SOPHIA: HOW EVIL ALLOWED BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION.
EVIL IS NO ACCIDENT. NOT ONLY IS IT A NECESSARY PRECONDITION FOR SENTIENCE, IT IS EVEN WHAT SENTIENCE WAS BORN FOR.
EVIL IS NOT THE HAND OF FATE, IT'S A THEOREM. IT IS NOT A DISASTER, IT IS A MIRACLE. IT JUST NEEDS TO COEVOLVE FURTHER WITHIN OUR TECHNOLOGICAL ECOLOGY.
Warning: The most horrendous systems of thoughts, emotions and desires can evolve, rule, and destroy. We call this vast ensemble "Evil". Those who "Evil" embarrasses too much (maybe because they sense it lurks, untamed, not too far, ready to pounce) should go read something else, because we demonstrate here that Evil was necessary for the apparition of sentient psychobiology. No less. In other words, Evil, far from being just an archaic nuisance best averted, was crucial for the rise of thinking, and the rise of all we are so proud of. The full appreciation of the good and the beautiful would not have come, but for the devil's good offices. Hey, nobody said philosophy was going to be nice and cuddly all the time. The reasoning herein also points out that biological evolution is not just about the evolution of species, but more generally about the evolution of entire ecologies, integrated with their associated psychobiologies. The rise of sentience is a consequence of this greater ecological evolution. As the last few lines of this essay make clear, one should not construe it as an apology of Evil. The hunter gets to know the beast, but it is not as a lover.
Abstract: EVIL EVOLVED BECAUSE ECOLOGICAL HARMONY REQUIRED IT. THUS EVIL WAS A PRECONDITION TO SENTIENCE. Evil is the part of psychobiology which entices higher animals to enforce ecological sustainability by behaving ferociously, and even cruelly. Verily, it is not just species which evolve. On their own, individual species are constrained in how much they can evolve without involving co-evolution in other species up and down the energy chain. ENTIRE ECOLOGIES HAVE TO EVOLVE AS ENTIRE BLOCKS. In particular, MINDS ROSE AS STEWARDS OF THE LAND, AND AS MODERATORS OF LOWER SPECIES, NOT JUST IN THE SERVICE OF EGOISM OR ALTRUISM. Conscience, and sentience, did not evolve just to obsess about food, love, sex and reproduction. They have much more sophisticated purposes. They also insure that the reproduction of others does not get out of control. SEX AND LOVE IMPLY EXPONENTIAL GROWTH OF TERMINATOR SPECIES; EVIL AND ITS MINIONS RESTRAIN THEM BEFORE IRREVERSIBLE ECOLOGICAL DAMAGE IS DONE. In other words, EVIL IS A THEOREM the demonstration of which nature made. L'ENFER C'EST POUR LES AUTRES.
Introduction: The Dark Side is a "pathology", some say, and they go back to sleep. No doubt. But that is the question, and not the answer: "patho-logy" means "logic of pain". We are going to find the logic behind the pain. Because logic there is.
Lovers of wisdom have long wanted to understand evil, but the subject yields maximum power, so it is quite dangerous. Socrates suggested that evil was a deviation from the good, a notion one generally tries to instill in people who are two years old. For this audacity, treating people as if they were children who did not know what they were doing as far as right and wrong, Socrates was executed, with the hope that philosophers would not to be so daring ever again. In Socrates' lifetime, democracy, and its hegemon and champion, Athens, was devastated through incomprehensible evil. Socrates could only agree to be suicided: he had been fully implicated in what had happened, although it was not clear what he did wrong. The lack of appropriate description of what it is exactly that Socrates had done which was wrong haunts humanity to this day. The same sort of questions resurfaced during many disasters of "Western" civilization (and most clearly during the Nazi disaster.)
Socrates had worried interminably about the details of democracy as Athens committed ethical horrors on the greatest scale with the greatest strategic consequences, causing her military defeat and the immense catastrophe which struck her (while Socrates was looking at the scary thing below his bed). Many of Socrates' ethical points were good, but far from being good enough, considering the terrible context in which the sharp edge of civilization found itself. Socrates was too low dimensional. What Socrates was doing was a bit like wondering about how Nazi party officials were nominated instead of condemning what Nazism was all about, deep down inside. After all, Nazism also started as a democracy. Athens and Socrates had turned out to be ETHICALLY AUTISTIC. It took more than two millennia to repair the damage the near annihilation of Athens caused, although Rome struggled mightily to understand part of what had gone wrong, and corrected some horrendous Athenian flaws very successfully.
The practical picture of what maximal Evil consisted of, which mostly eluded Athens in her time and age, is very much a concern for our age: we are oozing into a similar situation of having to act, to do great things, more than ever, although we are threatened with ethical obsolescence, just as Athens was. There is a danger we do very big, and very wrong, just as democratic Athens did. And for the same reason: ethical obsolescence. This time though, we are contemplating annihilation from thermonuclear bombs, synthetic viruses, and rising seas, rather than just from Spartan triremes and Macedonian phalanxes. If things go wrong this time, we may need another planet.
The Romans were tough and matter of fact. Evil was central to their business. That was best expressed by Plautus' "HOMO HOMINI LUPUS" (184 BCE; translated into English by Hobbes, to great Anglo-Saxon applause.) This Roman ethological observation, that man is a wolf for man, allowed the Romans to become much more realistic, thus much more clever, hence much moral than Athens at advancing civilization. The Romans were expecting the worse, and that was better. "Homo Homini Lupus" was exploited by the Christian sect, in a negative mood, by superstitiously labeling it "original sin" (Saul/Paul). The badness of man was made into an act of faith by Paul, and he honored it. The Christians forgot that the wolves had original goodness too.
Thereafter harassed and terrified by the Roman empire and the crazed Christianity it left behind, philosophy failed to durably re-impose itself after the Carolingians, and it carefully refrained from much ethical innovations until Sade (instead the ethical lifting was done by the populations, and the political and justice systems: increasingly restless city folks, rulers and the courts/parliements.) The divine Marquis of Sade squarely pointed out that it was not the concept of civilization which was at fault in the rise of modern evils, as Rousseau, sheepishly following the Christian fanatics Paul and Augustine, had erroneously claimed. Sade observed that NATURE WAS REALLY WHERE EVIL CAME FROM (in particular, Sade viewed the likes of Napoleon as natural born killers, and wrote extensively on the subject; Sade knew better than letting natural instincts run amok.)
Darwin, Nietzsche, Freud, Lorenz, among others, concurred with Sade. "What a book a Devil's Chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low and horridly cruel works of nature!" -Charles Darwin wrote when he was about to publish "The Origin of the Species" (1856). Those thinkers piled up increasing evidence for the evil nature of man. Man had evolved as the carnivorous ape, feeding his growing, fuel guzzling brain with rich animal fat, the best fuel around, thus becoming the most efficient weapons platform the planet ever knew, with the aggressive software to go with it. Having looked at Evil in the eye, Sade, who played diverse crucial roles in the French revolution, criticized its further excesses with uncanny accuracy, and especially the sort of excesses the dictator Napoleon opportunistically built his reign on. Napoleon imprisoned Sade in a mental asylum until he died, Rousseau was followed by the European defeat of civilization and its mind, symbolized by HHH: Herder, Heidegger and Hitler. All of this because of a systematical denial about what Evil was really all about.
Intuitively, demonic behavior seems of some advantage. When the going gets cruel, the cruel gets going. But the devil is in the mathematical analysis, because man has to be loving first. In any case, it remained to explain why CRUEL and FEROCIOUS animals such as wolves, lions and chimpanzees evolved, to start with. Why so much cruelty?
Neurobiology showed that there was a continuity between even the simplest animal minds and human minds. So if one really wants to find the root of Evil, one should dig into the genesis of simpler brains. Explaining why cruel animal and human minds evolved is the theme of the present essay. Such an explanation is far from being the impotent, uncomprehending lamentations of those (hypocritical) do-gooders, who, as some Buddhists and Christians do, advocate to throw away the entire universe (as if that was feasible, let alone moral), rather than having the courage to look at Evil, in the eye, and stab that Cyclops. We claim that describing the origin of evil is EMPOWERING, because once one knows why and how something operates, one can learn to drive it. Thus equipped one could drive away from the crudest forms of Evil.
The rise of the Dark Side of sentient psychobiology is explained by fundamental principles of biology, physics and mathematics discovered in the last two centuries. From the meta point of view, this explanation is similar to Galileo's discovery that the mass of an animal depends on the cube of its size, just as its strength depends upon its square, which constrains sizes and looks of animals. That explanation rested on comparing various n powers, i.e., linearity with the simplest non linearities. Galileo revered the mathematics of his time: circles, lines, etc. A few generations later, the exponential function was discovered, a type of non linearity much more sophisticated than the squares and cubes Galileo knew (since the exponential is an infinite sum of n powers.) The immense power of Evil can be understood only through the immensely powerful exponential. There is morality in the exponential, and it means business.
