Re: On the origin of .... war

From: Robin Faichney (
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 10:30:49 BST

  • Next message: Vincent Campbell: "RE: On the origin of .... war"

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    Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 10:30:49 +0100
    Subject: Re: On the origin of .... war
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    In-Reply-To: <>; from on Mon, Sep 17, 2001 at 03:13:23PM +0100
    From: Robin Faichney <>
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    On Mon, Sep 17, 2001 at 03:13:23PM +0100, Vincent Campbell wrote:
    > > From: Robin Faichney
    > > On Mon, Sep 17, 2001 at 10:29:03AM +0100, Vincent Campbell wrote:
    > > > We often tend to think of rationality as in some way automatically
    > > removed
    > > > from what we are when it's not, and what we need to do is recognise this
    > > > otherwise we will never be able to turn away from instinctive
    > > flight/fight
    > > > responses to such acts.
    > >
    > > Umm, didn't you just imply that the instinctive response is (at least
    > > sometimes) rational? :-)
    > Hi Robin,
    > Yeah, that was my point. Sometimes the rational action, from an adaptive
    > perspective, is indeed the instinctual one of fight or flight, sometimes it
    > isn't. One shouldn't assume they are mutually exclusive. A male lion
    > having defeated a pride leader will systematically kill all cubs fathered by
    > the former pride leader, an horrific yet adaptive strategy.
    > In the case of the tragic recent events, the instinctual response of massive
    > military reaction is, in my view, not a rational response, unlike say, the
    > response to the attack on Pearl Harbour, where the enemy and the motive for
    > attack were both obvious. Currently the US, and by clear governmental
    > association, the member states of Nato, face massive uncertainty in these
    > areas, and yet the finger is on the trigger. No doubt the more caution the
    > allies use to ensure a legitimate target, the more anger will collect in the
    > minds of the victims' families and fellow nationals in the time that takes,
    > and the demands for massive retaliation will grow.

    One of the most important factors here is that an emotional reaction
    that might be appropriate to an attack by one neolithic tribe upon
    another is highly inappropriate given the political complexity of the
    modern world. All that can be said for such a reaction these days is
    that in a democracy, if most people feel that way, then maybe the leaders
    should obey the will of the majority. That, of course, leads in to big
    issues about leadership in representative democracies.

    That sort of issue is not really my cup of tea, though I'm not quite
    as averse to it as I used to be. But I've always focused more on the
    individual. An interesting question here is: if we recognise that
    instinctive responses are often "rational", should we always avoid
    instinctive responses and instead analyse every situation, or trust
    our instincts, act first and think later -- or, if neither of these,
    then how do we decide whether to go with our feelings or not in any
    given situation?

    Robin Faichney
    alt.m: "Memes do not exist. Tell everyone you know."
    inside information --

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