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Subject: Re: Roman Genocide
From: Michael Newton <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:CELTIC-L - The Celtic Culture List.
Date:Fri, 18 Feb 1994 08:28:27 GMT
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| It seems to me, if you follow Michael Newton's logic that some cultures are
| predisposed to brutality and conquest, then you find yourself in the Darwinist
| trap that the prey is as much at "fault" for its situation as the predator.
 
  No, I do not subscribe to such misapplications of pseudo-Darwinian "logic".
It is not the fault of the victim that the aggressor is dominant.  It is
the fault of the aggressor, to the disadvantage to the long-term stability
of the entire "ecosystem", that such an element could be so far out of
balance.
 
| Further, this leads me to the relativistic idea that neither is at fault at
| all; it's only "nature's way."
 
  This is the exact opposite of what I'm saying.  Imperialism and war is *not*
biologically in-built, they are cultural predispositions.  While conflict
and aggression may be common occurances amongst beings at a personal level,
such large-scale social phenomena as war and empire are not somehow innately
human.  See Lewis Mumford's "Pentagon of Power" for more on the subject.
 
| Maybe it's humano-centric, but I'd prefer to
| think that we're better than that. Personally, I believe that all humans have
| approximately equal dispositions toward violence and possession of their local
| environment; different societies have merely channeled that energy into
| different activities. That's learned, not predisposed.
 
  This is my point -- culture carries thousands of years of history with it
and moulds our minds and values, and we learn certain behaviour and
world-views from our culture.  You cannot simply speak of us as tabula rasa
human slates without calling into question the cultures which created us.  We
do not and cannot exist without culture.
 
| The funny thing is, that our ending moralistic diatribes (which I apply in
| full force to my first letter) fundamentally agree. I don't mean to advance
| any of my beliefs about people as an excuse to give up. I do celebrate our
| differences; we cannot "get past" our fear of them without appreciating them.
 
  What is this constant talk of "fear"?
 
| The struggle with our natural tendencies is the greatest human drama.
 
  I'd change this to: The struggle to find equilibrium between opposing
cultural dynamics is the greatest human drama.

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