[Paleopsych] Slowly Slicing The Violence Out of War

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Fri Oct 8 03:35:10 UTC 2004

“It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization  witnessed 
by the history of mankind:  You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the 
Shariah of Allah  in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws.”
  Osama bin Laden explaining to Americans why they are Satanic, Message To 
the Ummah May 12, 2004
Western Civilization gives the right to do it your self, diy, the right to 
create—the right to create new movements, the right to create new artforms, the 
right to create our own constitutions, laws, theories, and beliefs. Osama 
wants to take all that away.
Every pecking order battle between groups is a battle between hypotheses in 
the mass mind—guesses about the best way to do things. Osama’s guess, his 
hypothesis, has been tried out in Sudan and Afghanistan. Its result is a living 
Margaret Mead said that every primitive, indigenous tribe in the early days 
of man forbade the murder of human beings. The problem was the definition of a 
human. The name of our tribe meant we were humans. Everyone from another tribe 
wasn’t human at all. he or she was fair game. In early tribes like these, 
said Mead, the number of “humans” whose lives were sacred was only 50 to 75. The 
rest of the earth's population was a legitimate target for murder. But today, 
Mead pointed out, the number a single society says “thou shalt not kill” is 
much, much greater. In India and China your fellow tribe members, your fellow 
human beings, your fellow Indians or Chinese, your brethren who you’re not 
supposed to kill, is 1.2 billion.
Two anthropologists, William Divale and Marvin Harris, combed through data 
from 561 primi­tive tribes and discovered that 21% of the males were killed off 
violently before they ended adolescence. One out of every five men in these 
primitive, indigenous tribes died in skirmishes and war. The percentage of the 
slaughtered skyrockets if you include the women and children wiped out by 
indigenous peoples like the South American Taulipang, who burned dozens of families 
in their huts, loved the screams of pain inside, then marched home shouting a 
joyous "hei-hei-hei-hei-hei!"[i] 
If our techno-modern society killed at the old tribal rate, roughly 720 
million modern humans would be blasted to smithereens in wars or homicides every 
generation. Compare this with the 55 million who died in WWII, and the 
bloodlettings of the last hundred years, are less than one-tenth of what they'd amount 
to under tribal or hunter-gatherer ways. 
Much as many of us hate Donald Rumsfeld, Rumsfeld tried to invent a new form 
of humanitarian war in Iraq. He tried to achieve it with smart bombs and with 
missiles that could jet down the street, turn a corner, and go directly into 
the room where a military group was hiding out. 
Total American deaths in Iraq now total 1,100. Civilian deaths come to a 
maximum of 13,603 . The total deaths in a regional conflict of this sort 150 years 
ago, the Crimean War of 1853 to 1856, came to 615,378.[ii] For every 41 
people killed in the Crimean War, the Iraq War has killed only one. 
The war in Iraq is grisly, ghastly, and deplorable. But for all practical 
purposes, the War In Iraq has saved 600,000 lives. That is a huge reduction in 
Compare the deaths in the current Iraq War, revolting as it is, to deaths in 
the war that dragged on between Iraq and Iran from 1980 to 1988. That war 
lasted eight years and cost more than a million lives.
Or compare this to a total of a million deaths every year worldwide in car 
accidents. Or compare it with the deaths worldwide each year caused by cigarette 
smoking, which total about 5 million[iii]. Every death is horrible and every 
war is deplorable. But thanks to industrialism, capitalism, technology, 
cultural advances, the spread of western values, and thanks to what some of us call 
cultural imperialism, we are making progress.
There’s an unspoken moral imperative to capitalism. It says to those who 
practice it, “save thy neighbor”. Save her with a delight. Save her with a moment 
of joy. Save her by taking her out of herself for a minute, an hour, or a 
day. Save her by giving her new powers. Save her by giving her new comforts and 
new consolations. Save one neighbor and you make a dollar. Save a thousand 
neighbors and you can make a thousand dollars. Save ten million folks you’ve never 
seen, folks who are your neighbors on this planet, and you can make ten 
million dollars.
If you forget that your mission is to understand your neighbor’s needs and 
serve them, you will go home empty at the end of the day. You’ll wonder why you’
re among the mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation, why you’re 
among the hollow men, heads filled with straw, trudging without purpose through 
life. Save your fellow human beings with what we call products and services and 
you can go home knowing that someone needed you today. You can go home knowing 
that you were a part of something far, far greater than yourself—the 
advancement of others. 
And perhaps you were even a part of something that Osama deplores and we 
should celebrate-- the handmade evolution of the human race. 

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Core 
Faculty Member, The Graduate Institute
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy 
of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive 
editor -- New Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang 
to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.extropy.org/pipermail/paleopsych/attachments/20041007/16ba6503/attachment.html>

More information about the paleopsych mailing list