from the growth of a tumor in a nearby region over that period of time. I am told that such a diagnosis can help the accused garner an easier sentence in a court of law because he couldn't help himself. The law seems to take the stand that it is a force to influence your free will. As if, we are cautious of our own basic instinct and its potential for evil.

We really have little clue on the so called noise factors that make people turn rogue. As little clue, as to what makes people turn great altruists. And yet, somehow, we are tuned to feel good about acts of true altruism versus what is considered evil. And if an act of kindness comes with personal sacrifice, the more noble the act. Well.. Mother Nature teaches us little of these behaviors anywhere in the history of her evolution. In trying to be this way, we are trying to rise above our nature - an act, one might argue, of questionable wisdom.

Some argue that the greater good is an evolutionary instinct because the greater good is not divorced from your own well-being. However, the greater good has gotten to be a pretty complex concept in today's world. And yet we largely prove ourselves "good". But that is not necessarily rational. Because, we cant see whats good about being good too far in any direction.

I wonder, if this is just a different way of embracing "religion". You do something from a feel good gut that is a function of rituals (laws) and an outdated evolutionary mind set (the greater good). And that seems the path forward to a happy life! It is a scary thought that we need some sort of an attitude to keep ourselves out of mischief.