Reciprocal Perversity

Reciprocal altruism is a well-known notion. What of reciprocal perversity?

Reciprocal altruism consists in a class of behaviors which are short-term adverse to an animal, yet profitable to others then, while, in the long-term, bringing a profit beyond the initial sacrifices consented.

In reciprocal altruism, overall profit blossoms. Reciprocal perversity brings the opposite effect: tit for tat escalates into Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).

Reciprocal perversity is of the foremost importance. Indeed, when one looks at history, one sees not just a lot of altruism, but a lot of perversity. Civilization is all about industrial strength altruism. A well-functioning civilization is an altruism machine. It can also turn into a perversity machine (think of the Ottoman empire forbidding printing).

Indeed sometimes civilization are devastated by a foreign enemy. Yet most collapse into utter destruction involve perseverance into perversity. Into self-amplifying perversity. The Maya, Moche, and to a great extent, Rome’s the Sassanids’ and the Spanish Visigoths collapses being obvious examples of inner strifes being exploited by a foreign invader (the Islamists in the last three cases).

Large scale, civilizational scale viciousness, has often been in evidence, it is the most dramatic part of history, so often renewed: the Muslim invasion (in Spain), various Mongol attacks and, lately the vicious fascist regimes in Germany, Italy or Russia. China in the Twentieth Century was no walk in the park either. In all these cases mass perversity became the dominant behavior, self-amplifying, devouring the civilization: watch the most capable Roman leaders of the Late Empire being assassinated (Stilicho, Aetius, Boetius, etc.). Consider Qur’an 4; 145:

Hypocrites Are Among Those The Qur’an Condemns To The Fire Surah 4 An-Nisa; Ayah 145

Hypocrites Are Among Those The Qur’an Condemns To The Fire: Surah 4, An-Nisa; Ayah 145

And then, there is the abominable situation we are living through now. Of course. The planet is endowed with the most perverse leadership, or lack thereof, ever. A leadership hell-bent to turn the entire planet into Jurassic Park. Without the animals. Nor the plants. Maybe without much of the plankton. In the next few decades. All the leadership the planet had before, was provided by evolution, which is intelligent and one could even say conscious (as animals are). Yet evolution was not satanic (doing evil deliberately). Doing evil deliberately implies covering that will to hurt. Most of the present leadership of the planet has the effective will to hurt or even destroy, the biosphere as we know it. Instead of practicing reciprocal altruism, our present leaders practice selfish viciousness, to a scale never seen before, since there are men, and they ponder morality. Since there are men, and they ponder morality, has there ever been a greater sin, than the will to destroy everything?

Confronted to such a perversity unique in the history of animality, one can only wonder. Wonder not just about how perversity arises, but how to detect it in the leaders who present themselves, all over, and seduce us with mellifluous chatter.

I do believe that the Dark Side, deliberately called upon, was one of the main architect of human evolution: it helped evolution speed up to physically destroy the less clever hominids. Eating the enemy beats waiting for it to be all discouraged, and fade out on its own.

Admitting the existence of the Dark Side is a key feature of Abrahamism. The religions of Christianism, Islamism, Buddhism and Confucianism criticize fiercely a number of behaviors. However leaders, and practitioners of those moral codes are often in complete violation with them. Such is the problem of hypocrisy, at the core of the main moral systems: their main proponents, to a great extent, lived in exact opposition to what they preached (consider “Saint” Constantine’s murderous activities; Buddha, to some extent, himself detect this deviationism into hurtfulness, against himself and the like, and thereafter, moderated himself).

One of the main engines of perversity is hypocrisy. Uncontrolled perversity and hypocrisy cannot be tolerated in an army. This is why it is so severely criticized in the Qur’an, and graced with “the fire”. (The Quran gives advice on how to detect hypocrites; I will try to improve on that in a future essay, by considering what one could call “neurological volume”.)

The two candidates for the presidency of the USA are plutocrats. It is of the essence to find how likely the depictions they make of their positions are far removed from the truth (hint: more so with the tightly controlled Clinton, watch her eyes controlling what effect she makes on crowds, than with the erratic Trump, who says it, as he feels it).

More generally, one needs to assert the same degree of truthiness, or lack thereof, among leaders and makers of world public opinion (say when we are presented with ecological solutions… which are often the exact opposite of what they are claimed to be… such as when president Obama presented the methanification (“natural gas“) of the USA through fracking as a “bridge fuel”. It is actually an ecological disaster on a planetary scale).

Only when We The People realizes how much we are lied to, will things move in the right direction. Polls show that 2/3 of Americans believe the USA heads in the wrong direction. Still, there the USA heads, because the entire society is entangled with perverse lies, let alone vicious conspiracies (such as multi-billionaire, state supported, hedge funds managers paying fewer taxes than the “nurses and truckers I saw on I-80“, as Hillary Clinton herself belatedly admitted… when Bernie Sanders was breathing down her neck. She may have “forgotten” this statement, since…). 

