According to Tim Severin, "Daniel Defoe, a secretive man, neither confirmed or denied that Selkirk was the model for the hero of his book.
These and other related pernicious phenomena have perpetually persisted for millennia, assuming various forms in each generation to thwart anew the dream for a sustainably healthy world.
A diverse range of people, motivated by a combination of principled conscience, self-interest and concern for those that they care about, have taken an interest in, investigated or worked to help resolve these issues.
This range includes experts in a variety of fields who have carried out, to the best of their abilities, scientific studies focused on understanding and discovering solutions to each of these challenges. Yet, despite the investment of all of this energy by so many, humanity has been unable to reduce their impact significantly enough to achieve the type of lasting peace, harmony and justice that we assume all of us desire.
Perhaps we can gain some insight into the reasons behind this abiding failure by considering the fact that all of these stubbornly enduring phenomena share something in common. What do we mean when we use the word evil?
Which entities, actions or phenomena qualify to be described as evil? Are certain environments or settings more or less conducive to the emergence or perpetuation of evil?
How do various manifestations of evil interconnect and feed back on each other? To what extent is destructiveness in our world inevitable as opposed to preventable? To what extent is the destructiveness in our world accidental as opposed to consciously and willfully carried out or enabled or unnecessarily tolerated?
To what extent are human beings responsible for provoking, carrying out, enabling or unnecessarily tolerating evil? Why do certain people, groups and institutions exhibit a strong predilection for harmful, cruel, destructive or neglectful behavior?
Why do some experience apathy or even pleasure upon encountering evil, while others find it disdainful and resist it? How do those who lack conscience influence others close to them? How can we better recognize those who promote or enable evil to take place?
To what extent can and should humans work to prevent or resist evil? When indicated, how can we best do this? Nearly all of the most daunting challenges we face relate in some way to these questions. Therefore, they are among the most important questions of our time.
Yet, though we regularly apply science in examining the demographic, sociological, psychological and physical causes, characteristics and consequences of these symptomatic problems, we far too often fail to apply it in examining the meaning, sources, enabling factors and dynamics of evil itself or in inquiring into optimal strategic approaches to it.
Instead, many view and engage with the subject from a variety of non-scientific or even anti-scientific perspectives: Some simply philosophize about evil, treating it as an abstract, rather than practical, matter. Some principally focus on evil through literature or art in which it is portrayed as a shadowy mystical or, at times, even romantic force.
Some are drawn to and stubbornly cling to unsupported, oversimplified explanations or wild conspiracy theories. Some take a theological approach, framing evil as the product of vague supernatural agents such as spirits or demons.
Some relate to evil primarily emotionally, experiencing or expressing sentiments, in regard to it or its manifestations, ranging from deep sadness to furious rage. Some say that we can simply never truly understand the origins and nature of evil. Some, for a variety of reasons, refuse to even discuss the topic.
Even many professionals, when forced to confront and speak about questions of evil raised in the course of their work, limit their role to a descriptive one, while evading any responsibility to more deeply explore its core nature or origins. It is understandable that we take some of these approaches to the issue of evil.
It may be that we evolved to most naturally consider the issue through these lenses and in these terms and many of our traditions reinforce these ways of viewing it. Perhaps these ways of thinking will always play at least some role.
And in the past, when our knowledge and tools were more limited, we may have had an excuse to only employ these approaches.
But our situation has changed drastically. We no longer live in the environment or situation in which such views evolved and to which they are suited.
Human systems arrangements have been revolutionized. Our shift from a relatively small number of people living sporadically in small tribes to a quickly growing mass of billions of people, living extremely hierarchically in mostly highly dense urban settings, has helped to drive scientific progress, enabling the development of more and more potent technologies, which in turn support more and more extensive and interconnected power structures, financial systems and communication networks.
The continuous mutual advancement of these technologies and complexes has, in some respects, improved our lives.Movie reviews, news and features from critics and reporters of The New York Times. Ishmael is a philosophical novel by Daniel tranceformingnlp.com novel examines the hidden cultural biases driving modern civilization and explores themes of ethics, sustainability, and global tranceformingnlp.comy framed as a Socratic conversation between two characters, Ishmael aims at exposing that several widely accepted assumptions of modern society, such as human supremacy, are actually cultural.
"A highly entertaining postmodernist novel destined to be a cult classic."—Library Journal "Wilber, a hip and loquacious philosopher-guru, turns to fiction to flesh out, as it were, his provocative theories about humanity and the Boomers, the generation everyone, including themselves, loves to hate.
Show Summary Tune in to The Colbert Report, as Stephen Colbert gives his own take on the issues of the day, and more importantly, to tell you why everyone else's take is just plain wrong.
RECOMMENDED READING & books by guests.
I get a lot of emails from people asking me for reading recommendations, so here's a place to buy books by friends of mine and books I highly recommend. This site contains links to lesson plans and resources for adolescent and young adult (grades ) literature, including short stories, mysteries, and English literature.