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Civilized Man's Eight Deadly Sins

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"...Miközben az emberiség az őt körülvevő természetet vandál módon pusztítja, saját magát is ökológiai katasztrófákkal fenyegeti. Ha már a gazdasági vonzatait is érzi, talán elismeri hibáit, de akkor valószínűleg már túl késő lesz. De arra legalább rá fog jönni, hogy ez a barbár folyamat az ő lelkében micsoda károkat okozott. A természettől való általános, egyre fokozódó elidegenedés nagymértékben okolható a civilizált emberiség esztétikai és etikai eldurvulásáért. A felnövekvő generáció hogyan tanulná meg bárminek is a tiszteletét, ha maga körül csak emberkéz alkotta környezetet talál...? A nagyvárosokban még a csillagos eget is elrejtik előle a toronyházak és a légszennyeződés."

80 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1973

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About the author

Konrad Lorenz

135 books186 followers
Konrad Zacharias Lorenz was an Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist. He shared the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Nikolaas Tinbergen and Karl von Frisch. He is often regarded as one of the founders of modern ethology, developing an approach that began with an earlier generation, including his teacher Oskar Heinroth.
Lorenz studied instinctive behavior in animals, especially in greylag geese and jackdaws. Working with geese, he investigated the principle of imprinting, the process by which some nidifugous birds (i.e. birds that leave their nest early) bond instinctively with the first moving object that they see within the first hours of hatching. Although Lorenz did not discover the topic, he became widely known for his descriptions of imprinting as an instinctive bond. In 1936 he met Dutch biologist Nikolaas Tinbergen, and the two collaborated in developing ethology as a separate sub-discipline of biology. A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Lorenz as the 65th most cited scholar of the 20th century in the technical psychology journals, introductory psychology textbooks, and survey responses.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 49 reviews
Profile Image for Cărăşălu.
239 reviews71 followers
January 19, 2013
Lorenz is spot-on regarding the ”sins” of the civilized man: overpopulation, devastation of environment, the man's race against himself, the break with tradition, emotional entropy, indoctrinability, genetic decay and nuclear weapons. They are all linked with each other and most of the problems termed under the famous label "the crisis of the modern world" can be probably traced to one of the "sins" identified by Lorenz. Although the book is very short and readable, I found the author's continuous emphasis of the importance of "phylogenetic factors". It is nonetheless understandable as he is not a sociologist or psychologist, but a biologist-ethologist and it is natural for him to support his views with arguments from his field of expertise. Still, a layman like me could only wish that Lorenz paid at least just as much atention to other factors. As it is, the book is by no means a satisfying account of the "eight sins", and must be correlated with more elaborate views on the topic from the fields of political, economical and social sciences. By this, I certainly don't mean to understate Lorenz's contribution. On the contrary, the perspective of his views is rather interesting and insightful, and he puts forward arguments that could have been hardly produced by specialists from other fields.
Profile Image for Attila Szabo.
26 reviews2 followers
September 28, 2022
The author lists the 8 deadly sins which he thinks contributes to the fall of the humankind.

- Overpopulation
- Crimes against nature
- Obsessive technological development
- Emotional atrophy
- Genetic decay
- Ruptured traditions,
- Indoctrination / propaganda
- Nuclear weaponry.

The author brings some examples from the etology and biology to explain the reasons behind the sins.

I missed the actionable parts from the book, while the reflection on the current or past situation is informative I'm also looking for answers on what to do and how to prevent the given "sin".

The original book was issued in 1974 since then I'm pretty sure the list can be extended further.

Another thing about the book is that some opinions are pretty biased and representing right wing ideas. So try to read it with this in your mind.

Short and informative read, I took serval thoughts from it which I'd like to understand further.