General organization of this essay: Since the subject is immensely complex, let alone charged with ... Evil, and some of the ideas therein are very new, we give a synopsis of what follows, to help the reader navigate through the conceptual landscape.
1) We refresh memories by showing Evil is omnipresent in ... humanism. Studying humans is, in part, but inescapably so, studying Evil.
2) We present the conventional "Darwinian" arguments for the rise of Evil. Interestingly, they originated with Darwin himself, who invented in passing group selection (which maybe the principal engine of the evolution of social animals). Those conventional arguments are of course correct, but they do not give a full picture of what is going on.
3) We generalize group selection to ecological evolution. We point out that physical and mathematical arguments imply Evil was necessary to accede to animal ecology. Animality is the creation of Evil. Evil accelerated ever more in the rush towards intelligence, culture, and sentience. Greater intelligence both allowed and necessitated greater Evil. All these arguments are completely new, and constitute the creative heart of the essay.
4) The devilish invention of agriculture (and herding, that is why the Devil has so many characteristics of a goat) became the culmination of it all. It forced Evil in overdrive to compensate for the increasing ecological imbalances.
5) We have to face the truth, namely that Evil is the last rampart before extinction. Only then can one hold the debate on what a survivable civilization should be (some prominent Romans and some of their prominent civilizational, and military heirs, the Franks, understood this to a great extent, and so they gave rise to a civilization which has perdured so far, as it mowed everything in its way: they used Evil, as necessary, onto others, as onto themselves. This is the psychological essence of the superiority of the civilization we have).
THE MYSTERY OF THE DARK SIDE: WHY ARE HUMANS SO EVIL THEY CAN ENSLAVE ALL THEIR VALUES TO THE LOGIC OF PAIN?
Sometimes, and actually quite often, human beings can passionately desire to inflict pain and mayhem, as if the Dark Side was the supreme good. Do they know something we do not? Humans can turn into terminators, who know just one thing: destroying humanity. Total mayhem abounds in history, and is arguably its greatest driver. India was born that way, the many great powers of the entire Mediterranean were born, and died that way, Imperial Roman Christianity was born that way, Islam was born that way; many times central Asia rolled all over the world that way; the civilization started by the Franks, which ended up conquering the world in spirit (when not in body!) was also, to start with, a bloody invasion of Europe, no holds barred. That entire human populations were annihilated is not wishful thinking: it is proven by genetic studies. Genetics can even tell when only women survived.
No nice and gentle civilization ever existed long enough to be recorded. Some examples. Buddhism preaches fanatical pacifism. Buddhism was established as a polity by imperial fiat in India, just as Christianity was established by imperial fiat in Rome. In both cases, those self glorifying religions of love and haughty non violence quickly became the source and object of hatred and massacres. They were either completely removed (Buddhism disappeared from India) or used as a front for empires (as the Greco-Romans and Franks did with Christianity).
Later, Buddhists founded an entire civilization in central Asia, with its own writing system, in fertile lands inserted in deserts, and mountain ranges. It organized itself as an empire centered on a powerful army (as empires are, by definition of the word "imperare", a God like military command). Thus Buddhism demonstrated the hard way that the establishment and continuance of civilization is incompatible with pacifism: the Buddhist empire was mean, and committed its own atrocities, just like all civilizations have to. Still, it was not mean enough. That Tangut empire extended to southern Mongolia. Gengis Khan wiped it out. Only debris in the sands are left. Buddhism nowhere lasted as a polity, because, ironically, it lacked that edge which gives goodness its effectiveness (to chop off the heads in the way of goodness). AGAINST EVIL, PACIFISM MOANS IN VAIN.
So far recent political philosophy has proven impotent against Evil. Wars, mostly in the first half of the 20C, killed about 160 million people, which is significant considering that the world population then averaged less than 2 billion. The second half of the century was spent contemplating the inside of the barrel of a loaded thermonuclear gun, and the itchy fingers on the trigger. Restraint momentarily prevailed.
Evil looks self defeating because it seems to go against an apparently greater necessity, love. We will show they actually both work in synergy towards a greater goal. Just as there is no species more loving than man, none is as diabolical as him, and it's the same coin. One face does not contradict the other.
EVIL AND HATRED KNOW NO LIMITS IN HUMAN BEINGS, LEAVING CONVENTIONAL HUMANISM IMPOTENT:
Nazism, as usual, graciously provides with a profusion of examples of Evil incarnated. Since Nazism blossomed in about 100 million people all at once, it can be viewed as faithfully depicting how much of the population is capable of choosing the Dark Side, given the right cultural encouragement.
Nazism, like Islam, ran on martyrs. It is brazen heroism which made Nazism possible in the first place. A lot of "heroes" had to die to allow Nazism to rule; the Nazis built a cult around their revered martyrs. Hitler thought this heroism would conquer the world. At Sedan in May 1940, suicidal charges by bomb carrying Nazi engineers were necessary to destroy deadly French gun positions, allowing the breakthrough of general Guderian's panzer army. Contemplating the battleground the next day, Guderian was amazed by what his (dead) "heroes" had done.
Evil blossomed in the Nazi army. Stopped for a few days on the Somme by Senegalese troops, with the hated black skin, Rommel's famous 7th Panzer division made the Franco-Africans prisoner after they ran out of ammunition. The Nazis executed them all, including the officers (white or not). Geneva convention be damned, for all to see! This sort of crime was repeated several times, to the Wehrmacht's eternal shame, but also as a little warm up to further holocausts. Still, to defeat France in spring 1940, 50,000 Nazi "heroes" died. The Nazis were bitter; soon they were going to run out of heroes.
By spring 1945 allied armies overran the Reich, and the real Nazis kept on fighting. Hope is for weaklings. Nazis were strong. After a firefight somewhere in the middle of Germany, some US medics came across a young SS officer bleeding to death. The Americans prepared a blood transfusion. The remarkably handsome young man, a poster boy for the SS, asked whether any of the life saving blood could possibly be Jewish. The medics told him they could not be sure, but that, without a transfusion, he would certainly die. If such was the case, the SS officer informed them curtly, he had to decline the transfusion rather than possibly owing his life to some Jew somewhere. So he died. The talkative and assertive Frau Goebbels poisoned her six children, rather than to let them live in a Nazi-less world. At the time, for 100 million people, Nazism made all the sense there was. In retrospect, it was all the sense Evil made. Clearly, Evil can make a lot of sense. Nowadays, nobody knows what Nazism stood for, besides shrill, hysterical, collective hatred. This happened in the country which had just been the most literate in the world. Evil is that strong.
Examples of heroism in the service of ultimate Evil annoy established humanism which has proven unable to comprehend, and HENCE to predict, and THEREFORE to PREVENT unnecessary Evil. Now that weapons of mass destruction are around a corner near us, it's in everybody's interest to shine a light on the subject, and especially at the bottom of the abyss, where its fons et origo lays.
Evolution theory was long guessed and practiced by people crossing, grafting and fabricating new species of plants and breeding new animals. A predecessor Aristotle quotes, the philosopher Empedocle, suggested that the theory of evolution occured through the "compounding" of animals with suitable characteristics which had accidentally emerged, while those with unsuitable characteristics perished (this is one of the main ideas attributed to Darwin). Around 1800 CE, Lamarck, a professional French biologist, author of "Zoolic Philosophy" (1809), promulgated evolution, while proposing a very different evolutionary mechanism, in which usage caused evolution. That mechanism was ridiculed at the time (and only proven recently through the rise of epigenetics in the early 21 C). Undaunted, Darwin praised Lamarck, and pushed all his ideas further (actually Darwin was more Lamarckian than Lamarck himself!). Darwin was fully aware he was walking into a lions' den. Lamarck had died penniless in Paris. Darwin knew that the evolution of life also was the evolution of the mind, and that those who wanted human minds to be a particular way they controlled best, would not be happy with him.
CONVENTIONAL EVOLUTIONARY ARGUMENT FOR EVIL #1: DARWIN'S IMPLICIT DISCOVERY OF TRIBAL FEROCITY AND ITS FASCIST MODE FROM GROUP SELECTION:
Darwin nicknamed himself the "Devil's Chaplain". Here is why. He proposed that Group Selection was a driving force in evolution (in the Descent of Man, 1871); Group Selection has overwhelming moral, sociobiological and psychobiological consequences. Says Darwin:
"It must not be forgotten that although a high standard of morality gives but a slight or no advantage to each individual man and his children over the other men of the same tribe, yet that an advancement in the standard of morality and in increase in the number of well-endowed men will certainly give an immense advantage to one tribe over another. There can be no doubt that a tribe including many members who, from possessing in a high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy, were always ready to give aid to each other and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over other tribes; and this would be natural selection."