In the last few weeks of the Nazi Reich, just putting out a white flag brought the death penalty. Average Germans had no choice, but vicious choices. If they tried to surrender the place where they lived to the advancing United Nations armies, they risked their lives and those of their loved ones. Similarly, if they helped the desperate Nazis.

When a society becomes vicious enough, most actors therein, just to survive, have to turn vicious. This is why civilizational collapse proceeds generally through previously unimaginable horrors. Not only victims can turn against each other (as victims in Nazi death chambers would), but the main perpetrators have interest to live no one alive behind, so that vengeance would be impossible. Consider the so-called “Augustus” killing his young relative Caesarion (son of Cleopatra and Augustus great Uncle and adoptive father, Julius Caesar). Consider the utter destruction of Baghdad by the Mongol, Armenian, Frankish, Georgian and Chinese army in 1258 CE (total eradication of the Muslim population, end of Islam with brains, and its “House of Wisdom”). The perpetrators wanted no avenger looming in the future. Committing perverse acts leads to further, greater perversity: such was the main moral trajectory of the Nazis.

Just as the greenhouse effect launched by man feeds on itself, so does perversity always. This is why democracies have to strike their own perpetrators hard. From time to time. The French Republic did well to condemn to death the famous Marshalls (Petain), hero of Verdun, and condemn and execute many others, including ex-Prime Minister (Laval), World War One heroes, and a celebrated writer (Brasillach), for fascism, racism and treason, in 1944-46.

Next time France gets invaded, collaborators may evoke the precedent (of up to 50,000 executions which happened for betrayal of the Republic and, or human rights; the official number, found in De Gaulle’s memoirs, volume 3, is 11,000) to justify greater moderation in their action.

None of this is pie in the sky, something which happened in the past and will never happen again. Quite the exact opposite. The threat form perversity unchained has never been greater. (A small living example is the blossoming, worldwide, of the financial plutocracy engineered by the Clintons, and ever since pushed further by ulterior agents.)

The present technologies we have are completely unsustainable (just contemplate phosphates destroying the seas, insecticides destroying the pollinators, drinkable water running out, greenhouse gases building up, acidic seas, etc.). Sustainably, and limited to the present technologies, the human population would have to be strictly less than one billion. The transition from more than eight billions to less than one, will be rather perverse. The nice solution is to develop more advanced technologies (and, foremost, advanced robotics, which could help considerably with making agriculture more sustainable, say by destroying noxious insects one by one; or thermonuclear fusion, which would allow to conquer the solar system, terminate fossil fuels, and make obnoxious stuff off-Earth).

The perverse solution, the one chosen today, is to let perversity run its course, by electing ever more perverse leadership by perverse individuals, or perverse systems of thought (“Austerity”, Globalization of Plutocracy, Salafism, various hyper-nationalisms). And this is exactly why the two main candidates to the job of president of the USA are so perverse. It is a case of evolutionary adaptation to an increasingly perverse environment.

How could Mutually Assured Destruction, MAD have evolved, biologically? Well, the devil is in the little details that, ultimately, one species, or tribe, or race, gets completely eradicated, and the other, not quite so much. Often this results in opening vast ecological niches to survivors, favoring their descendents, and even further speciation out of their descendancy. Watch nasty little mammals eating morbidly cold dinosaurs’ progeny (not proven, but likely).

Thus MAD is one of the main engines of evolution.

Patrice Ayme’

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15 Responses to “Reciprocal Perversity”

  1. SDM Says:

    What then should be done? How is plutocracy toppled when someone such as Sanders cannot get elected? Trump’s plutocratic bent is now on full display with his tax plan. Eliminate the “death tax” to insure dynasties of wealth.
    Plutocracy has made taxation, even government, a dirty word, an evil to be eliminated. The general population in the USA seems more concerned with celebrity, xenophobic fears, sports, the troops, culture wars – religion, abortion, school prayer, etc), than any effort to promote the common good.
    The plutocratic media has poisoned their minds. Welfare recipients are branded as “takers” and CEOs/bankers are heralded “job creators” while they loot and plunder the economy to ruin. Yet try to explain it to most and they think it would be “un-American” to even revert to the progressive tax plan of 30-50 years ago. They bemoan unions as counter-productive and corrupt and think private enterprise somehow divine. The old gospel of wealth appears to be in full flower.
    That a second great depression was more or less avoided was played into an even greater giveaway to the plutocrats. The bailout went to the criminals and the populace got the same old trickle down swindle. No bankers in handcuffs, just huge bonuses to wall street.
    What will it take for the 99% to wake up? I shudder at the thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Nothing to do, but talk to you, as the Beatles said.
      Understanding has to precede action, and the better the understanding, the better the action. Understanding itself has emotional, topological, glial, and a linear, neuronal, logical components.
      Thus, understanding is a form of action, necessary, prior to action.
      Not a loss of time.
      A built-up of thought.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      The “Death Tax” does not de facto exist. If one has a 5 million dollar farm, it does. If one is the scion of the founder of a foundation, it does not exist.
      The We The People’s mind has been already captured, indeed. The case of Rome shows that this can last 6 centuries, until civilization collapses. Worst: Juvenal had identified the problem clearly. After two centuries.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Your conclusion is excellent. Let’s all shudder. Las time there was great progress was 1945: the GIs had to be seduced. After all, they were armed, physically and spiritually. The time before that was the Great Depression.
      What we have now is a slow boiling of the frogs, while they watch sports on TV.
      Only a good nuclear war would wake them up, it seems.
      Let’s shudder…


