Violating truth can’t bring good, except when there is no hope. Denying the reality, the inevitability of violence, the essence of Homo, is, at best, a manipulation, at worst the death of any hope of improving matters significantly.

Let me try to explain the pitfall of claiming that violence will stop, if we just stop thinking about it. Quite the opposite.

We are witnessing the greatest violence against the biosphere in 66 million years. And we are culprit, down to baby diapers and poisonous elements in electric batteries. How did we come to that?

Violence actually characterizes the genus Homo’s activities. Turning a wild planet into one’s own garden… required some considerable violence in one’s gardening….

One must cultivate one’s garden”, said Voltaire, naively enough (until one realizes he was Louis XV’s boyfriend… at which point his advice takes a sinister, self-serving aspect, contemplate his castle, his private hotel on the Seine, facing Notre Dame). Diabolical enough an advice, my dear Voltaire: we are cultivating the garden to death. Tricky herbicides such as glyphosate, used on much of the planet, don’t just kill herbs, they kill soils, for ever, and even the plants malefic scientists have engineered to resist them will ultimately die from impoverished soil.


Sade Was A Genius, And A Saint, Sartre Was A Fool, And A Collabo: 

Sade, of course, spent most of his life in prison, sent there first by Louis XVI’s monarchy and then Napoleon’s tyranny… meanwhile saving thousands during the Revolution. Sade saved even his most vicious personal enemy’s life during the Revolution, because he had thought in depth about the nature of human violence, and thus, knew how to resist it. 

Jean-Paul Sartre was viewed by many, or, at least, the French, as a master thinker. He didn’t spend one day in prison: the authorities always viewed him as their friend, and he was. De Gaulle, idiotically enough said, speaking of Sartre:”One doesn’t jail Voltaire!” Hey, mon general, precisely, one imprisons Voltaire! Sartre was not jailed, precisely because he was a collabo….

Sartre wrote:

« La violence, sous quelque forme qu’elle se manifeste, est un échec. »

(“Violence, in whatever form it manifests itself, is a failure.”) This is viewed as one of Sartre’s master ideas… Master thinkers should utter master ideas they created themselves. Nevermind that, wherever we look at the planet, we see invaders who successfully colonized. Even in Greenland, the present inhabitants annihilated the preceding ones… who used to trade with the Vikings, all the way to extreme North Greenland (so the present “native” Greenlanders” replaced in the last 6 centuries both types of preceding inhabitants…)  It goes without saying that colonization, and especially invasion, is pretty violent…

Amusingly, this astoundingly stupid statement of Sartre is not original, being a 2,000 years old leitmotif of Christianism. One could even view the idea of violence as failure as the master idea of christianism: god is crucified, because god doesn’t want to use violence against His persecutors. So we see, just here, that Sartre, and his admirers, far from being revolutionary, are just plain old Christian, serving us the same old same old, without super hero god attached.

An Internet outlet called Cohérence loved Sartre do-goodism and tweeted it:

“Violence, in whatever form it manifests itself, is a failure.”

Jacques Attali , a friend of mine, and a famous adviser to many a major statesman and institutions in Europe sharply criticized the notion:  “Ah? Et la résistance contre les nazis, ce fut un échec ? Il est vrai que Jean-Paul Sartre fut largement absent de ce combat là. Quoiqu’en disent ses thuriféraires.” (Ah? And the resistance against the Nazis was a failure, was it a failure? It’s true that Sartre was mostly absent from that fight. Whatever his sycophants say.”

To kill Nazism, one killed 5.5 million Nazi soldiers, in the Wehrmacht alone. Helpers, not just in Gestapo, Polizei, but also from millions of collaborating troop also had to be killed with the entire German economy, which was so militarized Nazis had to steal most French output.

Humanity is all about violence. Hydroelectricity is generally viewed as “green”, “sustainable” power. In truth it causes enormous, hyper violent damage on the planet hydraulics. Contemplate the picture above. For scale, the dam wall is 221 meters tall (726’). It can release an astounding 11,000 tons of water, per second… More massive than the Eiffel tower… at a speed of 70 meters per second (200 kilometer an hour).

Here, have it in French, Sartre: La réussite, de quelque manière qu’elle se manifeste, est une forme de violence à l’égard de certaines formes pré-existantes. Refuser la violence sous toutes ses formes, c’est refuser l’humanité. Et donc pourquoi les dictatures demandent des moutons, pour achever leur inhumanité. Shortened translation: Success, however its nature, is violence against pre-existing forms. To reject violence under all and any form, it’s to reject humanity. 


Denying Violence Exists, is enabling violence:

Some will say that believing violence to always be a failure is a wish, if we all believe in it, it would come true. No harm done, let hope rule the minds.

The problem with that approach is that it equates to saying that, if we should hope to run head first in a brick wall, that will not hurt, if we all believe this.

And what brick wall is that? Homo is both sheep and wolf. The wolves eat the sheep. And if there are only sheep, the wolves will arise. [1] Human genetics and epigenetics, human ethology, is the wall of reality. The very motivating principle of Homo is not curiosity, which compels the eye, but violence, which enables us to move. To go down from the tree and venture into the savannah an ape is not made for, was a violence against nature, the ape, the order of things. It took more than curiosity, it took the infliction of force… and that is exactly the definition of violence.

