[ExI] Reason for religions, was riots

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Thu Oct 4 13:21:15 UTC 2012

On 3 October 2012 21:31, Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:

> The problem with these example, IMO, is they are predictable,
> repetitive, uniform on all individuals. They biologically evolved in
> this way. When it become cold bird start to migrate; bird migrating too
> early or to late migrate alone and are more probable to die. At the end
> the population evolve in a way the switch switch all together or near
> together.
> If human biologically evolved this behavior, they would be unable to
> control it in any way. It would act inside any and all individuals
> indifferently from the others. They would be unable to go in war mode
> before being compelled by the switch and unable to prevent it after.
> There would be no reason to develop something like religion to
> justifying it.

I have two slightly different approaches to the subject, namely:

i) I agree with Arnold Gehlen and Konrad Lorenz that it is peculiar of our
species that most of our "istincts" are not really such, but rather
"pulsions", meaning that the istinct is there, but its object is not
hard-coded as it may be the case for other "lower" animals.

ii) Be it as it may, "war-mode" is simply a restrictive view of what can be
more accurately and broadly defined as "aggression". Now, aggression is
vastly controlled and ritualised and regulated also in other species,
especially amongst carnivores, including but not limitedly by cooperative
alternatives; but the "aggressive" istinct is an unavoidable part of our
ethology, and is expressed not just by military conflicts, but by
competition for sexual mates, for the access to limited resources, for
social success, in sports and games, in business, in artistic or literary
excellence, and by definition in politics, that is the domain (see Carl
Schmitt) having for subject by definition the identification of "friends"
and "enemies", a distinction which may per se involve at least in some
scenarios one kind or another of violent confrontation.

Now, it is very doubtful for me that aggression in the broadest sense has
become a disfunctional feature in our societies. Were this the case, the
trait would be quickly eliminated from our genetic endowment, and no such
process appears to be in place.

Stefano Vaj
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