[Dark Side I; the squeamish is invited to read something else.]

Jane Goodall, the fanatical Christian and do-gooder, was the leading chimpanzee ethologist. Her lesson number one, as she always insists, is that “chimpanzees are very much like us“. Paradoxically, the greatest discovery Goodall made was what I view as the deepest pillar of the Dark Side. The WILL TO EXTERMINATION. Roll over Nietzsche, and even Sade!

Nietzsche’s Will to Power should be controversial. Because, not only the likes of Caesar or Napoleon had evoked it, but there are other “Wills“. Obviously. And the most important “Will” had not been uncovered by Nietzsche. Or, come to think of it, by any major philosopher, so far. The Will To Extermination is the very core of the Dark Side. It has been ignored at humanity’s own peril.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

[Chimpanzees are four to five times stronger than human beings; the latter surrendered power for dexterity, allowing to terrorize chimpanzees with superior weaponry.]

Sade had achieved a much better understanding, and he warned fellow revolutionaries that it was unwise to push the French revolution onto Europe by the force of arms… That it would all turn into what it turned into. Sade had a point one has to keep in mind (say in Syria).

Understanding that the Will to Extermination is a dominant emotion is a must for making progress in humanism. Keeping it in mind would have led humanity to question early on what the German “Reichs” were up to, or Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler, or many of today’s mass homicidal dictators. Or, more generally, what all plutocrats are up to. The Will To Extermination is the main interface of true plutocracy with the world.

Is that all there is to the Dark Side? Oh no. There is the “Will To Power”, sitting on the side. And there is more: emotional, not just rational, pointillism.

I had a dream. A rescue helicopter was landing in the thick forest next to my home. I had to recover my solar powered camera to immortalize the scene. However it was on the south side of the overhang of a giant cliff I knew very well. In my haste to recover the camera, I overlooked the fear that the cliff ought to have inspired, overshot the device, and found myself hanging from weeds above the enormous void. At that point, waking up seemed the only reasonable option left.

Lesson? People act on reduced emotional sets. In that particular case, the urge to get the device was the only thing considered. Similar reduced emotional sets were at the origin of the German attack in 1914, or the rise of the United Stasi of America, or Obamacrap Obamacare.

Thus, it’s not enough to consider e-motions (what moves), but also which emotions are operationally in command, in any given course of action.

Nietzsche explained in “Beyond Good & Evil”, that he wanted a unified cause, a Theory Of Everything psychological (are modern physicists taking themselves for Nietzsche?). That’s why Nietzsche promoted the Will To Power. That was rather a bid for infuriating oversimplification. Indeed, he himself admitted people thought with their guts, or stomach.

Indeed there is a Will to Drink, or one to fill one’s stomach. Or, more basic of all, there is a Will to Breathe (people can’t commit suicide by refusing to breathe; even under water, end by trying to breathe water).

Nietzsche himself also admitted that there was a “Will to Knowledge”. As it’s well known that curiosity killed the cat, it’s hard to see what kind of power, but for self destruction, the cat was after.

In other words, the silly Nietzsche himself had to admit that there is more to a brain than the desire to turn power on. Studies on Aplysia have confirmed this. Far from being the way Nietzsche thought, the essence of brains is non locality. That’s precisely why consciousness was evolved.

What is usually said is that Goodall discovered that chimpanzees made war. What I point out is why they make war. Here is a recent (2010) study in “Current Biology”:

Chimpanzees make lethal coalitionary attacks on members of other groups [1]. This behavior generates considerable attention because it resembles lethal intergroup raiding in humans [2]. Similarities are nevertheless difficult to evaluate because the function of lethal intergroup aggression by chimpanzees remains unclear. One prominent hypothesis suggests that chimpanzees attack neighbors to expand their territories and to gain access to more food [2]. Two cases apparently support this hypothesis, but neither furnishes definitive evidence. Chimpanzees in the Kasekela community at Gombe National Park took over the territory of the neighboring Kahama community after a series of lethal attacks [3]. Understanding these events is complicated because the Kahama community had recently formed by fissioning from the Kasekela group and members of both communities had been provisioned with food. In a second example from the Mahale Mountains, the M group chimpanzees acquired part of the territory of the adjacent K group after all of the adult males in the latter disappeared [4]. Although fatal attacks were suspected from observations of intergroup aggression, they were not witnessed, and as a consequence, this case also fails to furnish conclusive evidence. Here we present data collected over 10 years from an unusually large chimpanzee community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. During this time, we observed the Ngogo chimpanzees kill or fatally wound 18 individuals from other groups; we inferred three additional cases of lethal intergroup aggression based on circumstantial evidence (see Supplemental Information). Most victims were caught in the same region and likely belonged to the same neighboring group. A causal link between lethal intergroup aggression and territorial expansion can be made now that the Ngogo chimpanzees use the area once occupied by some of their victims.

