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  • "God" given right to kill?

    Are we born to kill?

    Is the essential nature of our species that of conflict and subjugation of others? I ask this as my students have asked me. Are we simply "re-acting" the wars of the past with new faces, new weapons and new uniforms?

    Is bloodlust and the primal act of murdering another human, even though it may be sanctioned, justified and necessary, our essential human nature?

    What is it then which drives peoples to inflict harm or death upon others in theaters of war? Is it merely a matter of gathering scarce resources and claiming geography as ones own? Or is it something deeper more insidious, more primal as I mentioned above?

    If we are in fact NOT born to kill then why over the past seven thousand years of recoreded time, are we overwhelmed by so many wars?

  • #2
    If you follow the theory of evolution as initially put forward by Darwin, then I would say that that war and conflict is the ultimate logical extension of the competitive nature of all species - the "survival of the fittest".

    In this regard, we do not have a "God" given right to kill, quite the opposite in fact.

    Dr. S.
    Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

    www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

    www.tabletown.co.uk

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    • #3
      Killing

      Barber...I think your second comment is pretty close to the mark. There is something that drives mankind into conflict. I don't think you can a assign it a single quality but religions attempt to do so. In the end it really doesn't matter because war in some form or another will be with us always...until the end of time. There is nothing that compares to it in the field of human endeavor. In fact when we want to express an ultimate public policy we often use it as a metaphor....war on crime, war on drugs, war on poverty, war on poor reading skills, etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: "God" given right to kill?

        Originally posted by Barber
        Are we born to kill?


        Is bloodlust and the primal act of murdering another human, even though it may be sanctioned, justified and necessary, our essential human nature?

        What is it then which drives peoples to inflict harm or death upon others in theaters of war? Is it merely a matter of gathering scarce resources and claiming geography as ones own? Or is it something deeper more insidious, more primal as I mentioned above?

        If we are in fact NOT born to kill then why over the past seven thousand years of recoreded time, are we overwhelmed by so many wars?
        Maybe we, as a species, are predisposed to kill. Society, as a whole, has tried to curb that inclination through rules, laws, and the such. However, as you stated, we continue to kill one another over the littlest things. Let's face it, what other species on the planet has the ability to totally eradicate every living thing on the planet in less than 15 minutes?

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        • #5
          Sometimes it's called self preservation

          Sometimes wars can be avoided (temporarily, at least) by further compromise. Sometimes when one side is willing to do that, the other senses that willingness to talk as a sign of weakness. Case in point, Neville Chamberlain getting off the plane after allowing Hitler to gobble up Czechslovakia. As Chamberlain was going on about how he achieved "peace in our time" Hitler was probably already working on Case White - the invasion of Poland.

          I believe that the same is true with al Qaida. There is no need to talk to them because they'd just like to see our destruction because we are not of the same ideological bent as them. Nothing less than our demise will satisfy their appetite.
          I come here to discuss a piece of business with you and what are you gonna do? You're gonna tell me fairy tales? James Caan in the movie "Thief" ca 1981

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          • #6
            If I remember correctly, Clausewitz touches upon this topic of why we wage war early in On War . I'll have to find it to be sure.
            Stay Alert, Stay Alive!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Doctor Sinister
              If you follow the theory of evolution as initially put forward by Darwin, then I would say that that war and conflict is the ultimate logical extension of the competitive nature of all species - the "survival of the fittest".