The best and most human progress Homo has made in the last 5 million years, among its different species, has been propped by the same curiosity enabled by violence. Five million years, 200,000 generations is plenty of time to enshrine behaviors genetically. Moreover, as Homo was a murdering success during those 200,000 generations, physically eliminating the Untermenschen, the sous-hommes, the low lives, the genetic pressure was intense: types which were not curious or violent enough were eliminated.

The end result is a very curious and very violent species.

I have walked dozens of miles, deep in dessicated canyons among the corpses of millennial trees… All the water having long been sent to Los Angeles by elaborate tunnels hundreds of miles long through towering ranges… Yes, the most violent species which ever was. Violence, of course doesn’t have to mean vicious. Unfortunately it often does.


Can’t stop to the parents? Punish the child: seen and personally experienced in Spring 2019:

I had an excellent example in my personal life in the last two months: we presented our concerns about toxic chemicals, and other carcinogenic substances, and microplastics to the relevant administration. We were worried that the lives of hundreds of small children in two different elementary schools (starting in pre K) might be threatened, and exactly why. We reviewed thousands of pages of primary scientific and engineering and distilled that down to 100 pages or so. We offered non-toxic, or mitigating alternatives.

Instead of having a dialogue about our concerns, the relevant administration informed us that if we spoke of this with anyone, including trustees, our daughter, nine year old, would be thrown out of school, immediately. And so she was.

I have way higher moral standards than that: if the nine year children of Goebbels or the most vicious jihadist attended school, I would kindly teach them… Maybe I would teach sternly, but I would teach them… and never punish them for the acts of their parents. But here I was confronted with young punks in charge of a school, and, because they dine with Bill Gates, Macron and their ilk, all they need to know is which way money is flowing, and that we were in the way, making us most maleficent, in their greedy eyes of the ultimately connected.

Interestingly, as we resisted the infamy of the conspiring vicious greedsters, increasingly violent methods were used by those who wanted to submit us. Outrageous lies, in print… False accusations of violence, were instigators turned perpetrators were presented as victims, etc.


Gandhi was naive about violence. The price has been heavy, worse is to come, potentially:

At that point, some will brandish Gandhi, often presented, ironically enough, as the epitome of non-violence. Gandhi “non-violence” was just violence by other means, and it worked because the British would have self-defeated by using greater violence in India. While Gandhi pressed the Indian Congress to not declare war to his friend Hitler, in 1939, the British Viceroy, Lord Linlithgow, declared India’s entry into the World War without consulting prominent Indian Congress leaders who were just elected in previous elections.

Gandhi launched a movement against fighting the Nazis, although the latter’s atrocities had become blatant. In 1942, him and 60,000 of his followers were imprisoned for the duration (Gandhi was freed in 1944 for ill health). Meanwhile, the Muslim institutions in India enthusiastically supported the British war effort. Muslims constituted 40% of the huge Indian 2.5 million men army. That and the Indian armament industry stopped the Imperial Japanese drive into South Asia.

Thus India properly applied violence during WWII, in a way that advanced civilization… however Gandhi’s hypocritical pro-Nazism fed the split with the Muslims which led to civil war and the creation of Pakistan (and its potential nuclear Armageddon). [2]


To be human is to be violent

Even if it’s one plastic diaper at a time, or one load of detergent laden wash at a time, or one South Asia trip, from the other side of the planet, at a time… Tourism, with present polluting technology, is still violence, as far as the biosphere is concerned.

Violence is all over, it’s a psychological attractor. Consider the death penalty: it was excusable when jails were not very much available (say 2,000 years ago). However, nowadays, life imprisonment is much more effective. Yet the USA, for example still kills (and not just Bin Laden, who was silenced, even more than Saddam Hussein…)

By advertizing that some acts should be punished by death of the perpetrator, society promotes the idea that killing is sometimes best, the crucial belief murderers need to murder in the first place.


So, what to do?

Face the music, the music of Homo. Understand that intelligence is violence, understand that some violence is good to have (say, to crush the Nazis). And that other forms of violence have to be absolutely avoided. When millions of protesters went into Hong Kong’s streets, they were violent, the government whined. Right. But it was even more violent to decide to send suspects to be judged by the other system, a violation of the spirit of the accord of re-integration of Hong Kong into the PRC… The violence of the protesters was arguably greater, just as the violence of opposition to Nazism was, by some measures, greater than the violence of the Nazis. The same holds for Hiroshima and Nagasaki: violent. sure, but two orders of magnitude less than what the Japanese military imposed on the rest of the world.

The calculus of violence optimizes it, from very careful studying, and thinking… and it’s crucial to determine for which ultimate aims. Optimal calculus of violence what humanity, at its best, does. Berating violence, to the point of ignoring it, is a cop-out, a strategy to avoid the most important debates. Violence is unavoidable, in any case. And, looked at it the right way, we are living in the most violent times. Ever. [3]

Patrice Ayme



[1] In some species of fish, when there are only females left, some turn into males, and even super-males. Humans are the same; with too many human sheep around, some will turn into wolves… So it is, from deep seated evolutionary safeguards… 


[2] Gandhi’s hypocritical pseudo-pacifism is reminiscent of the US Congress similar posing at the time.


[3] Plutocratic sycophants such as Pinker have claimed we lived in the best of all possible times. Their ignorance of the ultimate violence of biosphere destruction is not just immoral, it’s going to turn Armageddon into reality, pretty soon.


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