So what the authors suggest is that chimpanzees behave like little Hitlers, plotting an expansion of their “Lebensraum” (vital space).

Maybe. However, is it how chimpanzees feel it? Certainly not. Inter-chimpanzee violence is extremely brutal and cruel: parts are torn away, bitten off, until death occur from shock and blood loss. (This happens in the wild, and in captivity.)

One can describe a murderous chimpanzee rampage only as motivated by unbounded hatred. When moved by that sort of emotion, chimpanzees are not in the spirit of just making smart real estate investments.

Nietzsche tried to explain everything with the Will To Power: “Suppose, finally, we succeeded in explaining our entire instinctive life as the development and ramification of one basic form of the will–namely, of the will to power, as my proposition has it… then one would have gained the right to determine all efficient force univocally as–will to power. The world viewed from inside… it would be “will to power” and nothing else.” (From Beyond Good and Evil.)

Well, Nietzsche missed the big picture, the one that explains Auschwitz. Trying to do, finance, economics, sociology without the Will To Extermination, is to try to reason out of a reduced emotional set, missing the most important ingredient.

There too, contemplating chimpanzees’ behavior help. the art of extermination with chimpanzees consists into having the many surprise an isolated individual. So chimpanzees go on the war path. They make a single file, they become very silent, strongly bounded by… the perspective of committing murder. And they murder at a stupendous rate, much higher than that of hunter-gatherers. Thus war is a force that provides chimpanzees with the strongest meaning.

Verdict? To defeat the Will To Extermination, we need a higher form of war, just as to fight a disease, we need to understand, and use its essence against itself, as vaccines do.


Patrice Ayme

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  1. EugenR Says:

    XTo those who can perceive the reality only as material, I have to ask,”do you feel you fully control your thoughts? “Most probably if you think sincerely about it, you will have to admit that not,  most of the time not only you don’t have control upon your thoughts, but you are not conscious of them. Your physical brains controls your body most of the time unconsciously. The only aspect of conscious control of your body is when you use your hands, mouth, eyes, and legs, or in other word all your instruments of senses. The rest of your body is acting autonomously. But if most of the times your thoughts and your material body are autonomous from your will , your will has only very little to do with your behavior. Then if not the will of the “I” is the manager or the big boss, who is the boss? Is there any? At the end someone has to control our behavior, otherwise it would be just to chaotic or what we call mentally disordered. And in normal state of our mind we do act out of order, or in other words we are under control. Then who is in control? Who is controlling the boss?  Are those phenomenons in the territories we call feelings? But we, self conscious humans with capacity of critical thinking know perfectly well, feelings, good or constructive ( love ) or bad or destructive ( hate) are out of the reach of our will.

    Then other words for hate, feelings like fear or desire for domination are just other side of the same coin. To try to explain chimpanzees or human behavior on rational terms, like territorial fight would need a big rationale decision maker, the ultimate Will of the I. Is there any? But we know already that most of our minds activity connected to our body is subconscious,  and most of the cognitive activity of our brains is also autonomous to the will of the I. Then who is in control if not us? I need to ask now a question of Apicoress for this site, is it someone or something called God?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Eugen: Wow. Plenty of fascinating questions. Thanks. I will answer many of them in a separate essay.

      In the preceding essay, I pointed out the perfunctory (point like) control of consciousness. The analogy with Quantum Physics is striking, and probably no coincidence. That’s what I will argue next. It will be sort of Consciousness II…


      • EugenR Says:

        I sent you also only short intro. of a grand essay i am writing now. There is much more of it written, but even more not written yet. Probably I should reread the book about the chimpanzees. It is quite a time i read it and then as a teenager i was more fascinated by the adventure of lonely woman in the wild, than the philosophical importance of her findings.


  2. Alex Jones Says:

    Strife is Justice, say Heraclitus, which is to say war leads to a becoming. The chimpanzees shows war is a natural expression of nature.


    • Paul Handover Says:

      And so is love.

      But turning to Patrice’s essay, and yours and Eugene’s comments, I echo Lovell’s plea. Is there innate in man a higher form of war, a desire to battle, and defeat, the lunacy of our present times?

      Or, as I fear more and more these days, are we at the point in our history where our numbers and awareness of insufficient global resources for us all mean this is the beginning of the end.

      In other words, the power of love will never be stronger than the love of power.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      dear Alex: Hmm, I did not know that statement of Heraclitus. The Greek polities were extremely aggressive, the most aggressive in the world. Complete with their famous “baritus”, their war cry similar to one hundred elephants, which froze their enemies…
      On that their freedom rested. Especially the Ionian colonies.

      Heraclitus ought to have said that, quite often, only strife can bring justice. As the Qur’an has it with “Jihad”.