              Not sure this holds up. We certainly are a predator species, but this question goes to man's capacity to do violence to himself. Most species rely on display and very limited combat to resolve issues of dominance, terrritory, etc. The type of all out to the death struggles that humans engage in among members of the same species is quite unusual. If it were a natural product of evolution one would expect to see it in many species. Quite the contrary it seems to be quite unnatural. Indeed if we are doing to go with the religious theme one maight well attribute it to being a product of the fall rather than a "God given right."
              Boston Strong!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JSMoss
                Not sure this holds up. We certainly are a predator species, but this question goes to man's capacity to do violence to himself. Most species rely on display and very limited combat to resolve issues of dominance, terrritory, etc. The type of all out to the death struggles that humans engage in among members of the same species is quite unusual. If it were a natural product of evolution one would expect to see it in many species. Quite the contrary it seems to be quite unnatural. Indeed if we are doing to go with the religious theme one maight well attribute it to being a product of the fall rather than a "God given right."
                I disagree. Mammals are innately hostile to one another in the same species when it comes to sexual competitiveness - i.e. when competing to gain the attention of a prospective mate. With humans this competitiveness extends to all aspects of life. Yes, it's unusual that it is taken to the extremes to which we have developed the art, but then we are a higher life form, so maybe it's inevitable that we will develop differently than our mammalian cousins. I stand by my views as initially expressed. If we were not a competitive species, there would be no war - period.

                Dr. S.
                Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

                www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

                www.tabletown.co.uk

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: "God" given right to kill?

                  Originally posted by Barber
                  Are we born to kill?

                  Is the essential nature of our species that of conflict and subjugation of others? I ask this as my students have asked me. Are we simply "re-acting" the wars of the past with new faces, new weapons and new uniforms?

                  Is bloodlust and the primal act of murdering another human, even though it may be sanctioned, justified and necessary, our essential human nature?

                  What is it then which drives peoples to inflict harm or death upon others in theaters of war? Is it merely a matter of gathering scarce resources and claiming geography as ones own? Or is it something deeper more insidious, more primal as I mentioned above?

                  If we are in fact NOT born to kill then why over the past seven thousand years of recoreded time, are we overwhelmed by so many wars?
                  No, we are not "born to kill", we are born able to kill. Everyone of us is equally capable to inflict as much murder, mayhem and destruction on mankind as our desires take us. Conversely, we are equally capable of as much love, compassion and generosity as our hearts desire.

                  It is not ability, but intent, that drives the human animal. We do what we want both because we are capable AND desirous. Without desire or intent, we will do little or nothing. Without ability, we will not excel, but we are still capable of good or mischief in relation to our intent.
                  Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                  (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Genrlemen,
                    A most impressive dialogue thank you.


                    Picking up the thread of "a predator species"

                    Accepting that we are born with the ability to choose whether to act violently or not. But let us imagine we coul;d strip away all the trappings of civilization and place a group of men on an isolated island perhaps. Given enough food and shelter etc for everyone indefinately will the situation end up with the group splintered into two factions and eventually waging war upon each other. Given no outside interference or any additional factors in place, lets say all the men are shipwrecked and suffer from amnesia causing them to foget personal identies, ethinicty, etc. in this sort of primal state where all desires would be met will the men fashion weapons and kill each other?

                    I am trying to drive into the heart of human motivation, a predator species kills for survival or advancement, no? Looking at it as a matter of natural slection. remove all women and thus the ability to reproduce one's offspring is removed, is this a utopia or will the men, by their essential nature alone, becoming somehow bent on the desire to kill?

                    no nations, no justification, no civilization.
                    Justy men alone with each other?

                    Will murder naturally arise or not?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Barber
                      Genrlemen,
                      A most impressive dialogue thank you.


                      Picking up the thread of "a predator species"

                      Accepting that we are born with the ability to choose whether to act violently or not. But let us imagine we coul;d strip away all the trappings of civilization and place a group of men on an isolated island perhaps. Given enough food and shelter etc for everyone indefinately will the situation end up with the group splintered into two factions and eventually waging war upon each other. Given no outside interference or any additional factors in place, lets say all the men are shipwrecked and suffer from amnesia causing them to foget personal identies, ethinicty, etc. in this sort of primal state where all desires would be met will the men fashion weapons and kill each other?

                      I am trying to drive into the heart of human motivation, a predator species kills for survival or advancement, no? Looking at it as a matter of natural slection. remove all women and thus the ability to reproduce one's offspring is removed, is this a utopia or will the men, by their essential nature alone, becoming somehow bent on the desire to kill?

                      no nations, no justification, no civilization.
                      Justy men alone with each other?

