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Old 01-20-2010, 09:51 AM   #29
Erick Mead
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Dojo: Big Green Drum (W. Florida Aikikai)
Location: West Florida
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,619
Re: Hormonal & Psychological Responses to Combat

Why so touchy?
William Hazen wrote: View Post
"Enduring change in human nature?" Again Eric your statements are nothing but assumptions coupled with generalizations about polling and statistics 101. I notice you only make these assumptions when they serve your 'argument"
I am not making a statistical argument -- I simply pointed out certain counter-assumptions not addressed in yours.
I am not making any argument -- but an observation: people seem to have had little difficulty killing other people, wholesale or retail. It is (based on much history) the fact that men have had no difficulty engaging in killing at any arbitrary scale because there have been a terribly great number of dead ones -- correlated, oddly enough. with superficial niceties about how "civilized" and "peacable" we have supposedly become.

In the 20th century -- the most "civilized" and technically advanced century of human history (bar our own) more people were killed than all the wars in all the prior centuries combined -- all the while mouthing platitudes about our "moral progress." I don't buy it. The facts don't support it. We have not changed; we are just as dangerous, fallen and reprobate as we have ever been, and it is (on the historical facts) exceedingly dangerous to pretend otherwise.

Only our warlike nature can control our warlike nature. If this is not the reason for martial arts as a discipline -- what is?

Survival based on love of self (your thesis), while not immoral per se -- tursn out not to be a very SAFE moral basis for violent and deadly behavior --- it is prone to errors that have little internal controls . The piles of corpses reaped in the era of 'nationalism' and 'individualism' and the many other Us v. Them "'- isms" attest this.

If it is "me versus them": I am certainly safer with 'them' ALL dead than with some surviving -- you never know, after all -- 'They" can tricksy and false.... This is plainly sufficient killing to protect me -- immediately and ultimately -- but was it necessary killing ? "Self-protection" too easily slides into a default "if in doubt -- take no chances" mode. After all, if the entire field is laid waste and I survive alone -- then self-protection worked -- but at what cost?

Psychologically, "I will protect myself", and "We will protect ourselves " are categorically different in ordering (and moral force) from "I will protect you," or "We will protect you."

Ueshiba and Hillman (and Gandhi, Gautama -- and Jesus for that matter) posit that protection of others based on a self-sacrificing love has a better moral basis as a motivation in survival situations because it is ultimately SAFER.

There is just as solid a physiological and psychological basis for a survival mechanism in the oxytocin "protective instinct" hypothesis as in the adrenal self-protection mode, without losing those latter physiological functions. This mode seems to have (or to regularly produce) internal or cultural controls that the other mode does not obviously have. The striking similarities of traditions of martial honor seem to address this problem in terms little modified by culture -- so I am little unclear why there is such pushback on the point.

I am most interested in WHY there is the pushback -- more than I am on winning any argument -- because I am not arguing a point. I am simply curious and exploring a position -- though if you choose to see it as argument, I cannot help that.


Erick Mead
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