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Thoughts from the Teapot

(69 Posts)
Bags Fri 07-Jun-13 06:31:06

Teapot Atheist (@TpotAtheist)

How about instead of "love your enemies" we just don't consider other groups to be enemies?

"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword"
-Jesus, the "Prince of Peace" (Matthew 10:34)

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence" (Carl Sagan)

Greatnan Fri 07-Jun-13 06:54:39

A nice thought, bags, but how do you avoid seeing a group as enemies when they consistently criticise you?

janeainsworth Fri 07-Jun-13 07:36:03

Bags Sadly I think there are enemies of freedom and pretending they are not, won't make them go away.

Lilygran Fri 07-Jun-13 07:52:12

I think it's more than a bit naive to think there's no such thing as an enemy. May not have personal enemies or may not think of other individuals as enemies but there is lots of deliberate bad stuff going on. Thinking they aren't enemies isn't very realistic or sensible!

Aka Fri 07-Jun-13 07:57:40

I think I see where you're coming from Bags with the Teapot Atheist. It's almost a paranoia but on both sides.

Bags Fri 07-Jun-13 07:58:29

I wouldn't necessarily put criticism in the same category as enmity, though it can be.

I agree, jane, that there are enemies of freedom, and of freedom of speech, but I didn't interpret the Tpot remark as referring to those modern people or groups. I don't think the Bible reference is to such groups either, but about the primitive tribalism that was still driving ideas when it was written. However, it's still relevant.

Such tribalism still exists, and I think it is related to racism, and to fear of change. It's quite hard to find properly educated people who are racist, though I daresay there are some. I hope the progress continues.

Aka Fri 07-Jun-13 08:06:13

I wonder if this tribalism, which today still manifests itself in everything from religions to street gangs is a genetic predisposition? To survive we, mankind, had to form groups bigger than the family unit.

janthea Fri 07-Jun-13 09:49:24

Interesting concept Aka.

Mishap Fri 07-Jun-13 10:24:25

I agree aka - all organisms (from viruses to humans) are programmed to fight for survival, and they group together in clusters (tribes) that provide the best opportunity for defending their survival. 'Twas ever thus. That sadly is how the world has been organised and we have lived with the misery of that fact since the dawn of time.

Strange way to organise the world - but not of our doing.

Bags Fri 07-Jun-13 13:54:07

I'm sure that's right, aka, but it would be nice to think that with intelligence and consideration, we could move on a bit from the way behaving like bands of aggressive apes. Actually, I think we have. We still have some way to go though.

And that is the point of the quote, as I see it. The TeapotAtheist has turned the "love thy neighbour" injunction around to look at it another way. Either way, the message is essentially the same.

Bags Fri 07-Jun-13 13:57:29

Only social animals fight for survival in groups. We are social animals. Tigers aren't. Neither are polar bears. I doubt if all viruses work in groups. Butterflies? Spiders? Trees?

Does anyone know if there are more non-social species than social ones?

Other examples of social species are ants and honey bees.

janeainsworth Fri 07-Jun-13 18:03:26

Bacteria communicate and increase their populations by quorum sensing.

I remember an article by Will Self (I think it was) in which he moaned that when he attended a friend's party, there was a suitable racial and ethnic mix of guests, but the working class was severely under-represented.
Modern tribalism in North London?

Tegan Fri 07-Jun-13 18:51:20

Maybe I could put myself forward as the token working class person and get invited to lots of parties. Hireapoorperson wink. By the way, did anyone see the programme about William Tyndale last night, explaining how he translated the bible into language that the man on the street could understand?

j08 Fri 07-Jun-13 19:08:08

I've got to watch that again Tegan. Seem to remember I was Gransnetting at the same time! shock hmm It was very interesting. There was a lot about Tyndale in the books Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.

j08 Fri 07-Jun-13 19:09:35

They were so brave in those days! Henry V111 could dream up some horrible deaths for people he didn't like!

Tegan Fri 07-Jun-13 19:18:31

Yes; I didn't get to watch it properly. Can't believe how brave he was. I've been watching The Tudors. Didn't bother with it first time round [couldn't get my head round Henry being young and good looking] but I've been enjoying it this time [when I can stay awake long enough to watch it; usually nod off three quarters of the way through the first episode]. Looking forward to The White Queen, as well smile. Got to admit that I'm still getting More, Wolsey and Cromwell mixed up. If I'd been around at that time I'd have been non ambitious and kept my head down [and hopefully on] although I'd probably have ended up as one of those innocent people that were accused of something they hadn't done and ended up being hung, drawn and quartered shock.

absent Fri 07-Jun-13 19:34:54

Bags I think that there are more species of spiders than of any other animal, so a lot of non-social creatures. Imagine what spiders would achieve if they were social animals!

Bags Fri 07-Jun-13 19:58:30

Quite. There are only a very few social insects too, out of the gazillions of species.

Aka Sat 08-Jun-13 06:47:38

I've been thinking about this and have come to the conclusion that 'man' grouped together mainly to protect themselves from other groups of humans. So what does that say about us?

Bags Sat 08-Jun-13 07:08:54

Our grouping evolved to protect ourselves from any dangers. It evolved long before we became human. Herding herbivores use the same technique of crowd safety. So do birds like starlings.

Some dangers, of course, have always been from other groups of the same species. This is the same for other species of social apes, such as chimpanzees.

I think the point Teapot is trying to make is that, although there are still dangers from other humans, on the whole we have progressed a bit from an antithetical view of other humans and it's time to drop that rather primitive outlook for everyday use.

Bags Sat 08-Jun-13 07:09:41

I think global travel and global communications have helped with this because we see what we have in common with other people, as well as the differences.

Aka Sat 08-Jun-13 07:25:59

I agree. Just reflecting on why we developed like this and what could move us forward. If this distrust of other groups of humans is innate then it would almost take an 'advanced evolutionary type' to overcome our genetics and our distrust.
Can we override our basic primitive outlooks in sufficient numbers to make a difference?

Bags Sat 08-Jun-13 08:18:30

I think we are doing already. Think about how people want to help those who suffer from natural or man-made disasters, even when they are on the other side of the world and may never meet.

janeainsworth Sat 08-Jun-13 08:29:43

I agree Bags, but the counter-side is that we have used our intelligence and ability to create monsters that allow states to destroy people on the other side of the world whom we have never met, or individuals use technology to plan attacks on people they don't know, with devastating impact.
I am not sure we have moved on at all, or ever will overcome our basic primitive outlooks, Aka.

Bags Sat 08-Jun-13 08:40:32

Well, there is that side of the coin too, but the same technological advances have helped humanity as well. I contend that they have helped more than they have harmed – witness human population growth. the populations of species that don't overcome basic survival problems, but merely have to deal with them over and over again, with no progress, don't grow. Or they do grow, and then crash. Stuff I've read recently suggests human populatiion will level off in this century and then fall gradually as living conditiions improve for more and more people.

At least we can try.