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20. Panetics as transmitted cultural pattern

Literature: Benedict (1934: 130-172), Villeneuve (1965), (1988), Gay (1993), (Encarta: Torture, Inquisition, Aztec), Foucault (1969), Said (1979: 24-30), (1994), (Siu 1993, I-III), Straube (1964: 671-722). See also:

Bloom's (1995) book: "The Lucifer Principle. A scientific expedition into the forces of history" describes vividly the principle of competition, destruction, the "survival of the most brutal and ruthless", in the creation of the biological world and of human societies. Thus he gives a very important support for the presentation of the luciferic elements of (human) life on this planet. [579] This view is based on the fundamental principle of thermodynamic processes, that has also been developed as a cultural theory by Neirynck (1994). Ruth Benedict (1934: 130-172) describes in her account of the Dobu a society that has made this principle the basis their life:

Benedict (1934: 172): Life in Dobu fosters extreme forms of animosity and malignancy which most societies have minimized by their institutions. Dobuan institutions, on the other hand, exalt them to the highest degree. The Dobuan lives out without repression man's worst nightmares of the ill-will of the universe, and according to this view of life virtue consists in selecting a victim upon whom he can vent the malignancy he attributes alike to human society and to the powers of nature. All existence appears to him as a cut-throat struggle in which deadly antagonists are pitted against one another in a context for each one of the goods of life. Suspicion and cruelty are his trusted weapons in the strife and he gives no mercy, as he asks none.

Siu (1993,II: 5) has made the proposal for a science of Panetics, the integrated systematic study of all the aspects of suffering inflicted on humans by humans. (Pali: paneti, to inflict). The International society for Panetics has compiled in its three volume set Panetics (Siu 1993, I-III), a list of the major incidents and causes, together with an encyclopaedic register containing several thousand bibliographical references of inflicted human suffering. In the context of the present study, these various forms of inflictions represent extremely stable and contagious cultural patterns , that have afflicted humanity since millennia.

This factor of infliction as cultural memory pattern, the spreading of social pathologies, the "viruses of the mind" is a core subject of the memetics discourse. Brodie (1996) Lynch (1996). [580] The systematic connection of punitive childhood training and belligerence is an important factor in the cultivation of aggressivity of a culture. This is discussed by Gay (1993: 181-212) who describes the caning culture of the 19th century European school system in detail: the systematic training of young children of the higher classes to become emotionally detached and immovable to the suffering of fellow humans. Montagu (1976) brings arguments against the sociobiologist and "native aggressiveness" theories of Ardrey, Dart, Morris, and Lorenz. He describes some of the glaring problems of tactile deprivation in puritan European and US WASP society. Montagu (1976: 29): an analysis of Golding's "Lord of the Flies" as an account of how the English public school system systematically turned upper class children into sadistic and otherwise emotionally pathological cases of humans that were "fit to rule the world". Also Said (1994: 3-7, 160-200): Darwin's and Spencer's principles of "survival of the fittest" are described as ideologies of European supremacy, and as example, Kipling's (1994) justifications of European imperialism.

20.1. Issues of civilization and belligerence

Literature: Bloom (1995), Diamond (1992: esp. 180-191), (1997), Gellner (1993: esp. 168-183), Nye (1970). The advent of agriculture allowed an unprecedented population growth for people living in the areas that were to become the earliest civilizatory centers. As Diamond and Gellner point out, agriculture had grave side effects. The armed control over the surplus wealth production in the agricultural societies meant a perpetual pattern of violence in these societies. Additional factors were the high level of social stress, caused by crowding, chronic undernourishment, and repeated famines, high social inequality, and installation of tyrannical rulerships. Such social tension has always found a ready means to vent it: organized war, belligerence and expansion of these societies. Writing facilitated the control and domination of these people by rulers and deployment of these societies in massed organizations, and armies, and their specialization and commerce enabled them to develop metal weapons and military infrastructure that were the key to organized warfare.

Belligerence occurs in indigenous societies as much as it does in civilizations (Ferrill 1985: 9-32), (Frobenius 1900), (O'Connell 1989: 30-44) . But indigenous societies with their low levels of societal organization cannot put forward large-scale and long-sustained mass efforts, due to infrastructure constraints, ie. limitations of: food for warriors, technology for arms, mass transportation, command, organization, and conscription. See: Oconnell (1989), Dudley (1991), Ferrill (1985), Havelock (1978: 81-94). This ensures that indigenous war activities have to remain on a low / local level [581]. The use of a CMT like writing (or the quipu in the Inca case) serves to forge mass organizations and thus supports to amplify a general and ubiquitous tendency of belligerence beyond the potential of indigenous means.

20.2. Killer culture: the 'survival of the most ruthless'

Diamond (1992: 217-369) makes a report of all the documented genocides that occurred in history. A drastic account of the systematic breeding of "killer culture" is given by Bloom (1995: 223-269), presenting a stark picture of the core culture of Islam, the Bedouin, [582] citing an anthropologist work by Lila Abu-Lughod. The strict Islamic insistence on the written word as explicated in the Koran combined with harsh Bedouin child-rearing practices as well as emotional coolness and strict contact restriction in male-female relations makes for an especially potent "virus of the mind" to "put a premium on violence, anger, and revenge" (Bloom 1995: 241) and gives an incentive to conquer the world (Jihad) citing the ayatollah Khomeini (p. 232-233) . "The modern growth of Islam is the coalescence of a superorganism drawn together by the magnetic attraction of a meme." (p. 233). Not quite as extreme but in a similar vein is Levi-strauss (1978: 392-406) (who wrote his book in the 1950's before the revival of Islam fundamentalism). These passages of the Koran can be interpreted as direct exhortations to kill and eradicate all infidel non-believers: II, 186, 187, 212, IV, 76, IX, 52, 88-89, 90, XLVII, 4-7, 37, LX 38.

[579] ->:MAE_PHIS_TELES, p. 239
[580] ->:MEMETICS, p. 248
[581] Diamond (1992: 296) reports of the fierce war activities of New Guinea highlanders (whom he knows from his anthropological fieldwork) that they are not "ritual" and "unbloody" as Erich Fromm would have it, but if given the opportunity, they massacred a whole neighboring tribe.
(p. 297): As another example of how technology can expedite genocide, the Solomon Islanders of Roviana Lagoon in the Southwest Pacific were famous for their head-hunting raids, which depopulated neighboring islands. However, as my Roviana friends explained to me, these raids did not blossom until steel axes reached the Solomon Islands in the nineteenth enctury. Beheading a man with a stone axe is difficult, and the axe blade quickly loses its sharp edge and is tedious to reshapen.
[582] Bedouin culture is the mother of all Islam. Bloom (1995: 240).

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