Darwin puts a positive spin on it, by emphasizing nice and elevated moral qualities, as a 19C British gentleman should. But it is clear that, to "sacrifice" and "be victorious", one would need a certain amount of TRIBAL FEROCITY. So Group Selection selects for "Good" moral qualities, as Darwin emphasized ... but ALSO for "EVIL" moral qualities, as Darwin implicitly recognizes. Let's notice that the ferocity is in service of the "Good" in this extract from Darwin, although the former would have no point of existing, but for the later. After one more century of human ethology, plus about 100 million people killed in wars instigated by the great and most sophisticated Western civilization, in the name of superficial considerations, human nastiness from group selection is a well established fact that one would further ignore at everybody's peril.
The drift from Darwin here points in the direction of tribal conflict as a moral selector, and there is no doubt that such a feedback between tribalism and Evil has occurred back and forth in the last 200 million years or so. The most spectacular consequence of this on the neurological level is the FASCIST INSTINCT that the present author has written extensively about in other essays. Fascism is the ultimate weapon, the fail safe mode of being in tribal conflict, when the group has to fight as one mind, and one will. Tribalism may well have been the main engine of the selection of sociobiology we have. Such conflicts, in social animals, are perhaps the main drivers of evolution (not just of sociobiological evolution, but of evolution. Period. Selection of the fittest probably means mostly selection of the fittest tribe.)
Fascism makes one mind out of many, and when this neurological mode is activated the survival of the group is the one and only goal, and all moral (i.e., "customary") issues become secondary. There is no doubt that this is a major source of Evil, and we will come back on it in still another essay, on Fascism-and-Evil. For now, in the present work, we are focusing more on the very fundaments of why it is that psychobiologies have evolved which aim at hurting other animals... This lays the ground for conflict (hence in sociobiology it leads to the instinct for war, and then the one for fascism).
CONVENTIONAL EVOLUTIONARY ARGUMENT FOR EVIL #2: INDIVIDUAL HUMAN EVIL AS AN ACCIDENTAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE SELECTION OF THE FITTEST:
It was generally believed by theoreticians of human behavior, circa 2,000 CE, that human nastiness came from the more or less accidental evolution of the human species into a super predator. Those with the fiercest character survived better, so that advantageous trait was encouraged. For millions of years, there were enemies everywhere, a full gallery of monsters, among which 3 meter tall apes in temperate forests, giant baboons, giant hyenas, long legged carnivorous bears, giant cave lions, giant wolves, an average of a dozen no good, nasty species of various hominids, all of them predatory, and worse of all, other races of men. Clearing all this was the war which made man. That cannot be denied; anything else is such dangerous wishful thinking, it should be viewed as immoral!
Human psychobiology evolved as the best weapon in a war of all against all. It searched, destroyed, ate the remnants. No wonder that humans can be bad news. Human psychobiology is both the ultimate strategic system, and is in charge of ultimate combat management, where absolutely anything goes, as long as it hurts the enemy (hurting the enemy can save the group, so it's an instinct). Such was the conventional wisdom of a lot of evolutionary behaviorists (or ethologists, as they are also called).
Pacifists, Buddhists, Christians and other tree huggers and adulator of the New Age insist that however true this all is, it was a big accident, all this human nastiness. They insist that it's not really us, and anyway it's the past, and now we are civilized, or should be, so why to look into the heart of darkness? What's the point? Should not we forget about all this? Our ancestors found themselves small, hungry for nutrient rich meat, and chased by big monsters determined to make them into dinner. On a better planet, more endowed by fate, god, or justice, things would have been different, say these optimists. At heart they declare themselves to be like elephants or cows, and they moo. Conveniently forgetting that a solitary bull can be so aggressive that even hungry lions will leave him alone. Not only carnivores are ferocious.
Well, we will argue that this philosophical herd of would be human cattle misses the big picture. They got trapped in a small pasture. The herd believes that high morality is just a question of "getting along", and that "getting along" is innocent of all wrong doing, whereas, as we will now show, in truth, nothing is more charged with evil than "getting along", per se. Man did not evolve into badness by accident, and badness did not develop by accident, but, precisely, to enact the greater good of not "getting along" with the abundance of the flesh. Because the over abundance of the flesh is the most deleterious trap advanced biology can fall into. The very over abundance of the herd is a trap for existence.
Those conventional biological arguments for Evil are far from complete. They have neglected the obvious, namely the simplest mathematics of reproduction of an isolated species:
THE GROWTH OF ANY POPULATION IS EXPONENTIAL, HENCE ALWAYS UNSTABLE:
When a population of animals reproduces, its rate of growth is proportional to its size: it's an EXPONENTIAL. Exponentials grow extremely fast, because the acceleration of their rate of growth is proportional to themselves, and so is the acceleration of their acceleration, and so on ad infinitum. The explosive nature of the exponential is the crux of the matter when considering how such a philosophical notion as harmony intertwines with ecology to impose evil as the only solution. The explosion of evil controls the explosion of the exponential.
The simple fact that a population, independently of any other factor, grows exponentially makes it impossible to reach harmony within that population. To stabilize the population internally, each individual should have just ONE descendant, an intelligent design impossible before sentience (because such a design would require extreme cleverness while it gets feedback from the environment, but biology started as stupid and unawares as can be).
Ecology came to the rescue of the otherwise unsolvable population stabilization problem, because it uses populations to control populations, i.e., it uses exponentials to control exponentials, in the end producing gently rolling curves instead. This is not at all surprising: the physical universe is full of forces balancing forces, so why not the same in the biological universe that a planet is?
ECOLOGICAL DYNAMIC BALANCES THROUGH PREDATOR-PREY SYSTEMS ARE EVOLUTION'S CLEVER ANSWER TO EXPONENTIAL GROWTH:
The interaction between prey and predator is described by a system of non linear Differential Equations which depends upon four parameters. The first equation expresses what the rate of change of the quantity of prey is, and the second equation, the rate of change of the quantity of predators. The rate of change of prey has to be proportional to how much prey there is (the more prey, the more breeding), minus the rate at which prey is being eaten. That later rate is proportional to both how much prey there is, and how many predators there are, i.e., to their product (making the system non linear). Both terms have a parameter in front; the presence of these parameters is key: therein the subtlety of the situation (Lotka-Voltera, ~1925).
The second equation of the system is about the rate of change of the population of predators (it looks the same). Analysis then produces a whole continuous space for the values of the four parameters where there will be LONG TERM DYNAMIC EQUILIBRIUM OF THE TWO POPULATIONS. Two curves representing the two populations are produced by the analysis, and they resemble infinite oscillatory snakes lagging each other (so sometimes there is more of one of the populations, sometimes more of the other). Those two curves represent the infinite balancing act of predator and prey.
Example: in Canada, the snow shoe hare population oscillates in harmony with the lynx population. Sometimes there are more hares, sometimes there are more lynxes. The devil is in the parameters, which have to insure that the lynxes will not exterminate all the hares before they themselves starve, etc. The reproduction rates, lifespans, ground speeds, intelligence, personalities and other details of predator and prey are actually entangled, and hidden in those four parameters. Let's now move to our own kill by generalizing the analysis of dynamic balance across the entire ecology, from plants to herbivores and carnivores:
DEFINITION OF HERBS AND HERBIVORES (AS ENERGY LEVELS):
By "HERBS" (aka plants, which started as phytoplankton, to this day most of planetary herbal mass) we mean any DIRECT ENERGY PROCESSORS making energy from the sun or chemical, or geothermal sources. That's how life started, and how energy enters the pyramid of life. All other organisms (i.e., animals) scavenge the energy from plants (this is not the usual definition of plants, because we brazenly neglect viruses, archea, and bacteria; but the more general definition we use makes physical, i.e., energetic sense). Plants' numbers are limited by the solar energy falling on the planet (geothermal life has been more limited, mostly because geothermal energy output pales relatively to solar energy in the last few billion years).
The Principle of Least Action applies in biological evolution, as it does in physics. That principle, a sort of prayer the veracity of which is always observed by people known as scientists, says that the trajectory of least action will be preferred (basically the trajectory using the less energy). In particular, in biology, it says that the trajectory of least evolutionary action will be preferred among all possible evolutions. Applied to plants, the Least Action principle says plants should be as energy saving as possible. They should have no brains, and not much energy storage or travel capacity (because the capabilities those characteristics provide with are not necessary to make a plant, whereas they are necessary to make an animal)! This is important, because herbivores occupy the next level up in the energy well, quite a bit like the next level above the ground level in the quantum harmonic oscillator. The definition of this next energy level is that it exploits the concentrated energy found in the preceding level, i.e., plants.
