Ekim 29, 2022
şuradan Karaçam
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Türkçe Versiyon

Lorenz’s book that I review in this paper was published nearly
fifty years ago, in 1973. Lorenz investigates eight problems that
have been created by the human civilization which threaten its
existence. As we will see during our investigation, modern technology
is the common thread that links all of these problems together. We
see that these problems have become more widespread and intense as
modern technology has continued to develop since 1973.


life, like a dam, is situated on the universal energy flux. Living
things absorb energy to their metabolisms by taking advantage of the
negative entropy, and this energy increases their mass. As their mass
increases, their capacity for energy absorption also increases. That,
in turn, accelerates their rate of enlargement. This process is an
example of a positive feedback loop, and positive feedback loops
don’t end up in a catastrophe thanks to negative feedback loops
that balance them. Some relentless physics and probability laws
counter this energy absorption and enlargement tendency inherent in
organic beings. Thanks to these laws, living things and ecosystems
reach homeostasis. But men, thanks to his technology, surpass the
boundaries these laws set, and increase their mass with a positive
feedback loop unchecked by a balancing negative feedback loop. 

forces people to live in enormous cities as big masses. Men aren’t
adapted to live in close physical proximity with hundreds and
thousands of people. For this reason, modern man is inclined to
ignore people whom he doesn’t know personally. Moreover, being in
perpetual and close proximity to many people diminishes his capacity
to care even for his close ones. According to Lorenz, some of the
pathologic behaviors modern city dweller exhibits are due to this
crowded and unnatural environment. Lorenz refers here, especially, to
some pathological violent acts we see in metropolises. Experiments on
animals and observations on people have demonstrated that crowded
environments increase aggression.

doesn’t mention that overpopulation is one of the most influential
factors in the destruction of wild Nature. Construction of buildings
that are necessary to accommodate milliards of people, clearing off
wild lands for agriculture, extraction of resources that they need,
etc. result inevitably in the destruction or subjugation of wild

many people think that anxieties about overpopulation that were much
more common during the 60s and 70s turned out false, and
overpopulation isn’t a problem anymore. During the 70s, when Paul
out, the main concern was that the expected population increase would
render food sources insufficient, cause global famines, and social
upheavals or wars would follow. As it is well known, the world
population of 3,5 milliards in the 1970s is approaching today to 8
milliards. But this doesn’t mean that there is no overpopulation
problem today. As Lorenz indicates, humanity has continued to
increase its population by suspending the negative feedback loops
that would normally act on its population. This has been achieved
thanks to new technological developments in agriculture: the
widespread adoption of more efficient crop types, artificial
fertilizers, and chemical pesticides. Therefore, the overpopulation
problem as Lorenz defines it in this book has continued unabated: a
positive feedback loop unchecked by natural limits
suspended by technological means. But this can be done only so long,
and as Lorenz also indicates in his book, unchecked positive feedback
loops in Nature generally end in a catastrophe. Besides, the toll
exacted on wild things to sustain this population boom has been
enormous and is getting bigger as the population continues to grow.

Devastation of the Environment

species that constitute an ecosystem have very complex relations of
interdependency among each other. Hunters and games are dependent on
each other. Ecosystems reach their current equilibriums by passing
through long evolutionary processes. Though some relatively rare
events might destroy or radically alter some ecosystems, the
evolution of ecosystems, like the evolution of species, happens very

humans, due to their technology, have an ecosystem that changes very
rapidly.1 Geometrical
development of technology causes rapid and deep transformations in
natural ecosystems that humanity depends on for survival. Lorenz
speaks about here both the rapid and deep transformations humanity
causes in Nature and the rapid and fundamental changes that occur in
the artificial environments (cities, countryside, etc.) which are
created by the human civilization. These transformations, according
to Lorenz, are detrimental to the health of the ecosystems: to
“humanity’s ecosystem” and also to wild ecosystems. Geometrical
advances in technology change cities physically and demographically
in a rapid fashion. This rapid change also affects the routines of
everyday life (from the forms of work to free time activities), and
relations among people (the structure of the family, relations
between men and women, etc.)

