Irrational Fear and the Civilized


There is an old adage which says man fears the unknown. That saying, on the basis of its assumed status of maxim, is often used to indict man for his supposedly destructive nature, as evidenced by his often irascible manner. But that indictment must be contested.

Even assuming an inherent tendency toward being destructive, man’s nature should not be used to blanketly invalidate the appropriateness of an action he might take. Without valid knowledge of the actual, possibly precipitative, circumstances, such a judgment against man’s actions therein would be premised only on the assumption that he likely created those circumstaces and therefor could not be innocent of his situation; the nature of the circumstances under which man finds himself preceeds in relevance the nature of man himself.

Man is not unthinking and “barbaric” by a supposedly destructive nature. What man often suffers from is lack of adequate understanding of what his circumstances reasonably warrant. I find it difficult to believe man’s nature is to kill and murder things unknown to him with no basis in the reality, or perceived reality, of the situations around him, and the threats they pose to himself, others, etc.

The unknown does not always have the intent to threaten, true, but when man has ignorance of intent, and when his understanding of what surrounds him is unknown and time and the ability to know more is limited, for him to respond destructively cannot be precluded as appropriate.

Man is uncivil because of unecessary destruction. Knowing when it is necessary is the major question. Violence by itself is not prima facia to the indictment of man.


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