--Matt Ridley in Evolution of Everything; How New Ideas Emerge, page 270
"If one allows the infidels
to continue playing their role of corrupters on Earth,
their eventual moral punishment will be all the stronger.
Thus, if we kill the infidels
in order to put a stop to their [corrupting] activities,
we have indeed done them a service.
For their eventual punishment will be less.
To allow the infidels to stay alive
means to let them do more corrupting.
[To kill them] is a surgical operation commanded by Allah the Creator."
--Ayatollah Khomeini, 1984
Don't forget: We live during the least violent time in all of recorded human history. We have done this by abandoning tribalism and embracing the, cosmically speaking, very new ideas of compassion and empathy. What we are seeing are the death throws of an old morality, where honor and vengeance and the death you could inflict were how you judged yourself as a person.
So the proper response to a terrorist attack shouldn't be hate or bloodlust, but pity; pity for a group actively choosing to be forgotten and disregarded by the long eye of history.
That was humorous, but not exactly fair or kind. After a bit more surfing I found an article on Leftwing Pathology that posits that left wingers are essentially psychopathic. I will bypass the commentary on this page because in general it is name calling and not productive. But I do see how this is completely true from the conservative perspective.
Conservatism, most basically, is a limbic or mammalian mindedness emphasizing deep emotional connections, visceral aversions, and a strong instinctive sense of rightness vs wrongness. Liberalism is neocortical, involving the ability to weigh conflicting theories and integrate disparate data. To conservatives, liberals are immoral, or even psychopathic because they don't act from their hearts and guts. Liberals think about it, and make decisions based on information. The liberal method doesn't appreciate the power of people's personal attachments and belief systems. It hurts people's feelings. To the liberal, conservatives are dimwits who can't think rationally about anything. Of course the conservatives feel that they are the rational ones, they just consider different things to constitute "information".
It's about as bad as trying to get Israelis and Palestinians to talk to each other.
Conservatives feel a great deal more emotional pain when they are asked to act contrary to their own values. Liberals are expert at rationalizing--or neocorticalizing, if you will. Liberals are capable of acting more like a psychopath and being indifferent to pain both inside and around them.
But there's a spectrum. Some people are nearer the middle between emotional/instinctive/believing and intellectual/rationalizing/skeptical. Some can see both sides. Our limbic systems are intact and we can love deeply and hold values that matter, at the same time that our neocortices are developed enough to see that sometimes fairness that hurts is better in the long run than unfairness that feels safe and good. Maybe we could spend a little more time and energy trying to understand and be human to each other. We may not be able to develop policy that satisfies the deeply held attachments of conservatives, but we can at least acknowledge when the situation calls for deeply painful compromise, and try to be kind. The liberal who can't understand conservatives is more foolish than the conservative that can't understand liberals.
However hardly anybody is giving money to the cause. We all feel rich enough to share the link, but we, myself included, don't feel rich or involved enough to give money to a far-away cause. How can we induce world-tribe behavior? Can it be done? Or is it antithetical to true human nature? We are tribal, but it appears to me that our tribe is not extended by way of computer or television screens. I think that we need to touch and smell each other to feel that the other is part of our tribe.
I can't help but to wonder what happened to this man to make him so vicious. He is human too. How did his compassion get stripped away?
But seriously now. People seem to think that if something FEELS right then it is right. What if it feels right and is wrong? What if your gut is misguided? What if your certainty is wrongheaded? When do we begin to resort to intelligent consideration of trends and patterns, not just impressions based on isolated facts?
A worthwhile read. Draws a distinction between ethnic religions and universal ones. Ethnic ones are value systems based on maintaining a tribe. Universal ones transcend tribal identity. Non-procreative sex, ie homosexuality, is banned by ethic mores but in universal terms is seen more openly.
--J. Michael Straczynski
· Get up early (five o’clock)
· Go to bed early (nine to ten o’clock)
· Eat little and avoid sweets
· Try to do everything by yourself
· Have a goal for your whole life, a goal for one section of your life, a goal for a shorter period and a goal for the year; a goal for every month, a goal for every week, a goal for every day, a goal for every hour and for every minute, and sacrifice the lesser goal to the greater
· Keep away from women
· Kill desire by work
· Be good, but try to let no one know it
· Always live less expensively than you might
· Change nothing in your style of living even if you become ten times richer
--Lewis, Amini and Lannon, A General Theory of Love, p281
This quote out of context may be a little confusing but let me just say that this book explains why we have so many youth who can and do torture and kill other living beings. Without compunction. It has to do with a lack of proper limbic bonding in infancy, and the ensuing lack of development of the communal and familial mammalian brain. Our current cultural climate has everything to do with a multiple generation emphasis on success in the workplace at the expense of family and community, and it has everything to do with horrific parenting practices such as the (supposedly character-building) neglect espoused by Dr Spok.