What do you think is the root cause for humans treating others so badly?  Money, religion, death, imperfect evolution, ...

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Power, which could also be religion.

That's a good one.  I take it you mean power-over, not power-to. 

How about power over children? 

Hi Luara! Yes, I meant power-over. Power over children in the sense that someone is taking care of them and doesn't let them get hurt, etc. is good of course.  Power over children in the sense that they are vulnerable to being brain-washed with religion because adults they trust tell them things are true so they believe them... just continuing the cycle.

when is power-over good vs bad, then? 

Well in my example, for instance, an adult having power over a child because the adult knows how to protect the child is good.  Having power over a child and using it to brainwash or treat them badly is bad obviously. 

So power-over can be good when it's over a child. 

Any other situations where power-over is a good thing? 

Only power-over a child when it's a loving, responsible adult taking care of them, and guiding them until they become an adult themselves.  Also power-over a pet, if you are giving, for example, a dog or cat who would be homeless, a good home with food, trips to the vet, and attention.  I guess you would say you have power-over the pet.  Obviously it's not good if the pet is abused instead of loved. :(

I babysat a sister and 18 mos later a brother when I was in junior hs, yet years later in a college sociology class was surprised to hear of newborns as savages who are to be socialized. In this task there's some power-to and some power-over.

A challenge facing every caregiver? Gradually surrendering both powers.

it's interesting that we'd all agree that one has to have power-over children. 

But in other situations it's very dicey.  Even if the person is obviously impaired (say has Alzheimer's), power-over seems to violate human dignity. And it gives people a vent, a target if they need to hurt someone.  If they need a substitute revenge for someone who hurt them long ago. 

(so you might say, don't children have human dignity?) 

I've heard the saying, if someone wants to do you good, don't walk, run the other way!

Because they would be seeking power over you. 

Children are abused a great deal.  And when people wreak revenge on the helpless, it's often revenge for when they were helpless.  When they were children. 

People pass on their sadism, etc. through the generations ...

It might make more sense if humans were made so that children were born already knowing how to be human, and didn't have to learn it from scratch, with our super-flexible minds. 

Children believe and trust their parents - because their parents have the job of training them in being human. 

You can see how this training is necessary on a practical level - because humans have to adapt to many different environments. 

But there doesn't seem to be a need for this abstract openness of children, for having their parents teach them how to interact with other people. 

If children came pre-formed in this way, there wouldn't be this transmission of viciousness from generation to generation. 

Baaaad design ... 

God fucked up?

If god were a student in an engineering college, Tom, he would have gotten straight F's in design!

You can see how this training is necessary on a practical level - because humans have to adapt to many different environments. 

There are probably more different social and cultural systems among humans than physical environments.   Children have to learn not only how to survive in their environment but how to fit into their culture and society.  The only thing that is innate, unlearned, in humans is the motivation (not the skill) to take care of helpless children.  Humans have constructed social groups larger than the mother-child core only by inventing them and their some-times religious justifications.  So the children have to learn the social and cultural rules and beliefs of their parents.

The main source of evil--of man's inhumanity to man--is the competition among the groups that humans have invented and learned to fit into.  We evolved the psychological tendency to identify with the people close to us and the people like us and to take their side in any conflict with another group.  The traditional sociological language to describe this kind of conflict is "ingroup versus outgroup."  And it plays out today in everything from American drones bombing Islamic militants to police and vigilantes profiling young black African-Americans as criminals. 


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