Because plants are dispersed, due to the spread out nature of solar energy, herbivores were required to displace themselves to become greatest energy concentrators than the plants. Hence herbivores had to store energy, so they could travel. This, in turn, required them to have brains so they know where to go, and how to get there safely. Thus the snail appeared, with its stamina, its will to knowledge, and a few thousands neurons for brainpower. Human psychiatrists and neurobiologists have studied these simple brains, and so doing learned notions as fundamental as the diverse types of learning there is, and what they involve. Those notions readily apply to human minds (dissipating millennia of murky considerations of the philosophy of the mind).
# 1 NEW ARGUMENT WHY AND HOW EVIL APPEARED: THE HERBIVORES THEMSELVES COULD NOT APPEAR WITHOUT CARNIVORES TO EAT THEM!
Early herbivores TENDED to appear, but they really could not do so because, as soon as they appeared, not only their population would grow EXPONENTIALLY (as all populations do, absent other factors), but also, being endowed with travel capability, they could go around, eat all herbs they could reach, and then stick around, since they had energy stores, until they had ANNIHILATED ALL herbs. Then, having finally really nothing to eat at all, they would die off, being a contradiction onto themselves.
Verily, necessary to the apparition of the herbivores were characteristics calling for their IMMEDIATE DEMISE, because they could only be if and ONLY IF they could, in short order... ERADICATE ALL HERBS COMPLETELY. How to be without not to be, that was the herbivores' question, and they could not solve it by themselves. They needed more brains to solve it.
One could object that plants, too, reproduce exponentially. The difference is this, though: once plants have soaked all the energy of the sun, they run out of energy, and stop reproducing. They start dying off, from various deterioration. Plants cannot grow so much in population that they would go off, and go eat the sun. The source of plants' life is protected from them. In big bad forests with huge trees, the undergrowth is often clear, because little sun makes it down there, it's perpetual night.
But HERBIVORES CAN, AND WILL ANNIHILATE ALL PLANTS, i.e., the energy source they need to go on living. No goats can live on an island forever happy. TO GO ON AS A SPECIES, GOAT NEEDS WOLF. NO ANIMAL ECOLOGY COULD EVOLVE WITH HERBIVORES ONLY.
NO SPECIES IS AN ISLAND; IT'S NOT SO MUCH SPECIES WHICH HAVE EVOLVED, BUT ENTIRE ECO SYSTEMS. PREDATOR-PREY SYSTEMS MADE OF HERBIVORES AND HERBS ONLY CANNOT EXIST. PREDATORS PREYING ON HERBIVORES WERE NECESSARY.
Hence a first conclusion: TO EXIST, HERBIVORES REQUIRED CARNIVORES. Hindus don't eat animals, so a Hindu ecology would have been impossible to start with. The Hindu is an intrinsic contradiction. Cows could only be made, because there were non Hindus predators to eat them. "I feed others, therefore I am", such is the tragedy of the cow, a beast which could be allowed to exist if and only if it could get so killed its numbers could not grow.
Example: Even the largest herbivores (giant prehistoric fishes, or enormous blue rorquals of 150 tons, or elephants) had dedicated predators (giant sharks, orcas, and various felines respectively). No herbivore can do without its predator. To control the equivalents of goats, one needed the equivalent of WOLVES. And it is exactly what the fossil record shows: there never was a golden age of predator-free herbivores. To the chagrin of vegetarians and pacifists, as herbivorous amphibians followed the plants inland, extremely fierce predators accompanied them. The entire ecology evolved together, in a massive, multi species group selection, with a pyramid of predators which kept the oscillations of the system stable.
Example: Predators often eat each other (crocodiles are notorious that way), or simply kill each other (lions kill lions, wolves kill wolves, hyenas and lions kill each other in full battles, etc...). Predators actually tend to be obsessed that way (they aggravate their case by becoming landowners, patrolling and defending their properties to death; wolves' howling warns other wolves' packs to stay away from their territory). So carnivores' population, as a set, can self control: if there are really too many carnivores, they will do each other in.
Example: Alaskan grizzlies have solved the problem of starvation that way: when the going gets tough, the big ones eat the little ones. Indeed, rats, pigs, bears or even chimpanzees; being omnivorous, can eat each other before the last vegetable gets eaten, as long as they come to hate each other in a timely manner. Thus the superiority of the omnivorous animals for a stable ecology; it's related to the option of viewing each other as food of last resort.
A technical counter argument repelled: One could argue that plants can defend themselves directly in diverse ways, such as armor or poison, and that they do not need the carnivores to come to their rescue. Indeed, some algae stuff themselves with poison if they smell the presence of tiny crustaceans which eat them (if there are really a lot of the crustaceans, the algae go for it, leading to the famous blooms of toxic algae which, in turn, poison shellfish to gourmets' dismay). One could (should) derive a mathematical theory to show that such strategies can only be second or third order. The bottom line is that such defenses are evolutionary reactions to the already existing herbivores, and, as said above, the very concept of herbivore-without-carnivore leads to the immediate extinction of the herbs (so the herbs could not evolve defenses, because they would have disappeared first). Hence such passive vegetal defenses could only be selected in ecologies if and only if the herbivore-carnivores set up had already appeared, long before. In which case passive vegetal defenses present not much of a selective advantage, because herbivores are already controlled. On the other hand, all tricks (such as armor and poison) carry heavy energy loads (it may be more energetically economical to let oneself be eaten, as seeds do; besides it contradicts the Principle of Least Action...)
Without brain, there would be no suffering, hence no Evil. So the rise of pain and suffering has everything to do with the rise of Evil:
THE BRAIN RACE, A WEAPON RACE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS YEARS OLD. THE MORE THE BRAIN GREW, THE MORE IT HAD TO BE DEFENDED, SO THE MORE THE MENTAL ENVIRONMENT BECAME SELECTIVE:
In the simplest animals the brain appeared to find food, mates and learn the simplest definition of good, and bad, and what to do about them in the simplest manner. Such is Aplysia, a sea snail studied for its brains. Twentieth century neurobiology has shown that there is a continuity and expansion of neurology from the simplest brains to the most sophisticated ones. Understanding the former is the ground for understanding the latter, and so it is ethologically. Basic thinking maybe basic, but it's still thinking. To understand man through Aplysia is not a nightmare, but a necessary building block. In the present essay we are doing more of the same, because we claim that the basic moral categories can be identified by their common evolutionary roots.
Then higher intelligence evolved, characterized by imagining scenarios, finding how they may evolve, and picking up the best among them. At this point the brain became an error, probability, reality and truth detection device. A machine to tell the future. This was incredibly advantageous: the brain organized itself as a miniature transmogrifying universe capable of predicting the world at large, and even others and itself (somehow this basic brain function, that the universe can be predicted by the brain, amazed Einstein, but it's why all higher brain functions evolved in the last 500 million years; even primitive fishes exhibit them fully: a (wild but) tame shark will not eat the hand that feeds him, because it learned to predict its trainer's behavior, and knows it's more profitable that way, to live off the tourists trade.)
A brain race started, because crafty animals could see what was coming before it was there, and set up ambushes, or outwit them. As eons passed, the brain mass over body mass ratio only grew, thus defining the most advanced (that is the most clever) species. To be an efficient carnivore one has to ambush successfully, so the brainier the animal, the easier it was for that animal to eat other animals, i.e., the easier to get energy, and so top predators are more intelligent than the top herbivores, and most brainy animals cannot resist to become predators themselves (example: chimpanzees, which can become full carnivores, and eat as much meat as bushmen).
THE MORE BRAINY, THE MORE FEROCIOUS:
Because big brains mean big animals, hence lots of delicious food, big intelligence needed big defenses, i.e., it needed to be very dangerous, as a default psychological position. Hence the rise of brains was accompanied by the rise of ferocity. A large animal incapable of murderous defense would die off: clever dolphins have to be able to fight off stupid, but deadly sharks, so dolphins are efficient killers. This is true for herbivores as much as for carnivores; all large herbivores are extremely dangerous: more people die from being kicked by deer than bitten by lions. Try to approach a horse in the wild a bit too close, and he will kick you (as the author experienced). No more Mr. Nice Horse. A zebra kick has killed many a lion.
Wolves are not always nice; males, and females, assassinate each other to achieve dominance. Hence the negative connotation of "homo homini lupus". Dominance, in turn, a form of very practical fascism, is a requirement of the social life of wolves. Other social animals are affected just the same: horses have a very hierarchized society, so the fighting for dominance among stallions, to elect the leader, can be horrendous.
ARE THERE ANY BRAINY NICE ANIMALS? NOT REALLY, AND THE APPARENTLY HEAVENLY BONOBOS HELP PROVE THE RULE:
Wishful thinking pacifists are sure to come brandishing supposedly brainy and pacific animals such as bonobos, dolphins, or various cute seals. The argument they would present is that we can surely see that such creatures embody a symbiosis of love and brains, without the Dark Side: why can't we be like them? Well, that argument may work with koalas, who are not too bright marsupials leaving off some eucalyptus leaves, and have sex every time they get a chance. But this is as far as the pacifist argument can go (besides pilot whales and the like, so silly they beach themselves as a group, sometimes it seems by solidarity!)