focuses specifically on the aesthetics of the cities. According to
him, the rapid geographical spread of the cities devastates the
aesthetic quality of the living environment of humans. He compares
the cities that were built during the Middle Ages with the recent
development of the suburbs, and remarks that the latter have no
aesthetic quality. The lack of aesthetics in these recent
developments stems from the fact that they are mass-produced. They
spread rapidly like cancerous cells. The living environment of humans
changes so rapidly that the equilibrium that Nature reaches in a long
time is no longer present in human ecosystems. Lorenz attributes the
beauty of Nature to this equilibrium which is created only through a
long evolutionary process. Modern cities have lost their aesthetic
quality because only a similar process can create a functional and
healthy whole.  

which destroys Nature’s spontaneous aesthetics, is forced to live
in an awful and ugly artificial environment. Lorenz states that this
situation destroys man’s moral and aesthetic sense. Modern living
environments, with their mass-produced sameness, ignore people’s
individuality and stifle it in the end. Modern cities are comprised
of millions of people who are stuffed in identical cages that are
stockpiled on top of each other. Lorenz remarks that a person who
endures this misery is inclined to isolate himself from his neighbor
who suffers from the same conditions. According to Lorenz, this
inclination is caused by the desire to run away from one’s own misery
that is reflected
a neighbor. But I think there is a more fundamental desire in this
inclination. Modern man is inclined to avoid his neighbors who happen
to live just above, below, or next to him. Because, essentially, his
neighbors are strangers to him. These people are generally neither
his relatives nor they are part of a small group through which they
engage together in a practical and meaningful activity. Even being
relatives or close friends doesn’t have any practical meaning
nowadays. The modern individual can only function as a replaceable
component of a giant social organization which makes him disappear in
a giant crowd of millions of people. Friends and relatives are mostly
for passing away their “free time.” That is why, in practical
terms, the modern individual is lonely and isolated.

position is environmentalism. Environmentalism concerns itself with
the devastation of wild Nature to the extent that it affects
“humanity’s ecosystem.” It is concerned that Nature
be able to sustain the services it gives to human societies such as
clean air and water, absorption of their waste, and provision of
various resources. Environmentalism’s attitude towards wild Nature
is instrumental. It doesn’t see wild Nature as valuable in itself.
Even though Lorenz mentions the devastation that rapid advance of
technology brings to wild Nature, he is more concerned about the
effects of this on the “humans’ ecosystem.” He focuses on the
aesthetic misery of modern cities. His attitude on this issue is
reminiscent of the humanist anti-industrialists (Jacques Ellul, Lewis
Mumford, etc.) who lament the old cities, old monuments, and old
cultural achievements that were so magnificent before technological
development passed that optimum threshold. The technology, up to a
certain level of development, was conducive to the process of
humanization. It was helping humanity to elaborate and refine its
sense of aesthetics, and sense of morality. It was making

more human by refining its qualities which distinguish it from other
animal species. Once this optimum threshold has been passed by
technological development, it has begun to have the opposite effect.
It has started to dull humanity’s sense of morality and aesthetics.
Cities have started to lose their old beauty, people have started to
be more concerned by the practical aspects of things rather than
their beauty, they have become the victims of the banal and vulgar
popular culture, the residents of the metropolitan areas have become
less concerned with one another, they have become more prone to
senseless violence or other unnatural bizarre acts. 

anti-industrialism’s lamentations about the old cultural
achievements of humanity are no more than romantic nostalgia. And its
main concern (the process of “humanization:” making humans more
human, refining their aesthetics and sense of morality, etc.)
reflects its progressivist stance. What this concern about
“humanization” amounts to is to improve humans through cultural
conditioning, to stifle or subjugate their wild nature. How can we
differentiate this aim from the technophiles’ dreams about
trans-humanity, integrating humans with machines, modifying their
genes, or some other disgusting projects that purportedly aim to
improve humanity? These aims are, qualitatively speaking, the same
things. Technophiles and anti-industrialist humanists see humans in
their natural character as something unachieved, unfinished, and
something that needs to be improved through cultural means. We can
only draw a line by making wild human nature our reference point. No
“improvements” can be made artificially on what Nature (the
evolutionary process) has made us during our long existence as
nomadic hunter-gatherers. 

