More or Less Sophisticated Savages

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More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#1  Postby MattHunX » May 28, 2010 6:18 pm

After the (surprisingly high) attention my bullfighting thread got, and the direction it's headed off...

Who here agrees or disagrees with my statement below?

The whole of humanity, in general, can be described as being nothing but more or less sophisticated savagery. And, by "more or less", I mean, that I would not, and I do not consider all (of "my fellow") human beings to be barbaric/savage. But, we are just sophisticated animals, apes. I like the analogy with the piano keys that describe just how recently we've evolved and came into existence, as humans. By this I mean, we are still in the phase where, if I want to be generous, we have barely managed to learn how to walk.

Sure, we learned, more or less, how to take care of ourselves, sustain life, groups, societies and great civilizations have risen and fallen. Yet, so much barbarism (towards all animals, us included), immorality, incompetence (to solve these issues), indifference (to all these)...etc. remains, that I have to say I have lost hope in the majority of the race. In our scientist, in the sciences, in the doctors...etc. and in people like on this forum, I still hold much, though.

Thoughts?

EDIT: On second read this is more of a rant...
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#2  Postby tuco » May 28, 2010 6:28 pm

I took a quick look into the thread in question and as soon as I saw stuff like .. they deserve it, glad the bulls got a shot, epic justice, + 1 I left as there was nothing to see for me there.

My thoughts are that is non of my business ... let me rephrase, I would hesitate to call other humans savages no matter what they do. Meaningless category to me. Yes we are hairless monkeys is what I think, but this expression is taxonomy, without negative connotations unlike savages.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#3  Postby james1v » May 28, 2010 6:30 pm

I think even the most "civilised" person retains the ability to regress into barbarity, depending on the circumstances they face.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#4  Postby tuco » May 28, 2010 6:35 pm

Indeed, it can be seen during/after events like hurricane Katrina, genocide in Rwanda or war in Iraq. Then people sit with their asses on their leather sofas, watching their big screen TVs, eating microwave popcorn, drinking bud, screaming .. look at the savages! without realizing they are no better, just more fortunate.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#5  Postby MattHunX » May 28, 2010 6:50 pm

james1v wrote:I think even the most "civilised" person retains the ability to regress into barbarity, depending on the circumstances they face.

tuco wrote:Indeed, it can be seen during/after events like hurricane Katrina, genocide in Rwanda or war in Iraq. Then people sit with their asses on their leather sofas, watching their big screen TVs, eating microwave popcorn, drinking bud, screaming .. look at the savages! without realizing they are no better, just more fortunate.


Right. Both. :cheers:
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#6  Postby nac » Jun 03, 2010 7:45 am

The civil/savage dualism mostly makes sense in the context of European enlightenment culture anyway.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#7  Postby MattHunX » Jun 03, 2010 7:52 am

nac wrote:The civil/savage dualism mostly makes sense in the context of European enlightenment culture anyway.


It's just sophisticated savage with a lot of different shades/grades > more or less. No dualism. Landscape.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#8  Postby nac » Jun 03, 2010 12:13 pm

MattHunX wrote:It's just sophisticated savage with a lot of different shades/grades > more or less. No dualism. Landscape.

Sophisticated savages as opposed to what, imperfect gentlemen? Since all our activities are ultimately supported by low-level biological instincts? In my humble opinion, calling human beings sophisticated savages just because the mammalian brain needs a reptilian brain in order to function is like saying that Microsoft Office is really nothing more than a bunch of delusional semiconductors engaged in pointless sophistry. It's a matter of which eye you squint. The whole truth is much too complex to be reduced to a simple noun and a qualifying adjective.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#9  Postby MattHunX » Jun 03, 2010 12:38 pm

nac wrote:
MattHunX wrote:It's just sophisticated savage with a lot of different shades/grades > more or less. No dualism. Landscape.

Sophisticated savages as opposed to what, imperfect gentlemen? Since all our activities are ultimately supported by low-level biological instincts? In my humble opinion, calling human beings sophisticated savages just because the mammalian brain needs a reptilian brain in order to function is like saying that Microsoft Office is really nothing more than a bunch of delusional semiconductors engaged in pointless sophistry. It's a matter of which eye you squint. The whole truth is much too complex to be reduced to a simple noun and a qualifying adjective.


That's why it's not dualism, not black and white, but more complex.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#10  Postby nac » Jun 03, 2010 10:24 pm

MattHunX wrote:That's why it's not dualism, not black and white, but more complex.