If you would like to get a summarized version then you can find one here https://web.archive.org/web/202209280...
Profile Image for Jovi Ene.
Author 1 book194 followers
February 9, 2018
Laureat al Premiul Nobel pentru Fiziologie/Medicină, Konrad Lorenz este unul dintre fondatorii etologiei moderne - știința care se ocupă de studiul comportamentului animalelor și oamenilor.
Despre aceste comportamente și felul în care ele pot influența lumea este vorba și acest eseu, în care el identifică și analizează opt păcate ale omenirii, care pot determina și dispariția ei. Printre ele, suprapopularea, distrugerea naturii, pierderea tradițiilor, conflictele între generații sau bombele nucleare. Chiar dacă discursul său este pe alocuri vădit anti-capitalist și cartea este publicată inițial în 1973, semnalul de alarmă a rămas același, iar spusele lui, într-un limbaj care îmbină erudiția și limbajul greoi al specialistului cu simplitatea și sinceritatea, au rămas de actualitate.
Profile Image for Lea.
44 reviews42 followers
February 13, 2013
This book, won the Nobel-prize in 1973, the same year as it was written, has some really interesting and inspiring points. It critizises modern society and human behaviour, which still is present in society today. It is also written in a simple language which makes it idealy suited for idealistic and critical thinking adolescents, but can be read by everyone.

However many of the scientific facts in this book are outdated and his (right-wing) political views are represented very strongly.

Profile Image for Joseph.
350 reviews9 followers
January 21, 2014
This book, while it contains some good ideas, does not read as any kind of well thought out and planned scientific treatise, but rather a collection of personal musings on the state of the world at the time (1973). It was easy to read and agreeable, but I was expecting more profound insights from this thinker, which I found lacking in this work. Most of the arguments are based on personal opinion rather than any concrete facts, and while I agree with much of the sentiment, especially regarding the dehumanization of man in civilized society, I did not walk away with any new profound understanding of where we were or where we are going. I would not recommend this as the first book to read by Lorenz.
Profile Image for Irini Gergianaki.
449 reviews23 followers
February 26, 2021
Μεστός, σαφής, στρωτός λόγος. Εξαιρετικό δοκίμιο, βαθυστόχαστο αλλά γραμμένο απλά.
Profile Image for Bob Nichols.
889 reviews292 followers
June 19, 2019
Lorenz frames his eight deadly sins argument in the following way: Those “structures and functions” that are adaptive are normal. Behaviors (functions performed by structures?) that either underperform or overperform are “disorders” that he characterizes as pathological. His approach as an ethologist is to ask first, what is the “normal function” of a system and, if “disturbed,” whether it has been caused by an over- or underfunction as part of a system.” These deviations from the adaptive norm are “sins.”

Thus, normal sexual reproductive behavior becomes abnormal when it increases relatively unchecked. Overpopulation eats up space, crowds individuals and “elicits aggression.” More people results in environmental degradation. Finding new ways to satisfy needs via technological advance consumes us and robs us of “the genuinely human activity of reflection.” Life becomes too easy; we move from necessity to overindulgence and “lose the ability to experience a joy that is only attainable through surmounting serious obstacles.” Boredom is the result. Norms of social behavior, based on an innate sense of justice, fall by the wayside. This tendency to overindulge, this chasing the transitory pleasures of indulgence, creates an “infantilism” that he calls (for some reason), “genetic decay.” Younger generations no longer have respect for the wisdom of the elders. Youngsters want to self-indulge; the elders want them to hold back. Technological advances that facilitate communication is used now to indoctrinate and manipulate the masses. The last sin takes the normal need to advance and defend one’s interests but now gives need nuclear weapons to advance one’s capacity either to get or to defend.

Lorenz blames these “sins” in large part on the attitude that denies biology’s role and on an attachment that says, instead, that we are environmentally determined. (1) “Man has not fewer but more genuinely instinctive impulses than any other animal,” he states. (2) This is about biological tendencies, not determinism. These emotional impulses are neither good nor bad per se. Rather, it is when they are either too much (or too little) vis-à-vis a situation that determines whether they are adaptive or abnormal. (3) By being aware of these impulses, we are, Lorenz believes, able to exert oversight of their expression.

Style-wise, the book was uneven. It was lay-friendly for the most part but technically obscure in other parts. Here and there, particularly in his discussion of the generational divide, Lorenz comes across as a fuddy-duddy, and indoctrination has always been a problem, though the scale is different now. Substantively, I like his normal-abnormal characterization of impulses but I think he underestimates the force of environmental pressures and I wonder if he does not misframe his argument as a result. If we pursue our natural impulses to reproduce, then we are per Malthus creating a population of need-seeking beings which then, functioning now as an emergent phenomenon, forces everyone to compete in increasingly aggressive ways. Our biology still plays out, but now it’s activated by external situations, as opposed to being driven solely from the inside. And this all proceeds in a logical sequence that has a “doom” quality about it, making Lorenz’s hope for addressing these sins with more normalized behavior futile.