it comes to the devastation that has been brought on the “humans’
ecosystem” (the artificial environment humans live in), at least
since the agricultural revolution and the advent of the sedentary
life, there hasn’t been a qualitative shift in this domain. Humans
have been living in unnatural environments that they are not
evolutionarily adapted to since they have moved to a sedentary
lifestyle with agriculture. These sedentary living environments,
since their beginning, have been much more crowded than small natural
human groups, destroyed the beauty of Nature, subjected humans to
unhygienic conditions and infectious diseases, stratified people to
strict social hierarchies, and tried to restrict the spontaneous
expression of human nature through various mechanisms. Of course,
they have become worse in nearly all of these aspects as technology
has advanced. As Lorenz also remarks, since the Industrial
Revolution, their spread has become cancerous. But this is not due to
some change of mentality in humans because they’ve lost their sense
of aesthetics or morals. This is simply because human societies have
at their disposal
the Industrial Revolution

much larger amounts of energy and material resources. That is why
they are getting bigger and transforming larger areas of wilderness
into artificial environments more rapidly, trapping more and more
people in close proximity to each other by isolating them more firmly
from wild Nature. Because of this, people are living in conditions
that are becoming remoter each day from the conditions that they have
evolved in. Though it may be a subjective assessment, this stricter
isolation from wild Nature might be the reason why the artificial
environments have lost their aesthetic qualities compared to their
historic precedents. Our aesthetic sense has evolved

during our long nomadic hunter-gatherer existence, and it must have
been attuned to the sounds, smells, and views of Nature. In the
cities or towns of the past, the existence of wild Nature was
palpable. They were surrounded by wild Nature, and their residents
could feel and even experience wild Nature to a certain degree. They
could reach it by walking and they weren’t as isolated from it as
the habitants of modern metropolises.  

Man’s Race Against Himself

competition among the members of a species might reach a point that
could damage the survival capabilities of that species. Lorenz gives
Argusianus bird as an example to explain this phenomenon. The females
of Argusianus choose their mating partners according to the
attractiveness of their tails. This sexual selection pressure causes
male Argusianus birds to develop enormous tails. If this sexual
selection pressure which encourages males to develop big tails hadn’t
been balanced by an opposite sexual pressure that is coming from the
predators dwelling on the land, males of Argusianus might have lost
their ability to fly. The existence of land-dwelling predators
creates a negative feedback pressure that balances the sexual
selection pressure. 

says that in humans as well there are intra-species selection
pressures. But with some important distinctions: In humans,
intra-species pressures foster cultural development (the total
production of human civilization which is not transferred by genetic
inheritance), and there isn’t a counter-balancing selection
pressure that would balance intra-species selection pressures. For
this reason, humanity’s cultural development, in the absence of a
counter-balancing force (a negative feedback loop) is marching
towards a catastrophic point.

Lorenz means by human intra-species selection pressure is the
competition among humans: Producing more and newer materials and
selling them to outmaneuver competitors. This indicates that Lorenz
sees human intra-species competition as something unique to a
specific economic model: an ideology or system that regards producing
and consuming more as something divine, an ideology or system that
values material welfare as something supreme. But, human
intra-species competition is something much broader and deeper than
what Lorenz seems to think. Because Darwinian selection, which is the
main mechanism of biological evolution, also operates at the level of
human groups (states, corporations, criminal gangs, political
parties, etc.) There is an unconscious, automatic, and spontaneous
competition between these groups. Darwinian selection picks from
these human groups which have qualities that make them better at
surviving and propagating themselves than their rivals. And these
qualities are, fundamentally, the ones that make human groups better
at reaching and efficiently absorbing energy and material resources.
Lorenz’s economic competition is only a special occasion of this
broader Darwinian competition. This competition’s speed and
ferocity, and its impact on wild Nature, increase with the
development of technology. Because technology enables human groups to
draw more resources from their environment in shorter time frames.
Thus, they become able to transform their environment and wild Nature
much more rapidly and intensely. The results of this are more rapid
and intense subjugation and destruction of wild Nature, as well as
the rapid transformation of the artificial environment that humanity
lives in. The changes that technological development brings to
society have become so rapid and intense that, in 15-20 years, our
living environment alters beyond recognition in almost all its
aspects (physical, demographical, cultural, etc.) This abnormal
transformation creates in people the sensation that time passes
rapidly and space shrinks enormously. According to Lorenz, this
creates in humans a generalized feeling of stress and