Okay then, savagery is indeed one facet of the complex fractal that is humanity.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#11  Postby talkietoaster » Jun 04, 2010 1:13 pm

I pretty much agree with what you said. However, its not something we are going to be able to get rid of, maybe control more but savage instincts and impulses we have will never go away.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#12  Postby MattHunX » Jun 04, 2010 1:17 pm

talkietoaster wrote:I pretty much agree with what you said. However, its not something we are going to be able to get rid of, maybe control more but savage instincts and impulses we have will never go away.


Indeed. Agreed.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#13  Postby Paul G » Jun 04, 2010 1:19 pm

Agreed, more or less. I'm pretty happy that bullfighter got hurt and would care little if he died.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#14  Postby nac » Jun 05, 2010 11:09 am

talkietoaster wrote:I pretty much agree with what you said. However, its not something we are going to be able to get rid of, maybe control more but savage instincts and impulses we have will never go away.

It depends on what you mean by savagery, really. As I said, this is like saying that crude, low-level electronic architectures will never go away from computers. Refined savage instincts ARE civilized instincts. There is no opposition, mostly a gradual depixelization.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#15  Postby Jeffersonian-marxist » Jun 06, 2010 2:17 am

Your analysis presupposes a linear progression towards an ethereal and vague goal. Such goals do not exist in this universe, so your analysis must be rejected.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#16  Postby wunksta » Jun 06, 2010 2:24 am

i dont think weve changed much, actually. in fact, i think its a gross over generalization to think of early humans as some kind of brutes when its obvious they displayed both altruistic, compassionate sides as well as aggressive sides.

so theres no transformation, just a learning to use and deal with the technology and society we have created for ourselves.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#17  Postby MattHunX » Jun 06, 2010 6:26 am

Jeffersonian-marxist wrote:Your analysis presupposes a linear progression towards an ethereal and vague goal. Such goals do not exist in this universe, so your analysis must be rejected.


No it doesn't.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#18  Postby nac » Jun 06, 2010 7:21 am

Jeffersonian-marxist wrote:Your analysis presupposes a linear progression towards an ethereal and vague goal. Such goals do not exist in this universe, so your analysis must be rejected.

No direction on the landscape represents "progress" towards an ultimate goal.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#19  Postby Dudely » Jun 18, 2010 4:18 pm

MattHunX wrote:
Jeffersonian-marxist wrote:Your analysis presupposes a linear progression towards an ethereal and vague goal. Such goals do not exist in this universe, so your analysis must be rejected.


No it doesn't.


In a way, he is right. The very definition of what it is to be savage or not is based on your own bias, morality, and the area and time in which you live. Our ideas of cruelty and savagery come from our morality, which has evolved to serve a purpose in our groups dynamics, but which is not necessary or even possible for other species to have. If it were lions whose brains had enlarged and whose hands evolved to grasp tools i doubt we'd be having a conversation on how to most humanely kill cattle. Nature doesn't care.

We are animals, of course. People on both sides of of the environmental/conservation/animal rights argument forget that. Not only are we monkeys with shoes (and therefore no better than those monkeys we have no problem slaughtering), we are a part of the earth as well. Too often I hear people talk about humanity like it was some sort of other force separate from nature. It's not. Nature put us here along with every other species. To an alien species the difference between a mall and a termite mound is a matter of scale and complexity. To complain about a mall destroying a wetland should be focused on the negative ramifications of that action, not the fact that it is intrinsically wrong. It's not.

The only thing that separates us from the rest of the species on this planet is our responsibility. We are the only ones with both the foresight to see something bad coming and the tools with which to stop it. But let's not pretend our savagery, our uncaring attitude, or our consumption of resources is our conscious doing. Those are not things we decide to do, they are things we are compelled to do, and it takes work to control ourselves and our own flawed nature. The earth has damaged itself many more times and in many more worse ways than we ever have. Now, finally, it has produced something that can stop it.

I would not lose faith. There is too much in this universe to look forward to.
Last edited by Dudely on Jun 18, 2010 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: More or Less Sophisticated Savages

#20  Postby Ubjon » Jun 18, 2010 4:20 pm

I think clever monkeys (Or chimps to be more accurate) is the best description as clever does not mean that you're wise.
Ubjon wrote:Your God is just a pair of lucky underpants.


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