(1) “The process of dehumanization discussed in Chapters 2-8 give support to the pseudodemocratic doctrine which maintains that the social and moral behavior of man is in no way determined by the phylogenetically evolved organization of his nervous system and of his sense organs but, rather, that this behavior is determined solely by the ‘conditioning’ to which, in the course of his ontogenesis, he is exposed by his particular cultural environment.”

(2) “Words like hate, love, friendship, anger, loyalty, affection, mistrust, trust, and so on, all signify states corresponding with the propensity to quite specific behavior patterns, in a way no different from the terms applied in scientific behavior research, such as aggressivity, ranking-order drive, territoriality, and termini connected with ‘mood…’”

(3) “Too much love spoils countless promising children, too much loyalty, raised to an absolute, has had appalling consequences.”
Profile Image for Manuel Alfonseca.
Author 73 books148 followers
February 28, 2020
ESPAÑOL: Me gustó el capítulo sobre "Decadencia Genética", donde Lorenz dice cosas bastante parecidas a las que digo yo en mi libro "El Quinto Nivel de la Evolución".

Es curioso cómo Richard Dawkins, Konrad Lorenz, Theodosius Dobzhansky y yo llegamos en los años setenta a conclusiones bastante parecidas sobre la aplicación de la selección natural y la evolución al desarrollo cultural, aunque sea Dawkins quien ha quedado como inventor de la Memética, pues fue él quien ideó esa palabra. Se ve que el contenido de esa idea estaba en el aire, y se nos ocurrió a varias personas casi simultáneamente.

Pero el mejor capítulo es el que habla de "Formación Indoctrinada", refiriéndose principalmente a la ciencia. Aunque él atacaba principalmente el Conductismo, algunas de las cosas que dice al respecto se pueden aplicar hoy sin más a la ideología de género, esa aberración científica que, como dice Lorenz:

La formación indoctrinada surte efectos verdaderamente satánicos cuando grandes multitudes, continentes enteros e incluso, quizá, toda la Humanidad aúnan sus fuerzas para incurrir en una sola creencia errónea y malévola.

ENGLISH: I liked the chapter on "Genetic Decay," where Lorenz says things quite similar to what I say in my book "The Fifth Level of Evolution."

It is curious how Richard Dawkins, Konrad Lorenz, Theodosius Dobzhansky and I arrived in the seventies to quite similar conclusions about the application of natural selection and evolution to cultural development, although Dawkins is now considered the inventor of Memetics, as it was he who devised that word. But the content of that idea was in the air, so several people came up with it almost simultaneously.

But the best chapter is the one about "Indoctrinability", referring mainly to science. Although he primarily attacked Behaviorism, some of the things he says about it can be applied today to gender ideology, that scientific aberration that, as Lorenz says:

But indoctrination begins to have satanic effects only when it unites vast human conglomerates, whole continents, even the whole of humanity in a single, or erroneous, evil creed.
Profile Image for Niki.
36 reviews7 followers
April 6, 2023
Hazudnék, ha azt állítanám, hogy mindent egyformán megértettem ebből a tudományos értekezésből. Ugyanis egyértelmű tömörsége és átláthatósága ellenére meglehetősen sűrű és összetett gondolatfolyamokkal dolgozik. Felfogásbeli hiányosságaim tudatában mégsem voltam képes „pusztán” 4 csillagot adni rá azon egyszerű oknál fogva, hogy a lényegi üzenetét nem lehet NEM kihámozni a hosszú sorokból. És ez az üzenet fontosabb és aktuálisabb nem is lehetne a 21. században, hiába íródott ötven évvel (!) ezelőtt: az emberi lélek és szellem fizikai világunkban felháborítóan behatárolt érvényesülési körére napról napra egyre baljósabb árnyék vetül, amely a feledés teljes homályával fenyeget. Ez pedig – noha az újdonság erejével nem hatott rám – még mindig nagyon érzékenyen érint, ami biztosan nem fog változni az előrelátható jövőben. Addig nem, amíg a bolygónk népessége erre a kollektív sorsra kárhoztatja magát a szűklátókörűsége miatt.
Profile Image for Old Man Aries.
573 reviews29 followers
August 1, 2012
Ho già parlato di Konrad Lorenz su queste pagine: una lettura fondamentale per chi abbia interesse nell’etologia, sia essa animale o umana.
Ed è proprio quest’ultima l’argomento centrale di questo libro, un breve ma completo saggio che si concentra su otto aspetti della civiltà così come la conosciamo che ne potrebbero causare (più o meno velocemente) l’annientamento.
Non si tratta di un libro “catastrofico” o allarmista, ma indubbiamente pone l’accento su vari aspetti che a 35 anni di distanza da quand’è stato scritto risultano ancora inquietantemente attuali.
Interessante, tra l’altro, il fatto che uno di questi elementi (ovvero la riduzione dello spazio vitale causata dalla sovrappopolazione) venga poi ripreso in un altro libro assolutamente da leggere quale “Lo zoo umano” di Desmond Morris.
Si tratta di un libro veloce da leggere che deve per forza far nascere qualche riflessione.
Profile Image for Ferhat Elmas.
635 reviews6 followers
September 25, 2022
I wish young generations would read this.

This is a very rare book and a nice surprising find for me, heard in a hacker news thread at first. It is a very short but also very dense with invaluable ideas, clearly way ahead of its time, luckily, at the same time, doesn't commit to the same sin it describes and gives well-deserved respect to previous research and builds on top of giants (see rich references, I have huge respect for people mentioning their teachers), very liberal and rational like a scout in terms of equality in people, science, etc. by separating what is seemed and what it really is.

I will definitely continue reading other books of the author.
March 22, 2021
A könyv az elmúlt közel 50 évben nem sokat vesztett aktualitásából. Egyedül a nyolcadik bűn, az atombomba fenyegetése tűnik kevésbé fajsúlyosnak ma, mint a hidegháború derekán, ezt a szerző is a legkönnyebben közömbösíthető bűnnek tartja. A többi 7 esetében nyugaton (de egyre inkább keleten is) a helyzet változatlan.
Profile Image for Bioteo.
199 reviews32 followers
August 19, 2017
Ci possono essere due spiegazioni per un libro piccolo e di poche pagine come questo. O l'autore aveva poco o nulla da dire oppure aveva troppo da dire! Sicuramente in questo caso si tratta della seconda spiegazione. In questo capolavoro il padre dell'etologia, premio Nobel per la medicina, analizza con fredda lucidità la situazione della nostra società evidenziando le innumerevoli criticità che potrebbero portarci al collasso. In un mondo in cui si crede che l'istinto umano debba essere controllato e gestito dalla cultura Lorenz sottolinea che la maggior parte dei sentimenti che proviamo e lo spirito altruistico derivano proprio dalla nostra filogenesi e non dall'apprendimento. Forse proprio l'istinto ci salverà di fronte ad un sistema economico pseudo-democratico che sta deteriorando i nostri sentimenti, le nostre tradizioni e soprattutto la nostra umanità. "Viviamo in un'epoca in cui è propio il naturalista che riesce a vedere più chiaramente certi pericoli. Spetta dunque a lui predicare"
Profile Image for Igor Tsinman.
32 reviews34 followers
June 15, 2012
Конрад Лоренц - австрийский учёный, лауреат Нобелевской премии по физиологии и медицине за 1973 год — основоположник этологии.

Книга отличная (!) - написана просто и убедительно. Я прочел "Восемь смертных грехов цивилизованного человечества" буквально за один вечер.

Вот список вопросов, которые поднимает Лоренц:
Глава 1. Структурные свойства и нарушения функций живых систем.
Глава 2. Перенаселение.
Глава 3. Опустошение жизненного пространства.
Глава 4. Бег наперегонки с самим собой.
Глава 5. Тепловая смерть чувства.
Глава 6. Генетическое вырождение.
Глава 7. Разрыв с традицией.
Глава 8. Индоктринируемость.
Глава 9. Ядерное оружие.
Лоренц отлично умеет формулировать вопросы, приводит хорошие и яркие примеры, плавно подводит читателя к выводу ... иногда неожиданному.