remarks that modern individuals are in perpetual fear of lagging
behind, fear of being unable to adjust to changes, and being
unsuccessful. Of course, the result of this is a generalized feeling
of stress and constant agitation. Lorenz sees the reason for modern
man’s inability to remain calm with himself and with his thoughts
in this constant state of agitation. Modern man, since he dreads to
face himself and his thoughts, tries to bog them down in a perpetual
image and sound bombardment.

Entropy of Feeling

are some mechanisms that motivate animals to undertake actions that
would keep them alive. These mechanisms, in simplistic terms,
motivate animals to flee from pain and chase pleasure. Pain
constitutes punishment, and pleasure constitutes a reward. Punishment
and pleasure condition animals to avoid pain and reach for the things
that give them pleasure. Evolution creates this mechanism of award
and punishment in order to motivate animals to the behaviors that
would keep them alive. This mechanism also motivates animals to
behaviors that involve hardships which, in the end, would bring
animals greater rewards than the hardships they endure. For example,
a wolf may cover great distances, cross a cold river by swimming, and
put himself in lethal danger in order to hunt a bison. The reward of
meat is big enough to motivate him to endure those hardships.
Animals, in accordance with the relative weights of the rewards and
punishments, risk some dangers or endure some hardships or avoid them
altogether. In environments where rewards are plenty and easily
accessible, the attractiveness of the rewards and their potential to
motivate animals decreases. Because constant repetition of stimuli
causes desensitization. 

the subjugation of wild Nature, humanity has stepped out of the
natural pain-pleasure balance. Humans, in their recently created
artificial environment, have decreased to a great extent the
frequency of the occasions that they need to exert effort or endure
physical hardships in order to reach some rewards. In today’s
modern world, people can reach comfort and pleasure or they can
satisfy their basic physical necessities without having to toil under
hardships. Modern men develop desensitization against rewarding
stimuli, because easily reachable and constantly repeating stimuli
lose their satisfactory power. Besides, the possibility to reach
rewards without enduring hardships erodes the modern individual’s
capacity for delayed gratification. This means that a great number of
people have lost their capacity to endure hardships here and now in
order to reach a reward that would await them at the end of a
demanding process. People have been losing their ability to undertake
projects that would require enduring labor, concentration, or
attention. As a result, they can’t experience the satisfaction that
finishing successfully a demanding job gives people.

evolutionarily adapted reward-punishment mechanism goes haywire in
modern life because the conditions this mechanism has evolved in are
quite different from the conditions modern people find themselves in
today. Because people lived a physically demanding life during their
long nomadic hunter-gatherer existence when 
we know it today took shape. They were living in wild Nature, and
they had to exert their physical and intellectual capabilities in a
demanding fashion in order to satisfy their most important physical
necessities. They could face such dangers as hunger, being attacked
by wild animals or other human groups, etc. For this reason, avoiding
expending energy as much as conditions allowed it (laziness), gorging
food when it was available (gluttony), and avoiding dangers as much
as possible (cowardice) were, considering the circumstances of the
time, logical strategies that evolution has bestowed on humans as
default inclinations. Most humans need the enforcement of the
circumstances in order to override these inclinations and behave
industriously, frugally, and bravely. And circumstances in
paleolithic times forced them frequently to behave industriously,
frugally, and bravely. So, it is easy to imagine the problems that
would ensue in modern conditions because of a behavioral repertoire
that evolved under the circumstances of paleolithic times.