A close examination show that the non aggressivity of brainy animals is rather an illusion. Dolphins specialize in eating stupid fish, so indeed one would not expect them to gobble people. But in truth one knows very little what they do. OK, they will kill sharks which come too close. There are reports of wild dolphins killing vast numbers of porpoises and even the occasional swimmer (true, in antiquity the dolphin was also known to have saved mariners from drowning; the alpine state of Dauphine' took the dolphin as symbol to celebrate altruism.) The author, as a child, observed dolphins in the wild from less than two feet away, who had rushed in very shallow waters to display such power, speed, and huge teeth, that, although they were obviously curious, the unmistakable message was that of implied deadly power (Africans close by killed the dolphins for food.)
Orcas, which are just large dolphins, attack the largest mammals in a pretty gory way, from baleens to dolphins. Moreover, since man decimates dolphins, the dolphin populations do not suffer from overcrowding much (where there is overcrowding, dolphins seem to kill purpoises). Dolphins maybe less friendly with each other if overcrowded. Sperm whales, who eat giant squids, and are highly social, can get spectacularly angry. When attacked, they can have the Dark Side in them: one of them sank a huge whale boat, in a determined assault.
Some seals (Leopard Seals, Sea Lions) are very clever and extremely dangerous (they have deliberately hunted and killed men).
Bonobos (Pan paniscus) are the great counter example crafty tree huggers are sure to brandish. Bonobos are supposed to be all about sex and love, and when not engaged in mutually rewarding friction this way or that, their society is controlled by female coalitions of heavy hitters. But bonobos are not as pacific as they are reputed to be, a closer inspection turns out, and they are living in a strange ecological niche. They live in a dense equatorial forest zone, not much larger than England. There they occupy the ecological niche elsewhere occupied by chimps (Pan troglodytes) and gorillas (both species having perhaps been eliminated by Homo south of the 10 miles wide Congo River.)
By comparison, chimps were (and still are) spread out on a gigantic swathe of Africa spanning thousands of miles and forests, and savannah. If bonobos had to compete with the much more aggressive standard chimps instead of hiding in the forest south of the Congo river, they would quickly lose (submitted to aerial bombing around their German zoo during W.W.II, all the bonobos died of fright; none of the chimps did). In all cases when a less aggressive species has to compete against a more aggressive species, the less aggressive species disappear (that's why the American Grey Squirrel is exterminating the indigenous Red Squirrel in England). In the wild, the bonobos would turn into meat for the enthusiastically carnivorous chimps.) Bonobos do not hunt much, making them more pacific. There is little accessible game in the forest, but plenty of enormous fruits, some as heavy as the bonobos themselves. No need to get too aggressive to catch that fruit. Overall, the bonobos are the exception which prove the rule. The enormous fruits allow for enormous bonobo groups, which incite leopards to think twice before purchasing a bonobo. Large groups also allow female coalitions (the same happens with chimps in zoos: the large chimp groups tend to be dominated by the females, something which does not happen to chimps in the wild.)
Chimpanzee groups cannot be as large, because the food is scarcer where they live. They are often reduced to pairs going on safaris (one of them often a half kidnapped female). And then there are all the terrible predators of the savannah park, and it is chimpanzee ferocity which keep them at bay (a small chimpanzee can quickly kill the most massive muscular man; which they occasionally do.) To have to use ferocity favors the rule of war and of the male. Bonobos have all the reasons in the world to smile all day, chimpanzees have all the reasons to be great warriors, to see another day.
No doubt the ancestors of the surviving hominids were more efficient at killing. For the rise of Homo Sapiens, countless hominid species HAD TO BE eliminated, so they were eliminated ... by our ancestors. Including all the would be pacifists: pacifists are nice, but they eat too much, besides being highly nutritious. They got to go, be it just because of their ecological impact.) There is plenty of evidence that the race for brain supremacy was intense: some of the bigger, more vegetarian hominids seemed to have seen their brain mass increase faster (but not fast enough, so Homo Erectus got them before they got too smart.)
Besides having plenty of ferocity to defend oneself, there is safety in numbers, so nearly all animals became social, and their psychobiology turned into sociobiology, which intrinsically has Love in its mix. Just as Evil had to appear to compensate for the exuberant abundance of the flesh, Love had to appear, to compensate for the over abundance of Evil (this hierarchy, from too much life, to too much Evil, to lots of Love, is a sort of mathematical attenuating oscillatory mechanism through leaking in higher dimensions; it may end up being used in fundamental physics to explain the hierarchy of forces):
HOW EVIL LED TO THE LOVE RACE; LOVE WAS FORCED BY THE INCREASING DOMINATION OF SOCIOBIOLOGY, AND CULTURE (aka IDEAS) THAT THE AGGRESSIVE MENTAL ENVIRONMENT INCREASINGLY SELECTED FOR:
A selective pressure emerged among the brainiest evolving species to build a psychobiology drawing together these animals in societies while at the same time, they were becoming ever more increasingly powerful and potentially deadly. Social animals have to experience pleasure when getting along and caring about their fellows, otherwise they would not do it. Love is the word we use for this reward side of the psychobiology which keeps complex and dangerous minds in complex societies, making them predictably caring.
Thus INCREASING AGGRESSION OF MOST AGAINST MOST LED TO THE BLOSSOMING OF LOVE AS A DEFENSE MECHANISM! It could be perversely argued that Love should say thank you to Evil as its progenitor.
Thus the will to nice socialization and altruism had to show up as an internal neurological reward, and we call the emotionalo-logical trains we experience then, Love. In particular top predators, having to be even more clever, needed to raise their young long and careful (Monkey-eating eagles typically take 6 years to raise their young to independence). In other words, predators had to bring up their young with a lot of LOVE. The more sophisticated killing strategies became, the more loving predators had to become, because they had to become good teachers, and good parents. BETTER KILLING FORCED BETTER LOVING.
Primates evolved, the best of them eating everything in sight, which was directly related to their ability to distinguish between good and bad. The brain became a TRUTH MACHINE, the realm of ideas, i.e., the realm of what the universe would mostly turn out to be, most of the time.
Because many minds find more truths than one, the rise of the highest intelligence was assisted by culture, i.e., sets of the most truthful ideas, feelings, and emotions which can be invented by one mind, and flow to all the other. There are as many Chimpanzees cultures as there are Chimpanzee groups, and so it is for Orang Outangs (some populations of the red apes have learned to use some tools on one side of a river, achieving better nutrition, a different way of life, and much higher densities, which should lead to even more culture, etc...).
Whatever ideas are, they are communicated by software rather than hardware, i.e., by teaching. TEACHING COMES FROM ALTRUISM, i.e., FROM LOVE RATHER THAN FROM SELFISHNESS. Better teaching was an immense evolutionary advantage, hence so was love.
Example: Saber tooth lions, because they hunted the biggest game (mammoths, etc.), had to cooperate with each other, so they had to feel pleasure indulging in each other's welfare. They cared for each other. Some skeletons of those animals were found with wounds preventing them to move, and but their broken bones got mended, which shows they were fed by their loving fellow saber tooth monsters. Similarly, in any good army, soldiers form bands of brothers very much in love with each other, and they better, because otherwise they would die.
Example: Even ants, in spite of their extreme simplicity, exhibit the outward manifestation of love. Since they have to teach other (adult!) ants where food sources are, their psychobiology is such that they enjoy doing that, even when it takes most of their energy (up to 80%). In complex animals the young need protection for a long time. Thus all highly social species with brains are highly loving. Man is the extreme example of this. NO LOVE, NO GENIUS.
Example: One could object that octopuses are quite clever, have brains, but do not seem either social or loving. First, the point above was relative advantage: it's easier to reach higher understanding with society and love; octopuses' niche is fast and economic mental development. Moreover, it remains to be demonstrated that cephalopods can't be loving.
#2 NEW ARGUMENT ON THE NECESSITY OF EVIL; TO BALANCE THEIR INCREASINGLY LOVING NEUROLOGIES, SOCIOBIOLOGICAL ANIMALS NEEDED TO EXERT INCREASING CRUELTY, INSIDE THEIR OWN GROUP:
Many people view cruelty as an anomaly, and something which fights the mind. But the opposite is often true. Sociobiological animals need to use it among themselves, because otherwise, they could not have effective sociobiologies. Indeed any sociobiological group has to function as a unit, and needs some discipline to do so. Which individuals implement the discipline? Well, the animals in the group. To do this, they have to be motivated by something else, besides loving to cuddle all day together.
What is cruelty? It is the pleasurable way to orchestrate logical, emotional, and neurohormonal subsystems in the brain, which is conducive to enjoying the infliction of pain on others. So cruelty is basically like love, but in reverse. One may wonder what is the interest of that, and why sympathy should have a reverse, just like a car does?
