[Paleopsych] sacrificial systems

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Tue Oct 26 19:26:52 UTC 2004

>>Is evil a person, e.g., Satan, or a force at work in
the world and in the wills of humans?<<

--I think evil is more like a habit. A person with a
really annoying habit seems identical to the habit,
since it eclipses all other traits in the mind of the
observer. Unless the observer is a neurologist, a
behavioral or gognitive psychologist, a depth
psychologist or a believer in demons. Or a historian,
in the case of modern evils that recapitulate earlier
ones. An annoying habit and a scary addictive cycle
are both legitimate objects of curiosity, and when
society refuses to look at evil through a scientific
lens (insisting on the attribution of evil to
individuals as if individuals invented evil) there is
a lot of room for curious individuals to look at evil
in new ways, discarding superstition for a sincere
interest in both the mechanical aspects of evil and
the mythology surrounding it.

An evolutionary psychologist would say evil is part of
the social calculus that gave some people a mating
advantage over others until the hierarchical mating
privelege pyramid became entrenched in institutions.
The man who gets the women and the votes is the alpha
male who shows strong "daddy" traits. The women who
get the men are the ones who can navigate the
madonna/whore complex, the compliant/arrogant polarity
and other psychological conundrums. In either case, it
is the ones who can manipulate the social system, push
the buttons of others that trigger compliance,
favoritism or emulation. We still vote for people who
resonate with our lizard brains, not people who write
eloquently and lucidly about issues.

>>Is evil the distortion of good or the lack of a
measure of goodness?<<

--Evil is a boundary violation, especially one which
leads to a ripple effect or an infinite series of
boundary violations. War is evil, because it triggers
tit-for-tat responses that are dominated by fear and
identity myths rather than knowledge. Rejection is
evil, because it produces an itch in the rejected to
repeat the scenario with roles reversed. Apathy is
evil because it enables psychotic alpha males and
females to rule over others in subtle or overt ways.

 There has to be a certain amount of harmonic tension
in a culture, connections that are both competitive
and cooperative. Without those connections, society
experiences a range of problems from paralysis to
"driving off the cliff" behavior in the powerful and
powerless alike. Everyone denies responsibility by
claiming other responsibilities, and everyone pushes
off his portion of the necessary sacrifice by
sacrificing others. 

Sacrificial logic is built into the natural system,
and humans fear it enough to wear scary masks to
frighten others into accepting more than their share
of the sacrifice. In doing so, people become more and
more attached to the faulty logic that says a
sacrifice is needed at all. In avoiding the worst
moves in the game from a personal perspective, we
collectively create a game which gives some
individuals only bad moves, and that injustice tends
to corrode trust and accountability on a fractal

>>Is evil a radical choice or a banal

--The latter makes the former possible. Evil is
usually an attempt to evade responsibility, pushing it
onto someone else. When everyone believes a sacrifice
is necessary, potential scapegoats begin trying to
push each other toward the hot seat while getting
themselves into a position of safe compliance with an
evil game.  

>>Is God responsible for evil or are humans?<<

--Humans are responsible only for their choice, and
choice is subject to natural laws like everything
else. Marketing psychologists know the brain is a
machine and they exploit its most machinelike
tendencies (laugh tracks appeal to the social brain
even when the thinking brain is aware they're only
laugh tracks). The public in general tends not to
learn marketing psychology, and the result is that
someone figures out how to push buttons to gain power,
and exploits the consistency principle (if you loved
me you must continue loving me, even if it means
ignoring reality) to turn society into a sacrificial

We squeeze out some despised group, in order to avoid
being squeezed out ourselves, and in playing that game
we set the rules of the game for future generations.
Cascades of manipulation produce a culture that must
unite over some sacrificial narrative, one which
destroys the identity and security of one group in
order to feed the psychological needs of the majority
and avoid a confrontation with internal hypocrisy.
Whatever tensions can't be handled internally are
manifested externally through bullying, intimidation
and pre-emptive reprisals for imagined crimes.

>>How do humans conceive of evil and how does that
relate to their understandings of human nature, the
good, and God?<<

--Everything that one fears someone else might do is
part of one's own imagination. Evil relates to the
first cut in one's consciousness, the split between
self and matter. A feeling of self is gained by
treating others as matter, and it is always done in
order to avoid seeing oneself as matter, subject to
the same laws as everything else in nature.


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