  2. dominique deux Says:

    You may have noticed that the UK is under the jackboot of two extremely nasty billionnaires, Arron Banks and Rupert Murdoch, ruling through stooges. At least Clinton and Trump are going through the motions of securing a vote on their names.


  3. USA As A Police State | Patrice Ayme's Thoughts Says:

    […] Morality Without Intelligence Makes As Much Sense As Will Without Mind. Intelligence Is At The Core Of Humanism. « Reciprocal Perversity […]


  4. Kevin Berger Says:

    (Pourquoi cet ancien croyant se retourne-t-il contre sa foi, d’ailleurs? Prise de conscience? Chèques qui n’arrivent plus? Positionnement vis-à-vis du FN?)


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Tres interessant.
      Exactly what I have been saying for a very long time. The USA practices mercantilism on steroids. Especially under Obama. Including using the US “judicial” system, to inflict plutocracy. Say when vulture funds are found right, by a Federal judge in New York, and a sovereign state such as Argentina, wrong.
      Lelouche says; “US extra-territorial decisons cost more than ten billion Euros to French companies”. That has got to be a joke, no? BNP, a French banks had to pay US $ TEN BILLION to the US Tresury alone. BNP’s crime? Some actiites in Syudan which were no criome for EUROOEAN LAW.
      French companies were found guilty of corruption in Indonesia.

      This, from the WORLD’s MOST CORRUPT socio-economuc system: US politicians are for sale, everybody can see it. This site has documented thoroughly.
      Take ex=Senator Daschle, a long standing “democrat” from some middle west state. He was in charge of ‘health care reform’ for years. He lost re-election. Immediately became a lobbyist for the health care ‘industry’, making more than ten millions to start with. He is still active.

      If a politician, in Blablaistan gets ten million dollars, the USA says: he is corrupt. If it’s a US politician, they say: he is a genius. A free marketeer. Obvioulsy the best. Fit to rule the world…


      • Kevin Berger Says:

        IMHO, and that’s worth only that, the USA, and the Anglo world in general, are not (from) the “single civilization” you talk about. IE, they are not Nations “practic(ing) mercantilism on steroids”, but “mercantilism on steroids” nested into Nations, or, worse, masquerading as Nations, and using the same as means to their mercantile ends (the USA may be a “police State”, but they are also a police non-State, with a maze of jurisdiction, local power, for profit law enforcement, society-sanctioned use of public and/or private force to enforce private interests, organized crime as a way of governance, and all the mindset that goes along).

        The “logical conclusion” of your own exposés I come up with is that their system is something else, partly or entirely, alien from the “civilization” continuum you see stemming from the Romans and Franks onward. The rest of “West”may think we are all one, because of their normative power (formal, as per the Lellouche thingie above, or, more importantly, through their cultural exports that shape every other thing), but they are something distinct, possibly closer to pre-Enlightment, pre-Nation-States Europe, the outlier, the anomaly that captures the norm through the chances of History – a cancer-like process, ultimately. You talk about “civilization”; the forces symbolized by the Wall Street/City “fluid” empire is nothing is not a counter-civilization. Your plutos have won since at least 200 years, since the failure of the French Revolution, since the anglo civilization, that cancerous outgrowth, won against the one you talk about. There is no healing back from that.


  5. hazxan Says:

    Mass perversity seems to be a natural stage of civilisations, once their initial momentum has been absorbed by an elite.


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Yes. Polybius did not put it that way exactly, 2140 years ago. But he should have (he had seven stages of society, several of them, not nice, like tyranny). Therein the famous passage of Polybius:


    • pshakkottai Says:

      Hindu civilization seems to have survived onslaught of Abrahamic religions and is waking up although beaten down very strongly. There is no need to say that all civilizations decay inevitably. The only civilization that is basically common law with a sprinkling of gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon and philosophies that inquire into “ what is human?” With no organized religion. All questions are fair game to Hinduism, no conflicts between Science, religion, psychology, medicine, astronomy, grammar….rituals, dancing and so on.


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