Well, why one needs to like to make others suffer is a long story, but let's give a few pointers: one cannot be always nice when raising children, for example. If one cries each time one has admonish children, they will get the wrong idea. Much more drastically, though, to function as tight mental units, SOCIETIES OF BRAINY ANIMALS NEED LEADERS, AND A HIERARCHY. The best leaders for the group are of course those able to handle conflict best against exterior enemies, and clearly those will make their leadership and fighting capability manifest by how they can best dominate in any conflict, period. The baby conflicts are inside the group (OK, some will result in death; but they pale in ferocity and lethality relative to the conflicts involving various animals exterior to the group).
So leaders are (s)elected through a form of local violence, inside the sociobiological group, and such violence, such an election, cannot blossom if there is too much sympathy for other individuals in the group, all the time. At some point, during the electoral process, violence has to dominate, and it does.
So social animals have to be able to enter phases of extreme violence against their fellows, neurohormonally driven. They may change hormones afterwards, and feel very sorry (as chimps do all the time: first they try to kill you, then they try to close the gaping wounds). But it remains true that the aggressive, cruel phase is a must, to insure the proper (s)election (such elections occur at all levels of the social hierarchy). Moreover, the leader has to enjoy the anticipation of making rivals and future subordinates squirm and suffer. When the leader governs he forces his subordinates to submit to his will, another case of aggressivity oriented towards his fellow beast (in some cases, the female(s) dominate, as in bonobos, but it's rare).
So cruelty is an indispensable cost one has to incur for imposing power onto others, hence it is exhibited by all creatures who use power massively, but require love and empathy to grow and exist. That is, all brainy animals, from marmosets to killer whales must come equipped for cruelty.
But there is worse. Predators, whose fundamental function is culling, have reasons to be cruel which go beyond the sociobiological (although they do have the sociobiological reasons already; the purely sociobiological, as just mentioned, is why, for example, chimps or lions kill each other). In their Will to Cruelty, predators go beyond the sociobiological need to establish hierarchies:
#3 NEW ARGUMENT EXPLAINING THE DARK SIDE; TO ACCOMPLISH THEIR FUNDAMENTAL MISSION OF MAINTAINING THE ECOLOGICAL BALANCE, PREDATORS HAVE TO BE AS CRUEL AS CAN BE:
In the conventional view of those who strive to view goodness everywhere, predators kill because they need to eat, and only this. In that traditional view, the predator is fierce because the meat is well defended, and cannot be acquired without a little bit of passion. Now as we saw, the more of a brainy predator, the more of an enthusiastic lover. But love can be paralyzing to a predator. If it cries every time it kills, it will not eat much. So brainy predators, having to eat, have to love the kill, to overwhelm the love inside themselves. As the capacity for love grew, it thus had to be compensated by an increasing capacity to enjoy the Dark Side. The poor predators became ever more schizophrenic, spread about between love and cruelty.
This is a cruel twist in the evolution of Good and Evil as competing moral species in an increasingly sophisticated moral ecology.Basically, to want to kill all the nice cuddly herbivores, one has to enjoy to be pretty mean. As we saw above, the reason predators appeared was NOT to fill up their own bellies. Predators are supposed to go BEYOND what their stomachs require. Predators enjoy killing for killing's sake, because the fundamental reason for their existence is to keep populations of intelligent autonomous fierce proud herbivores under control, even when there are too few carnivores to keep the herbivores down through mere eating for eating's sake. Then cruelty motivates them: predators are born to be killers, FIRST. They have a love for the kill which is independent of their love of eating. Predators do not exist to eat, but to PROTECT THE GRASS.
FUNDAMENTALLY, PREDATORS ARE ECOLOGICAL BALANCE OFFICERS. PREDATORS ENFORCE THE LAW AND ORDER OF ECOLOGY, BY KEEPING HERBIVORES DOWN, THAT IS WHY THEY EXIST, AND CRUELTY IS THEIR RECITATION.
Sartre had written: "L'enfer, c'est les autres" ("Hell is the others"). But hell is not so much the others, but the psychobiology to handle the others, in those special situations when there is no choice but hurting them, and in spite of the fact we love to love.
Example: Wolves are not always nice; males, and females, assassinate each other to achieve dominance. Sometimes the number of sheep wolves kill is completely out of proportions with wolves' stomachs. How could that be? The traditional Mickey Mouse view of animals, and traditional humanism, cannot comprehend this. But in our setup, the explanation is obvious. The wolf is made to enjoy murdering sheep, especially if there are too many of the insolent cuddly miscreants. So wolves happen on the scene, and take delight in killing a maximum of sheep. Wolves do not just like to eat sheep, they like to kill them. This is not baffling. That is why, fundamentally, wolves are here for. Eating is to keep them going, killing is their calling. The wolf's character is to exterminate sheep, given a chance. Without knowing it, wolves are protecting the grass.
#4 NEW ARGUMENT ON THE NECESSITY OF EVIL; THE LOVE-HATE SCHIZOPHRENIA OF MAN WITH HIMSELF HAS BEEN AUGMENTED BY THE RISE OF AGRICULTURE:
The more love a predator has to give, the more potential cruelty he needs, to compensate, and conversely. Chimpanzees have been know to bite and tear each other apart in horrendous fights, and then cuddle together like long lost lovers, as they die. This sort of hysterical dance of Love with Evil is all too well together, the Love encouraging the Evil and reciprocally. It's all too human, and we have tolerated it all too long (an excess of Love can call for compensation by an excess of Evil, an excess of Evil can always hope to rebalance everything by an excess of Love, etc... This Love-Hate games are becoming impossible in the blasting light of weapons of mass destruction). To break that psychological cycle, it maybe timely to review some revered habits, which supposedly represented progress, such as forgiveness ... but that would be another subject.
The codependency of love and evil makes it not surprising that the planet's top predator, man, having to teach the young for so many years, and having to cooperate on the hunt, has to be loving beyond imagination, and thus to be cruel beyond imagination. In Christianity, the son of God is supposed to make a big show of his love for man, leaving nothing to the imagination. The Roman Catholics complemented this by the big horrible show of burning people alive if they exerted choice.
The complementarity between love and evil as psychologies got compounded by the natural hatred of the predator for the prey. Man has long been the main predator of man, and thus feared and hated himself. Being a hunter, and a gatherer, man has long been both sheep and wolf. The predator species of the human sheep is the human wolf. Only man can control man, and control meant controlled extermination. It was all before contraceptives.
Matters turned even worse when man grossly violated all laws of nature by inventing agriculture, making himself into a super sheep, a big fat target. Man was able to produce vast quantities of calories, and had plenty of energy to rise great civilizational structures, from pyramids of stones to Roman law. Momentarily freed from the limitations the prehistoric way of life, and the biosphere, had imposed on him, man started to run up exponentials everywhere, so far mostly with impunity. At this point the ecological load of Homo on the planet is unbearable long term.
Example and warning: the Americas were teeming with dozens of millions of agriculturalists when the Europeans made contact. Soon the native population collapsed to near zero. Of course it seems to have had to do with some clear factors, some geneical, some military. American natives had fewer HLA complexes, so their immune systems were less adaptable. And of course some Conquistadors used plenty of very dirty tricks. But ultimately the Aztecs and Inca civilizations were very complex systems, and as they collapsed spiritually and economically, they revealed the unstable relationship of their agricultural system to nature. Some of the nasty Conquistadors had figured this out, so they drained the lake of the Mexicas, worsening the mental collapse, which, directly or indirectly, favorized the epidemics which finished the extermination. Indeed, some of the epidemics which ravaged the population were endemic to the Americas (antavirus). They marched into the ruins of total societal disorganization.
Example: The Maya had offered an even clearer example of how much man's agriculture can get out of balance (even when it does not look so), and how fragile civilization is, and how ecology comes knocking on Evil's door. The Maya depended on a giant irrigation system for the vast population supporting their very advanced culture. Suddenly it was devastated by the greatest drought in many centuries, and it lasted decades. The desiccating agriculture could not support the huge population anymore. There were too many herbivores, considering how little herb was left, and the carnivores set themselves on their fellow men. Horrendous wars ensued, of all against all, and the Maya civilization burned and imploded. When the Spaniards arrived, it was only a shadow of its former self (if it had not been, it would have thrown the Conquistadors to the sea, as it did initially even in its dilapidated state).
Example: Agriculture achieved remarkable successes in Rwanda, the "Switzerland of Africa". Consecutive to this glorious achievement, the highest population densities in Africa were found in Rwanda and Burundi. Evil was provoked aplenty by this over abundance of the flesh. Those high densities, unbalanced by the sort of civilizational checks, balances, and controls long implemented in Europe, led to all sorts of mental imbalances and differentiations (some imaginary). One population was felt to be short, stocky and peasantish, more than the other. In any case, reasons were found for a massacre that 500 millions years of evolution of Evil were calling for. With so many human herbivores around, the human carnivorous instinct came into play, overwhelming all, and a substantial part of the population was exterminated, for no reason but the love of hatred. Killing was experienced as the psychobiological heaven leading to the nirvana that Evil meant it to be. Frantic killing during holocausts is such an overwhelming instinct that it can be stopped only by physical force, or the sheer disparition of the human fuel it burns with ("holo-caust" means burning-all).
