Man Bites Man: On The Goodness And Shortcomings Of Anthropos.

1300 words - 5 pages

Man Bites Man: On the Goodness and Shortcomings of AnthroposThe question of whether humanity itself is evil or not is one of the most fundamentalaspects to any cultural world view, and at best a very divisive one. The two majorrepresentatives of this conflict within Christianity and in recent Western culture as a wholewere Pelagius and Augustine. The former of these two thinkers advocated a world-viewfeaturing man as capable of manufacturing for himself salvation; that humans could perfectone another. Augustine asserted that man was at his core delectant in evil pursuits, andtherefore must look to higher creative powers for his control and redemption. Eventuallythese two views were seemingly synthesized further by Rousseau into the ideal of thenoble savage, a man pre-civilized who was untouched by society and therefore good. Hisview has survived in many ways to continue in popular Western thought that man is goodat conception but evil by his society's mold. However man's decay by his society is not thecase, but it is man's lot rather that he is self-serving and immoral because he fails to followhis own values like a three-year-old pretending to play chess. Man throughout recordedhistory has been able to find faults with his enemies, often practicing these same vicessimultaneously yet writing these own vices off in himself as necessary and his enemies' asinexcusable. Likewise the argument that man in a hunter-gatherer society is in fact nobleand disinclined toward destruction is also ludicrous. The 'uncivilized' human is not aperfect individual in a society befitting his or her pristine senses - a truly perfect organismis impermeable to decay - but a destructive being held in check by natural necessity.Finally man has chosen to allow himself all but to forget his own faults and tendencytoward ruin of his environment by justifying his actions by bending religious ideals to fithis nature and fashion form this new anaesthetic to his doom.When the Conquistadors arrived in America, they discovered a state the religion of whichthey were certain the essential element was to justify the massacre and eating of humanbeings. 'The Spanish chroniclers were told, for example, that at the dedication of in 1487of the great pyramid of Tenochtitlan four lines of prisoners stretching for two miles eachwere sacrificed by a team of executioners who worked night and day for four days.1' Astheir religion condemned both, the appalled Soldiers of Cortes chose to destroy the'bestial savages'. So in an incredibly short time almost the entirety of the population inwhat is now Mexico of several million were killed by European disease, guns, and horses.Yet were an Aztec to appear in sixteenth-century Spain he would almost certainly come tothe conclusion that the Spaniards' religion necessitated the immolation of witches, Jews,and almost any other nuisant faction with fire and confinement and equestrian tug-of-war.In contemporary foreign policy likewise is this one-eyed logic...

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