BRYCE ON MORALITY
- Have we really evolved as a species?
Of our 44 presidents, the most prolific writer was John Quincy Adams who maintained a detailed journal of his life, from boyhood until near the end of his life. Adams’ presidency was unsuccessful, but he served Congress afterwards as a dedicated public servant. He also had a keen eye for the world around him, be it social, political, economic, military, religious, or whatever. Being somewhat pious, Adams came to the conclusion, “man is born inherently evil.” This struck me like a thunderbolt.
As humans we are proud of our technology, marvel at our massive cities, consider the artfulness of our entertainment, and have conquered the land, sea, air and space. From this, we believe ourselves to be sophisticated and an advanced civilization, well beyond those of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Chinese, and Romans. But are we really? We still practice the obscenity of war, and we certainly do not observe the golden rule of “Doing unto others as we would have others do unto us.” In other words, I see nothing in our history that would lead me to believe we have truly evolved as a species. Sure, we now have air conditioning, smart phones, and High Definition TV, but I fail to see how we are any more noble or moral than our predecessors.
In the Middle East we see genocide, where Christians are singled out for extermination by ISIS. In Gaza, Hamas terrorists have vowed the extermination of the Israeli Jews, as has other Muslim factions. They put human shields around their missile launchers and fortifications in order to gain martyrdom and draw world sympathy to their cause. Beheadings and mass executions are now commonplace in the Muslim world. Decapitated heads are hung in public for the world to see and photograph for social media. Such atrocities were practiced well before the birth of Christ. One can only conclude the Muslims are a primitive and barbaric race. It doesn’t take a genius to pull a trigger or blow yourself up. It takes more integrity not to do so.
Russia stands poised to flex its muscles and snatch the Ukraine in the same manner as Nazi Germany snapped up the Rhineland, Austria, and Poland under the ruse of “repatriation.” This gave them the momentum to conquer the rest of mainland Europe, north Africa, and invade Russia. No wonder Europeans tremble as they watch the Ukraine helplessly.
During World Wars I and II, atrocities were performed by just about every army. In both wars, the German soldiers brutally raped and murdered Russians, and the Russians did likewise to the Germans. These two countries were certainly not alone in terms of brutality and savagery. It has been going on for centuries. We saw it in our Civil War, we saw it when Japan invaded China, and we now see it in Afghanistan, Muslim Africa, and chemical attacks in the Middle East. Let us also not forget the work of the Serbs, the Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, North Korea, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and Stalin’s purges, to mention but a few. Such heinous crimes against humanity, and the total disregard for life in any form, is essentially no different than pre-Biblical times.
On a more local level, it has become commonplace to hear stories such as a man throwing a baby out of a moving vehicle simply because it was crying; mothers snuffing the life out of their children; sexual predators, people sadistically decimating innocent animals, not for food, but for sport or simple cruelty. We viciously attack each other for a variety of reasons, such as domination, intoxication, a word spoken out of turn, or even as a game. Are these acts of God or man? The answer should be rather obvious. In addition to the perpetrators, we encourage evil by saying or doing nothing.
Evil knows no boundaries. It doesn’t observe borders, politics, race or religion. It is universal. So much so, one has to wonder where have all the champions of peace gone? Where are our role models and leaders; our Gandhis? Even Sadat was assassinated for promoting peace. Certainly there must be some good in the world, but the media doesn’t promote it with the same gusto they do for the horrors of the world. And as the American military diminishes in size and scope, evil is emboldened.
Like Adams, I believe we are born evil, but have been given the rare ability to rise above it, our intellect. However, just like any animal, we have to be trained to be good and we have done a horrible job of doing so, be it by our parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or the media. Both good and evil reside within all of us and it is a matter of our conscience to determine which path to follow.
Education is perhaps the best deterrent to evil, as it tempers the conscious, as does age and experience. Unfortunately, many people take education for granted or fail to understand its value and prefer living by basic instinct alone, thereby allowing evil to fester.
As sophisticated of an animal we like to believe we are, Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) was correct when he observed, “Man is really the most interesting jackass there is.”
He continued, “Well for example I experimented with a cat and a dog. Taught them to be friends and put them in a cage. I introduced a rabbit and in an hour they were friends. Then I added a fox, a goose, a squirrel…some doves…a kangaroo, and finally a monkey. They lived together in peace. Well next I captured an Irish Catholic and put him in a cage and just as soon as he seemed tame I added a Presbyterian, then a Turk from Constantinople, a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, and finally a Salvation Army colonel. Why when I went back there wasn’t a single specimen alive.”
Maybe God made a mistake when he picked man over the monkee.
We do not want to believe evil is as pervasive in our world as it is, but it is much closer to us than we think. It is not just restricted to the evening news. It is always waiting for us, be it in the Middle East or just around the corner.
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
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