13 Jan

Celebrated evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers’ much heralded book(meaning it has been reviewed in many major daily newspapers) The FOLLY OF FOOLS The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life (Basic Books)while ostensibly an investigation into the biological imperatives for self deceit makes some interesting forays into (what should no longer be called) revisionist history. One reviewer safely predicts that this will turn of many readers—however being of a contrarian nature I confess I was enthralled.To whit in the chapter called”False Historical Narratives” — The US False Historical Narrative:

It is fully apt that Christopher Columbus should have been elevated to historical status for discovering the Americas. On the one hand he did no such thing. There were more than 100 million people awaiting him when he arrived. And ships had also recently arrived from Africa, Polynesia, Phoenicia and even other European countries. On the other hand, Columbus was unique in that he combined exploration with an explicit plan for subjugating the locals and extracting their wealth and labor. This of course not what he is celebrated for.


And in another chapter, “Self Deception and War” Trivers echoes Michael Frante’s lyrics,”You can bomb the World to pieces/But you can’t Bomb the World to Peace”:

An enduring fallacy of surprising strength is that wars can be won through airpower, bombing from the relative safety of the skies, decoupling the killer and the killed. Among the other virtues, it is claimed that bombing can turn the population against their leaders, whose activities are said to induce the bombing. Proven wrong in WW II (with the single exception of the nuclear attacks on Japan) and repeatedly since then, nobody seems to be able to drive a stake through the heart of this fallacy. As recently as 2006 both Israel And the United States imagined that a devastating bombing campaign against all of Lebanon would turn the country against Hezbollah as the presumptive cause of the bombing…as usual the bombing had the opposite effect: the country rallied behind Hezbollah which enjoyed the highest levels of support ever during the bombing itself

(P 266)

Currently reading Country of the Bad Wolfes by James Carlos Blake (Cinco Puntos Press)

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