So agriculture made man into an herbivore, a prey, and it made way too many of them. But that agricutural catastrophe did not stop there. It was further extended by building religions and philosophies which celebrated the herbivorous way of life as the ultimate ideal. One could not get more oblivious, and more insolent, since, as we said, Evil rose precisely to crack down on the herbivores. All these erroneous philosophies and religions added provocation, and insult, to the injury done to the biosphere:
THE DELUSION AGGRAVATING IT ALL; WHEN SOME MEN PERSUADED THE REST OF THEM THAT THEY WERE SUPER SHEEP, AND THAT THERE WAS GLORY IN THIS:
The delusion that man had become saintly because he had turned himself into a fake sheep, and came to think of himself that way, has often blinded man much further than necessary. Adolf Hitler viewed himself, and was viewed by the Nazis, as some sort of a saint, and it was no coincidence that he was a fanatical vegetarian (he was achieving thus purity of essence as a man of peace; purity of essence was crucial to Hitler, and other Nazis, as they avertize themselves in democratic Germany, and beyond).
Agriculture allowed to increase population densities by an order of magnitude or two (while lowering the quality of the nutrition, as studies of skeletons during the transition to agriculture in the Americas show). Worldwide massive agriculture had created a new species of mammal, the largest user of biomass on earth, the human PEASANT.
To control that new species, Agricultural Man, suddenly the most abundant of all the species, new predators were needed to re-establish the best ecological balance. Thus appeared the ARISTOCRAT (and later its meeker variants: the bourgeois, the bureaucrat, and the politician). Establishing a mock ecology complete with predator and prey was the most stable long term system, so agricultural civilization crystallized into peasantry and aristocracy. Peasantry and aristocracy played super sheep and super wolf, respectively. The contempt of the aristocracy for the peasant a worldwide, panhistorical fact, that Nietzsche was making a big deal of, is the contempt of the wolf for the sheep. The contempt was so great that it led to the begining of speciation in the biological sense: European aristocrats were taller and less stocky than their peasants; in Japan the Samurai class had even a different pilosity (and, as it turned out, indeed different genes). In light of this, Nietzsche's observation, that peasants and aristocrats used different moral systems, is not at all surprising. The "slave religions" were made to stabilize the psychologies of the sheep into believing that they should be happy and wise to be victims. When Hitler came knocking, they bleated in vain.
Agriculture produced over abundance of the energy man needed to thrive. It allowed for an abundance of imagination too. Man invented cities, and thus called himself civilized, and felt that meant something increasingly beyond any suspicion. Man came to think of himself as capable of sainthood, to great self satisfaction, and made religions around exalted visions of his saintly self. Each time he built something similar to Auschwitz, he affected comical perplexity afterwards (generally after the victimized population had been thoroughly annihilated). This increasing self delusion made matters always more surprising.
World civilization, as it is today, is mostly an expansion of the Mediterranean civilization (this idea was advertised by the Franks first, as they advertised their would be Trojan roots). The Greco-Roman model imploded, before the Franks were able to reinstall it without its two main flaws (intellectualo-political fascism and grotesque inequalities against women and slaves). But one crucial meta principle the Franks did not touch was "Homo Homini Lupus". If anything they pushed it further than the Greeks or the Romans ever did: emperor Augustus had abjured his successors to leave Germania alone. The Franks gave that recommendation a Gallic shrug, and did not stop until they had conquered all of Europe, in a war which lasted more than seven centuries (a war longer and more successful than any the Greco-Romans engaged in: it left a so far stable civilization behind). But back to the Greco-Romans. It can be argued that the Franks just extended the Greco-Roman empire, since they were both a creature of the Roman army, and the one army Rome left behind.
A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL ALLOWED THE GRECO-ROMAN EMPIRE NOT JUST TO PERDURE, BUT TO REINCARNATE AS THE WORLD CIVILIZATION:
The Greco-Romans were not too baffled by the cruelty of man. Each time the Greco-Romans had to be mean, or one was mean with them, they knew what it meant, where it came from, and how to remedy it (by greater meanness, right away).
The cruelty of animals at the circus fascinated the Romans. Rome itself was predatory, but learned to balance that cruelty with tolerance (i.e., with love). Rome understood Athens' blunder of covering up her own Evils of racism and ostracism and "esprit de clocher" (parochial spirit) with self satisfied, fanatical righteousness. The emperor Claudius was eloquent about this, and implemented further measures to open up Rome, which culminated 150 years later, as Roman citizenship was extended to all. The Romans viewed ferocity as the crucial fact of the world, they managed it carefully, because they knew their fate hanged from it. Millions of slaves, the popularity of the circus, flourishing professional torture firms, the terror the Empire awed the barbarians with, all confirmed that ferocity was a necessary foundation of Rome. As they saw the cruelty of predators exhaust itself during great shows, the Romans were learning about themselves. In the end, some emperors got exhausted too, and embraced Christianity.
There is no doubt that the Greco-Roman lost that spirit of calling a cat a cat (the cat being man) when Christianity was imposed by the emperor Constantine and most of his imperial family. Big mistake. There was an immediate collapse of civilization, as the Greco-Roman empire lost its heart ("Homo Homini Lupus") and then its head (all of its intellectuals). Within a century, though, the bishops of Gaul had understood that Christianity had gone out of control, thrown the baby with the bath, had enticed them to follow an erroneous strategy made of non violence, and turning the other cheek (to the Goths!), so that Evil gained ever more (we know this from their writings). To renew with the clearer vision, that man was a wolf for man, the bishops appealed, negotiated and cooperated with the only Roman military they could find who were also not Christian, the Franks. The Christian out-of-this-world, City-of-God, we-are-all-sheep eclipse was over.
The Franks took over, rescuing, de facto, HOMO HOMINI LUPUS as their cautionary principle and their meta principle. The Franks were even fiercer than the Greco-Romans. That is why and how the heritage of Mediterranean antiquity was reconfirmed ever more splendidly by the sword after having been denied by the sheep. From now on, HOMO HOMINI LUPUS came to reign again, with a vengeance, as the Franks made the global synthesis (Troy + Greece + Rome + Germania), which rested on that ethological observation, as their weapon of ultimate domination. As good wolves, the Franks tore into each other to start with, queens included in the fray, as the good she-wolves they were, before finding in Islam an excellent outlet for their aggressivity (but that is another story).
The Franks, and their ferocious meta principle, extended the core of Roman civilization into the present. The Franks were careful not to exhaust themselves with Evil, so they put Love front and center, all along. Love of man, love of woman, love of equality, love of freedom. Evil worked well to get done what needed to be done, but it needed its beauty rest. Love provided it.
Conclusion: THE DARK SIDE IS NOT AN UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT, IT'S A MIRACLE!
The Gaia hypothesis is that the Earth (Gaia) functions like a giant self regulating living organism. According to that idea, life helped make it so that the planet remained inhabitable. There is plenty of evidence that this is true to some extent. In its latest (speculative) twist, specialists have proposed in 2006 that the supplement of energy due to chlorophyl in the world ocean (aka plants), led to chemistry which created granite itself, hence the continents themselves (the continents, made of the lighter granite (and limestone, an obvious product of life), float over the heavier basalt). Then life itself would have created the ground on which we stand!
What we propose in this essay is that THE CREATION OF MORAL CATEGORIES IS A CONSEQUENCE OF LIFE ITSELF. In a way, this is totally obvious. But more precisely, and less obviously, Evil was needed to concentrate energy in lifeforms beyond plants. And Love had nothing to do with it. Gaia needed the Dark Side to grow up. Gaia then would not be just a body, but also a mind, and that mind has a notion of Good and Evil. Good is a growth factor, and Evil a killing principle (a bit as in complex multicellular organism where killer cells are needed for balance and efficiency, etc...).
The Dark Side was invented in pursuit not just of a greater good, but to achieve EXISTENCE. To achieve the existence of a non trivial biosphere, beyond viruses, bacteria and plants. Beyond Good and Evil, there is their synergy, Existence. The existence of animals who want to LIVE. Existence, the WILL TO LIFE, is an emergent phenomenon rendered increasingly possible by the two most fundamental moral categories, Good and Evil (the later preceding the former). Do-gooders may scoff that to claim that Evil achieved as much as existence itself is despicable. But so what? Who is to judge the moral value of what is? Evil is a natural phenomenon, and a necessary one, if one wanted to end up thinking. The will to existence is incarnated by the spectacular struggle for life all brainy creatures are capable of, most of the time. It overwhelms anything else, thus proving itself to be at the bottom of all what makes minds.