      BTW, that’s exactly the opposite message that Obama lived by when he was in total command. Then he claimed he could not do a thing, as long as “bipartisanship” did not reign. To this day the pseudo-democrat repeat this Tea Party message… To excuse their nothingness. Even Cameron looks like a genius of initiative, relatively speaking.


  3. Lovell Says:

    Dear Patrice,

    I really wish you did not stop at your last paragraph.

    To defeat the Will To Extermination, we need a higher form of war, just as to fight a disease, we need to understand, and use its essence against itself, as vaccines do.

    That’s the stuff I’m most interested in; but how, exactly?


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Lowell: I got quite a bit of feedback from people over the years complaining they can’t get beyond my first few paragraphs. Someone even told me yesterday my title “Will To extermination” exhausted them.

      So I am not into making very long essays anymore. (One out there, on Islam, is more than 10,000 words long. It exposes the Quran’s ultra violence.)

      This is the age of the short attention span. Anyway Montaigne’s essays were not that long (he also came later to modify them in various editions!)

      A disadvantage, as Krugman pointed out about himself on his own blog, is that one ends up saying always the same thing. But that happens also… even in science (!!!). Let alone philosophy where the same mumbo-jumbo from Kant and Hegel (object/subject/thing-in-itself, etc.) is munched with relish by the cows…

      But I promise to come back on that. It’s well known that one better know the enemy before one can fight it. This is why so many rabid pacifists are actually accomplices of what they claim to disapprove of. They disapprove, but they collaborate, to get the best of all the possible worlds…


    • Lovell Says:

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” – Warren Buffet.

      That’s coming from someone who is at least, comparatively, a benign strain of the plutos. How do you propose we should deal with the really nasty, malignant ones like, for example, the Koch brothers or Pete Peterson?

      If, by some unusual turn of events, the lower class decides to fight back, how should they do it? What is a higher form of war?


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        I think Buffet is an expert at looking benign. I remember a few years back, when he obviously gloated at having CNBC cuties go around the world with him in his huge private jet. It was deliciously provocative: he had this glint in his eye, look at what grand daddy can get away with! It’s around that time he said the above. Then he would push two years later for Obamacare. Now he says it has to be scrapped. a real politician.

        One has to get to know the higher ideas. As long as people have no idea how they are warred against, they can’t fight back. Obama (Wealth) Care was, and is, an obvious con job. For example. The arguments to justify NOT doing Medicare for All were also obvious lies, and still are.

        It’s a war of ideas, not just money. Higher war will come from higher ideas. In the USA, it’s relatively easy: look everywhere how things were done, say in 1955, or so.

        To start with, the highest tax rate was around 93%… That, by itself, with no exception, would quickly shrink the Plutos.


    • Lovell Says:

      I would agree that “ideas” should be the battleground of this warfare. But that is assuming that we still have a functioning democracy where the superiority and coherence of an idea, properly vetted, holds sway over bad rotten ones which will then be decided by an informed majority. The recent shutdown showdown demonstrates the dysfunction and illusion of our so-called democracy as you have also shown in your last post “Representation Is No Democracy”.

      Our present harvest of plutocrats do not have the will to extermination; they just simply wanted to rule and have power over us. Afterall, what is a king without his subjects? What is a Czar without the serfs? What is a pharaoh without the slaves?

      What is a modern day Pluto without an endless supply of struggling underclass?

      Their strategy is not to eliminate but to squeeze financially. Build a line, build a wall. Economic marginalization. Just as cruel and barbaric as the way of the Czars and the pharaohs.

      The method to this madness remains the same.


      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Exploitation indeed comes before extermination, and wiser Pluto souls, in medium circumstances, stick with it. The will to extermination comes up in more drastic circumstances (see the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, a weak form of it).


  4. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Alex, Paul: The usage of force is natural. At some point, a static situation is untenable (it could be in any sociological or ecological situation). There will be motion, no matter what. Dynamics need force. Force is violence. It’s as simple as that.


  5. Lovell Says:

    We could most probably win all the battle of ideas against the Plutos but for as long as they maintain their stranglehold on economic and political power, what difference does it make?

    Superior ideas don’t count in a plutocratic world if it won’t protect their self-aggrandizing interests.

    In a way, they are merely creatures of the system – the capitalist system. If plutocracy needs to be trashed, we need a major re-think of capitalism itself.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Lovell: I am against accusing “capitalism”, because we all are capitalists. The plutocratic phenomenon is characterized by a high plutocratic index (a better index than the Gini index for that purpose). Basically an oligrachy controls most of the power.
      In France, people go regularly in the street to protest (or block major roads as they did in Brittany in the last 3 days). That power makes the plutocrats back off. Big time. And it has an effect on all of Europe (other countries take pre-emptive measures so the situation does not get as bad as France).

      So, in Europe, there are very strong anti-plutocratic currents at this point, because of these protests. Those, in turn, make the EU stiffer in its negotiations with the USA.

      Thus things change, but I don’t see why the French should do all the work…


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