Читать онлайн
Profile Image for Petra.
54 reviews7 followers
December 9, 2016
Pohľad etológa (a nositeľa Nobelovej ceny za fyziológiu alebo medicínu) na západnú civilizáciu a modernú spoločnosť. Veľmi pesimistický a kritický pohľad. Aj keď čitateľ nemusí súhlasiť so všetkými myšlienkami, ktoré autor napísal v roku 1973, určite ho prinútia zamyslieť sa. A to by malo byť podľa mňa cieľom každej dobrej knihy.

"Rostoucí neochota snášet strasti spolu se sníženou lákavostí slasti má za na následek, že lidé ztrácejí schopnosti vkládat nepříjemnou práci do díla, které slibuje slast až někdy v budoucnosti. Proto se setkáváme s netrpělivým požadavkem okamžitého uspokojení všech klíčících přání. Naneštěstí je tato touha všemi způsoby podporovávana výrobci a obchodními podniky..."
Profile Image for Ivana Futrikaničová.
168 reviews14 followers
December 22, 2018
Páči sa mi že knižka má skutočný nadhľad a veľa známych neblahých fenoménov (ochladnutie citov, opovrhovanie staršími, ekológia...) vedela pomenovať z iného uhlu, resp. Ich prepojila s nečakanými príčinami. Autor je biológ a je to cítiť, čo mi miestami vadilo: pri všetkom sa odvolával na naše prastaré kromanonske korene a genetickú výbavu. Ale prave tento pohľad bol občas prekvapivý a svieži. Miestami to zachádzalo do moralizovania, že všetko speje k úpadku a ľudstvo je na tom stále horšie... je to len typické plávanie nad skatenostou súčasnosti, aké raz za čas vydá každý vzdelanec svojej doby alebo sú naozaj jeho predpovede reálne? To už si musíte spraviť názor sami...
Profile Image for Rebecca Mari-Mohl.
77 reviews2 followers
October 16, 2019
Asta e din ciclul "cărțile te fac neprost". :)) Konrad Lorenz nu doar scrie ci ne servește o doză crescută de educație, cultură și știință.

Senzația pe care eu o am după ce parcurg o carte din asta este că brusc sunt mai deșteaptă. :)) Adevărat că limbajul este unul de specialitate, destul de greu de urmărit, dar da, e altceva. Culmea, scrisă prin '70, atât de actuală. Viziunea lui asupra viitorului cu aplicabilitate metronomică... Asta face știința și reprezentanții ei. Nu dau greș nici măcar în anticipații. ;)

Recomand autorul cu orice fel de scriere/lucrare a sa. Revoluționar. :)
Profile Image for Cristina Turcanu.
41 reviews5 followers
December 29, 2019
,,Una din cele mai rele consecințe ale agitației sau poate ale fricii care produce nemijlocit agitație e incapacitatea oamenilor moderni de a sta fie și numai un timp scurt singuri cu ei înșiși. Ei evită orice posibilitate de autoreflecție
și meditație cu o consecvență plină de frică, de parcă s-ar teme ca nu cumva reflecțiile sa-i pună în fața unui autoportret înfiorător, asemănător cu cel pe care Oscar Wilde îl descrie în clasicul său roman de groază The Picture of Dorian Gray.,,
Profile Image for Sergey.
143 reviews13 followers
October 24, 2012
Поразительно, как за 20-30 лет поменялся и сам мир, и его восприятие. Хотя не исключено, что старые проблемы (например, тот же молодежный бунт) вернутся в новом качестве. А может именно они привели к возникновению новых феноменов нашего времени - того же слияния поколений в социальной и профессиональной сфере?
Profile Image for Petra.
25 reviews4 followers
February 17, 2017
Relativně krátká kniha od zakladatele etologie a nositele Nobelovy ceny za fyziologii a medicínu - Konrada Lorenze. Pojednání vznikla za studené války a jsou to úvahy hodně kritické a pesimistické k naší společnosti. Rozhodně vybízí k zamyšlení a nepochybuji, že z části je stále aktuální. Doporučila bych všem.
Profile Image for Alyona.
69 reviews
February 8, 2017
Интересно и есть над чем поразмышлять: с чем-то поспорить, а с чем-то и согласиться. Удивительно, что описанные "грехи" с годами не только не теряют своей актуальности, но довольно стабильно остаются с человечеством... Возможно даже растут, но тут уж надо смотреть статистику:)
126 reviews1 follower
September 27, 2017
Грустно, но поучительно видеть, что многие вещи, которые так бесят сегодня, были очевидны еще в семидесятых.
Profile Image for Alexandru.
24 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2020
Konrad Lorenz reușeste să surprindă destul de bine probleme cu care omenirea se confruntă și care sunt într-o oarecare măsură așa cum le-a prezis acesta acum mai bine de 50 de ani când a publicat cartea. Faptul că în ciuda surselor de informare mult reduse față de cele pe care le avem noi reușește să observe caracterul de dezvoltare al Statelor Unite ale Americii dar totodată al Europei arată că probleme de fond cu care ne confruntăm își au începutul mult mai devreme decât credeam și că va dura mult timp să le rezolvăm (dacă vom decide vreoadată să facem asta).
Fiind om de știință limbajul pe care îl folosește este elocvent și au fost câteva cuvinte care spre rușinea mea, a trebuit să le caut pentru a înțelege mai bine ideea transmisă. Ceea ce Lorenz subliniează de câteva ori este că aceste probleme sunt interconectate și nu pot fi rezolvate luate individual. Cartea nu este foarte stufoasă, fiind mai degrabă un punct de plecare pentru înțelegerea acestor probleme decât o analiză profundă, bazată pe date