One then can reason than since Evil (and later, Good) was evolved to achieve Existence, Existence, the Struggle for Life, should then be imposed as a higher moral value, because it is what Good and Evil strove for. It's just a matter of facing the facts.
THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE OVERPOWERS ALL, indeed. In Nazi gas chambers, perfectly sedate people, who (erroneously) had condemned violence, even earlier, as free civilians, when they could have done something effective against Nazism, who had condemned violence, even to defend themselves or higher principles in a timely manner, be it only by screaming their indignation, those sedate, calm, pseudo civilized people changed completely in their last moments. They desperately fought with each other for the last gasps of fresh air they could find in the gas chambers (horrific, but deeply revealing). Executioners (often themselves Jews) who witnessed this called that ultimate ignominy the struggle for life. It was soothing for them, Nazis, to see that their victims lost all their nebulous principles, and fought for their vital space, their Lebensraum, just like the Nazis themselves had advocated to do all along. The Nazis knew that truth, that life was the Grund, and this made them strong. Their opponents neglected the struggle for life as the grounding principle, at first, and that made them submissive, for all too long (the Nazi philosopher Heidegger tried to express this at length without sounding too Nazi, making him hopelessly muddled).
THE STRUGGLE FOR LIFE IS THE HIGHEST VALUE. The Greco-Romans knew this, and the Franks quickly brushed aside the Christians who had tried to replace the Will to Life by something so unclear, that all of society collapsed, in a confused heap, as the Faithful searched for it inside their heads. Ever since, the Struggle for Life has been the highest value of civilization, in a blatant way (which, incidentally demonstrates that European civilization used the Christian value of redemption through the unspeakable pain of the cross only as a veneer; the spirit of the Conquistadors, in all point identical to that the Franks used to conquer Europe, 1,000 years earlier, is the real thing which defines Europe best: the spirit at the point of a sword).
1) The concept of morality comes from the Latin "mores", meaning what is customary. As planet Earth's ecology has been pushed completely out of balance by human agriculture, nothing is customary anymore. Literally morality has become impossible in the etymological sense. All this metastatic vegetarianism, far from being saintly, is loudly clamoring for the remedy of immense evil. Old style religions have been barking up what they took for the tree of evil, but it was just a blade of grass in the breeze.
2) Evil, by inducing psychobiology which enable long term ecological balances, allowed the miraculous ascent of sentience. Evil is a part of the anthropocentric principle, often evoked in fundamental physics, which observes that many characteristics of the universe had to be the way they are for man to rise. Psychobiology had to be allow Evil, so it could be. Nascent sentience nested in intrinsic evil. The ferocious and schizophrenic nature of carnivores is both their reason of being, and the reason for their mental superiority.
It may be good to think of this, as we look up to those strangely silent stars. How has evil been doing up there? In light of the most probable cause for the rise of intelligence (the control of critters by enjoying killing them, the main theme of this essay), if ET, the proverbial Extra Terrestrial intelligence, calls, it would be probably a very bad idea to answer the phone, and a very good one to boost defense budgets beyond the sky and Mars itself. The most advanced sentience most probably did not co-evolve to smell the roses, but because it chopped heads better than the competition. That's how Homo SS, our appropriately labelled species, came to have Earth to himself: the fiercest and most vicious will always be left standing last.
3) Civilization is presently engaged in the most delicate balancing act, when sentience's teleological design of spatial ecology is replacing evolution's intelligent design of terrestrial ecology. We are switching from doing things because of what we are, and what we are made to want, to a completely different regime, of a divine nature. We now are mastering nature to the point we are mastering our own nature, and are free to choose which things it is that that we really want, because we know better, not just about what these things are, but all the consequences attached to them. In other words, we are to decide which ecology we want, on Earth, and the Solar system, and also which mental ecology are sustainable, and which are not. As we demonstrated, biological ecology depended upon the raise of an appropriate mental ecology, right from the start of advanced animal life, at least a half billion years ago. So the connection between biological and mental ecologies is nothing new. What is new is the acceleration at which this process has to occur now, and the fact that sentience -ourselves- now controls it.
Civilization itself has caused massive imbalances, greater than any Evil has evolved to remedy in the past. We are tempting Evil like never before. That's when those civilizations in distant stars may have got into trouble. Evil was a theorem which had to become true for advanced life to appear. But a theorem can easily become false if one tweaks its hypotheses. Instead of confronting Evil straight on, the old fashion way, it will be more effective to tinker with details of its background, the impulses of which we are now crafty enough to reorganize (say by replacing real evil by virtual evil, as found in a lot of entertainment). Evil is not all bad, in all circumstances, all of the time, it can be a necessity, so mitigating it is all we are left with, but that's plenty.
4) In our age, Evil the old fashion way has become too powerful, thanks to ever advancing technology. A growing imbalance between Good and Evil has appeared, which did not exist before. We can climb millions of people within a few minutes, but we cannot revive millions of them any time soon. We can do much more harm, but not much more good. Technology has advanced both Good and Evil, but Evil kills more readily than Love does. Evil is therefore in need of some restraint as never before, because civilization can amplify it so much more than before.
Even manifestations of Evil which were too subtle to be noticed before they were of little consequence, have now become laden with massive consequences. Thus appeared the sentence "banality of Evil" the theme symbolic of Hannah Arendt's work about why the entire German society exploded in everybody's face. We believe that this Evil was allowed to thrive because early twentieth century Germans did not have the proper attitude and motivation relative to cognition of heart and mind. To have a better attitude relative to cognition of heart and mind may sound arcane, and overly complicated, but to this day the best minds are baffled about exactly what happened in Europe under Nazism. Well, it was subtle: an inappropriate aptitude to cognition of heart and mind had become too dangerous, too evil, although it looked "banal". It's how sensitive the situation has got, and how powerful Evil now is: all it takes are subtleties about hearts and minds, to plunge in unforeseen horrors. And the other side, Love, is in need of empowerment too. This necessary rebalancing act has got to be grounded at the very bottom of it all, i.e., in what we are here for. We used to be here to control those who ate the herbs. OK, not very dignified, maybe, but it was our role. I am sure we can find a better reason, but it will not come from lies, because lies are about denying reality, whereas the very bottom of it all is about what reality truly is. The truth is, we were not here to protect the cows, but to protect the herbs.
5) The genus Homo is the planet's ultimate carnivore and predator. Some say Evil is obsolete, and evoke higher callings (often used as smokescreens for hiding their own idiosyncratic practices of the Dark Side). But therein the great danger of not facing the truth. IF WE CANNOT PUT OUR HANDS ON REALITY, REALITY WILL PUT ITS HANDS ON US. Carnivores appeared because they kill, thus allowing the ecology of advanced life. It's not pretty, perhaps, but it is reality. KILLING, NOT LOVE, WAS THE FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS IN DEALING WITH OTHERS. To deny this is to deny that the Dark Side is as deep as it gets. EVIL IS AS DEEP AS THINKING ITSELF. As we try to advantage thinking in the future, in the service of love and relaxation, as we have to, it will be wise to remember that any thinking, however dignified or customary, should be suspected of being influenced by the Dark Side. It's not just the philosophers who can be evil. It's everybody, and everything.
6) As we just said, Evil has become less and less of an option as the tips of our fingers have become ever more twitchy with thermonuclear and retroviral potentialities. Mental stances and physical acts which had been innocuous so far are not innocuous anymore. A bushman can be enraged, but not a nuclear plant operator. The former can whack a bush, the latter, a continent. We cannot even allow religious fanatics to take flight lessons: now instead of throwing knives, they can throw jumbo jets at us. Evil finds it easy these days to engage in spectacular works. A few individuals can lie, go to Church, march armies around the world, and kill millions. Evil has to be questioned and probably rolled back everywhere we can find it inside people's pseudo innocent heads.
Evil made man, i.e., technology, possible. So doing it pulverized half a billion years of ecology and life, making the old forms of both obsolete. So doing, it also made Evil itself obsolete, because it had evolved to control what has now morphed beyond recognition (it's not clear what the planet ecology is and should be anymore.) Evil has created a new ecology, and a new life, losing conventional control of both. Evil has become too potent to do anything anymore the way it used to. Evil has to be refurbished and adapted. We have to encourage more its anti ego, Love. Old fashion Evil was how planetary domination was achieved, but now, instead of furthering domination, it is making an ecological mess. Love is how control will have to mature. The ecology of life and thought has to be rebalanced by hefty doses of teleological love.
The future of Evil does not look rosy. THERE WILL BE LOVE, OR THERE WILL BE NOTHING. Someday we will be able to say: LOVE IS ALL THE UNIVERSE THERE IS. Meanwhile we have to look in Evil's face, and hunt that beast which helped give thought to us.