                      Will murder naturally arise or not?
                      As least two factions - whether we like it or not, we are bound to covet the other guys' belongings, whether by avarice, envy or simply a knee-jerk reaction. Thus do wars often happen. Until man has humanity engineered out of him, he will seek what he has not. To express it differently, the first rule of economics states that "everyone acts in their own self-interest" I want what you have because I figure that, somehow, it will make me happier, richer, more fulfilled. Also, in comparison you will be less well up, at least until you take from me, or somebody else.

                      Different people will agree on not based on their fundamental beliefs. My sociology professor disagreed with me that there are basic human instincts that cannot be engineered out, they may be suppressed to some degree, but, especially in times of stress, or when the being in question is questing after something, the being will revert to them - it is instinct, not easily repressed.

                      In closing, man is capable of the very good and the very bad. He will likely have an inclination and tend toward it, but is still capable of both, indeed the full range of emotion. The only exceptions to this are the mentally impaired, whose disability precludes the capacity for rational thought, hence the very stunted emotional makeup. Also, those suffering from personality disorders, such as psychopaths, sociopaths, borderline personality disorder and similar impairments will not display this emotional makeup. Many would describe these people as "evil" and/or other similar labels, but in fact, they are very nearly emotionally void. Emotions such as they have are so wrapped into their deviant (and I mean no negative inference here) personality that they are well-nigh indistinguishable.

                      I hope this has helped, rather than to further muddy the waters.
                      Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                      (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Conflict

                        Conflict is created anytime there is a scarcity of a resources. We fight either to acquire or retain said resources. Fortunately; for the most part bloodletting is normally taboo. National conflicts are really the same but on a larger scale. So to answer your question...no there is no god given right to kill. But it will happen.



                        Cheers!



                        Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                        "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                        What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Conflict

                          Originally posted by RStory
                          Conflict is created anytime there is a scarcity of a resources. We fight either to acquire or retain said resources. Fortunately; for the most part bloodletting is normally taboo. National conflicts are really the same but on a larger scale. So to answer your question...no there is no god given right to kill. But it will happen.



                          Cheers!



                          Yes, a classic case of a fundamental casus belli (cause for waging war). I may be better off than you in every way (social, economic, resource-wise), but you have some land, resource, possession or other item that I want. I may be more powerful than you, whereby I will take what I want by massive force; or I may be weaker, whereby I will engage in covert and guerilla style actions against you, and I will continue until I achieve my ends, or until you have decisively defeated me. Nothing will be allowed to stand in my way - the objective is everything. Look at Japan from 1931-1945 - they inidcated that no excess, no depravity, no atrocity was beneath them, in the pursuit of their "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere". With great focus, massive force, and ruthless intent, they succeeded in subjugating much of East Asia.

                          It may easily be rationalized that the people who are not willing to unleash their maximum power and ability are doomed to subjugation. Without making a values judgment, "might makes right" has been proven true in all places at all times.
                          Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                          (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Conflict

                            Originally posted by RStory
                            Conflict is created anytime there is a scarcity of a resources. We fight either to acquire or retain said resources. Fortunately; for the most part bloodletting is normally taboo. National conflicts are really the same but on a larger scale. So to answer your question...no there is no god given right to kill. But it will happen.



                            Cheers!



                            I agree! Wars are fought for two general reasons, survival and greed.

                            As long as there is a scarcity of resources there will always be war. Peace is a transitional situation with man. It occurs when the economy is productive enough to make peace as a temporary option more productive than war.

                            Or it can also be when your neighbor is more productive than you are. If the gap it too large then there is always the temptation to take what you cannot economically make on your own
                            Lance W.

                            Peace through superior firepower.

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                            • #15
                              I just think we like to fight.
                              "War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want."
                              General William "Uncle Billy" Sherman

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