Cele opt procese discutate sunt:
1. Suprapopularea Pământului
2. Pustiirea spațiului vital natural
3. Întrecerea omenirii cu sine însăși
4. Dispariția tuturor sentimentelor
5. Decăderea genetică
6. Sfărâmarea tradiției
7. Creșterea receptivității omenirii la fenomenul de îndoctrinare
8. Cursa înarmării nucleare
111 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2023
Konrad Lorenz created a list of the eight most important issues in the world and sent them to his friend. His friend was so impressed that he insisted Lorenz should publish the list. It was too good to be kept for themselves. The world needed this. So, reluctantly, Lorenz decided to humour the old fart and published this book. According to the author, that's how the book came to be.

If this sounds like a rant one would have after enjoying some beverages with one's friends, then you shouldn't be surprised that this is exactly what the book reads like. There's the list of sins and for every sin there are 5 pages of vague reasoning. This isn't meant to be an argumentative essay because the arguments are mostly "Am I wrong? No. OK. This is also true, trust me." and it is not meant to be an essay, but rather a rant. When you have a rant, you don't provide solutions - and Lorenz doesn't bother with that.

Could not finish.
Profile Image for Ioana.
153 reviews
November 23, 2019
1973, Our incredible collective stupidity

Hands down, the Romanian translation of this book was the worst I ever came across, considering I wasn’t in any pedantic disposition. Romanian readers, do yourself a favor and get the english version. I almost attributed the atrocious writing style to the author - big mistake on my part that became obvious once I switched to the EN edition. Who knows, maybe the translator is a living reincarnation of a once successful butcher.

The premise of the book has fascinated us from the moment we understood our power as a species: means to achieve proper self-destruction.
I said to myself this would be probably outdated
by now, but I was struck to find an ethologist that was able to unravel some deeply articulate and sobering* suppositions that remain sensible even in 2019. With all these observations heavily grounded in the author’s field of expertise, it’s rather refreshing to allow yourself to channel in the standpoind of a zoologist - perhaps a pair of eyes well fit for this scary endeavor.

*Konrad Lorenz has a far more incisive stance than that of the beloved biologist E.O.Wilson, who tackled a very similar topic, giving birth to the HIPPO acronym: H=Habitat Loss, I=Invasive Species, P=Pollution, P=Human Population, and O=Overharvesting.

Granted, you’ll have to put aside our accomplishments for a moment or two:

1. Overpopulation
While the malthusian prophecies https://www.livescience.com/16493-peo... are yet to be fleshed out - in the meantime, there is another important aspect - the sheer rise in the number of human interaction which should easily astound anyone. Cloistered in small places, unable to deal with the superabundance of contact, we need to set more and more emotional barriers. Keen observation! We can’t be together and we don’t know how to be alone with ourselves...

