The Psychological Hypothesis
17) This approach to man’s predicament starts from the fact that an infant has to endure a longer period of helplessness and total dependence on its parents than the young of any other species.
One might speculate that this early experience leaves its life-long mark and is at least partly responsible for man’s willingness to submit to authority wielded by individuals or groups, and his suggestibility by doctrines and moral imperatives. Brain-washing starts in the cradle!
18) For the vast majority of humankind throughout history, the system of beliefs that accepted, for which they were prepared to die, was not of their own making or choice, it was shoved down their throats by the hazards of birth. Pro patria mori dulce et decorum est. For one’s country death is sweet and right, whichever the patria into which the stork drops you!
19) Critical reasoning played, if any, only a secondary part in the adopting a faith, code of ethics, an embracement of the spirit of the times of becoming a fervent Christian crusader, a fervent Muslim engaged in a holy war, a Roundhead or a Cavalier.
20) The continuous disasters in humankinds history are mainly due to his excessive capacity and urge to become identified with a tribe, nation, church, or cause, and to espouse its credo uncritically and enthusiastically, even if its tenets are contrary to reason, devoid of self-interest and detrimental to the claims of self-preservation.
21) We are driven to the unfashionable conclusion that the trouble with our species is not an excess of aggression, but an excess capacity for fanatical devotion.
22) Even a cursory glance at history should convince one that individual crimes committed for selfish motives play quite an insignificant part in the human tragedy, compared to the numbers massacred in unselfish loyalty to one’s tribe, nation, dynasty, church, or political ideology.
23) Excepting, a small minority of mercenary or sadistic disposition, wars are not fought for personal gain, but out of loyalty and devotion to king, country or cause. Homicide committed for personal reasons is a statistical rarity in all cultures, including our own. Homicide for unselfish reasons, at the risk of one’s own life, is the dominant phenomenon in history.
24) Anyone who has served in the ranks of an army can testify that aggressive feelings towards an enemy hardly play a part in the dreary routines of waging war. Soldiers do not hate. They are frightened, bored, sex starved, homesick, they fight with resignation because:
a) They have no choice
b) With enthusiasm for king and country, the true religion or the righteous cause.
They are moved not by hatred but by loyalty.
25) To say it once more, humankinds tragedy is not an excess of aggression but an excess of devotion.
26) The wars of man, with rare exceptions, were not fought for individual ownership of bits of space. The man who goes to war actually leaves the home he is supposed to defend, and does his shooting away from it and what makes him do it is not the biological urge to defend his personal acreage of farmland, and meadows, but his devotion to symbols derived from tribal lore, divine commandments, and political slogans. Wars are not fought for territory, but for words.
27) This brings us to the next item in our inventory of the possible causes of the human predicament. Language.
28) Humankind’s deadliest weapon is language. He is susceptible to being hypnotised by slogans as he is to infectious diseases. And when there is an epidemic, the group mind takes over. The group-mind obeys its own rules, which are different from the rules of conduct of individuals. The individual is not a killer, but the group is, and by identifying with it the individual is transformed into a killer.
29) This is the infernal dialectic reflected in humankinds history of wars, persecution, and genocide. And, the main catalyst of that transformation is the hypnotic power of the word. The words of Adolph Hitler were the most powerful agents of destruction at his time. Other species posses a single method of communication, by signs, sounds, or by scorching odours, which is understood by all members of that species. When a St Bernard meets a poodle they understand each other without needing an interpreter, however different they look. Humans, on the other hand is split into some 3,000 language groups. Each language, and each dialect thereof, acts as a cohesive force within the group and a divisive force between the groups. We have communication satellites that can convey a message to the entire population of the planet, but no ‘lingua franca’ that would make it universally understood.
Note by Dad: ‘How Art Made The World’ book ISBN 0-563-52205-4 and TV Documentary, Dr Nigel Spivey. Pictures of leaders, religious leaders, and the dictators, in human history that have influenced humankind and still do, by using the medium of art – to brainwash. (a deadly weapon as we know so well and for ‘diversive ambition’)