2. Environmental devastation
It seems the thinker-doers are more invested in doing rather than thinking. We disturb the natural balance with apparent impunity. Without nature, there’s only us. And then what? Spiritual blindness, atrophy of senses and worse, nothing to admire but ourselves.If there’s any collective sin we may call capital, this is it.

3. Man’s race against himself
We’re locked in the frenzy of buying stuff, yet our fears prevail and our health suffers. K.L. warns that the commercial race has embedded within itself multiple cycles of positive feedback. I feel like this part might be important but solvable. It will reflect more and more in the economic fluctuations or decline, correlated with scarcity of some resources due to overpopulation. I think we’ll find some solution to this at one point or another in order to save our skin.

4. Entropy of feeling
This one was the hardest to swallow.
Lorenz uses the pleasure-displeasure pair to illustrate how modern man is more and more sensible to the smallest inkling of displeasure and seeks to avoid it at all costs and in return look mostly for instant gratification (infantile behavior). With no pain, no gain, so the level of pleasure we can achieve with our passive demeanor decreases.
People leave their dogs behind when they move, as if they were part of the decor. And we get less attached to traditions and old thing as well (eg an old car) and reject with downright hatred the culture of our parents. We the neophiles are loosing our capacity to feel strongly about things.

5. Genetic decay
We are one species that will break away from having to keep one social norm or another in place, masters of our own destiny. Infantile types turn into victimized parasites. Aside from the strong right wing inclinations and revulsion to the pseudo-democracy, it is very interesting to read about an “innate sense of justice” and legal structure that arose similarly and independently in different corners of the earth.

6. The break with tradition
Again, Lorenz thinks in terms of system equilibrium. In this case, the system is formed of mechanisms of psychological neophilia and late obedience and has the function to preserve essential structures and eliminate whatever hinders progress. The problem is if positive feedback appears.

7. Indoctrination
NOT anything can be made out of any man. I agree that by stating so the individuality of man is reduced to nothing and that this is a deeply concerning worldview. Failing to acknowledge the worthy does no good to those on a different side of the ability spectrum. This attitude is nothing more or less than an incubator for misanthropic inclinations, and justly so.
We are reminded of the process of hypothesis formation and verification (falsifiability) and to pay attention to obedience to authority.
The questionable supremacy of science above anything else and the now lacking appeal of subjective experience should be considered in this age of mass media and commercial indoctrination.

8. Nuclear weapons
The author assumes the incredible collective stupidity of mankind will make it hard to pave the way for disarmament but that nuclear war will be more easily averted than the rest of the capital sins.

The author’s scholarly disdain for mankind’s shortcomings still holds ground, yet I can’t help noticing that it is somewhat hard to reconcile with his own life experiences and political affiliations. But man is more than the sum of his experiences and its worthwhile spending an hour of two in the company of a brilliant ethologist.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mariann Komlós.
464 reviews6 followers
March 1, 2020
This book is amazing, and be honest - truly frightening. It was written in the 70s, and every single world of the author is more true now, in this brave new world of the 21st century.. He did not know the answers now, and we do not know them yet, but this book is one from many that more and more people should read and more importantly think about the ideas and theories in it. And the main point is on the thinking part..
Profile Image for Constantin C..
119 reviews9 followers
January 15, 2018
Opinia eronată că omul ar putea isca din neant în mod calculat și rațional o nouă cultură, (...), duce la concluzia total greșită că soluția cea mai bună ar fi distrugerea totală a culturii părinților spre a face loc unei reconstrucții „creative“. Cine se gîndește în mod serios la aceasta va trebui însă să se întoarcă la omul precromagnon! (p. 84)
Profile Image for Marek.
1 review
July 18, 2021
Z větší části boomerský cringe. Je možno vyzdvihnout i dnes relevantní postoje týkající se problematiky vztahu člověka a přírodního prostředí a místy zaznívající kritiku soudobé ekonomiky a doktrinářství. Obecně se dá ale říct, že není žádoucí, aby se moralizující zoologové/etologové s členskou průkazkou NSDAP vyjadřovali k faktu, že žijeme ve společnosti.
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