says that we can see the consequences of the disruption of the
reward-punishment mechanism in such diverse manifestations as the
consumption craze to the shallowness of human relations. Since there
is no need to undertake a task that would require hard work, people
immerse themselves in consumption which would satisfy their desires
immediately. But as the dimensions of this consumption increase, the
amount of satisfaction it gives decreases, and this is tried to be
remedied by ever more consumption. This problem also affects the
relations between humans. What makes human relations (familial and
conjugal relations, friendships, etc.) intense and meaningful are not
only the positive or happy feelings that we get from these relations
but also the responsibilities and conflicts that these relations
bring. But humans are losing their power to carry these
responsibilities and endure these conflicts. Lorenz remarks that
relations with the opposite sex are turning into mere sexual pleasure
without the responsibilities that Nature and tradition bestow on
them: sexuality is being stripped from the familial roles and the
responsibilities of child-rearing and is being turned into mere

that Lorenz was making these observations at the beginning of the
70s. The conditions that disrupt the award-punishment mechanism in
humans have
significantly since then. Human relations, which according to Lorenz
have lost their intensity, have almost completely moved to the
digital realm (social media) after the total destruction of
small-scale communities and isolation of individuals in amorphous
masses. Sexuality, thanks to internet pornography, is reduced to
something that is engaged with pixels instead of real humans. Because
it is much easier to send a digital message or play a video by
pressing a button than deal with real physical people. Lorenz was
seeing consumption as an effortless way to reach pleasure. But today,
it is possible to consume without even moving one step physically and
without interacting with anybody. Digital communication technologies
which purportedly connect people are in fact the means to prevent
real physical face-to-face contact. They isolate people from each
other and the outside world. Modern individuals’ need to escape
from effort has reached such proportions that they can’t even
tolerate the most minuscule residues of physical contact. That is the
reason why they choose to communicate via digital text messages and
try to reflect their emotions with “emojis.” 

is clear that Lorenz’s observations regarding the reward-punishment
mechanism and its disruption in modern conditions are quite similar
to Ted Kaczynski’s concept of the “power process.” But unlike
Kaczynski, Lorenz misses the fundamental reason for this problem. The
technological system, forcing humans to live in circumstances that
are radically different from the ones in which they evolved in,
deprives them of the possibility of undertaking a concrete and
purposeful task that is directly related to their physical existence.
Therefore, modern man finds himself in a huge void of
meaninglessness, and this void is tried to be filled with
consumption, entertainment industry and hedonist pleasures.

Genetic Decay

to Lorenz, modern society renounces the mechanisms that allow it
selectively (genetic selection) to eliminate people who are
genetically predisposed to anti-social inclinations and unable to
accept the responsibilities society bestows upon them. Lorenz
observes that humans, during their evolutionary process, have
acquired a moral ability that enables them to distinguish “the
right” from “the wrong.” People who don’t have this moral
ability have been winnowed out by some mechanisms developed for this
purpose by human societies. This has prevented the “anti-social
genes” from spreading. Lorenz says that two characteristics of
modern society are sabotaging this selection process. First is the
belief that humans are “blank slates.” According to this wrong
but quite common belief, an individual’s character and his
behaviors are shaped, almost completely, by the circumstances of his
environment. There aren’t any innate genetic determinants that
shape an individual’s character, psychological inclinations, etc.
Therefore, the behaviors of humans could be shaped from scratch by
environmental cues such as education or any other indoctrination
method. If an individual is acting anti-socially, the blame should be
on his environment or on the society he lives in, not on him. This
person can be educated and rehabilitated to society. According to
Lorenz, this wrong belief is preventing society eliminate genetically
anti-social people and thus, these genetic tendencies are becoming
more common in society. The second is the fact that, as Lorenz also
mentions in the previous problem, living conditions that are
prevalent in modern society are fostering infantile inclinations and
suppressing adult behavior patterns. A strong urge to instantly
satisfy a desire, the absence of responsibility, and a lack of
concern toward others are infantile characteristics. A patient effort
towards a distant goal, consciousness about one’s responsibilities,
and concern about other individuals are adult characteristics. Lorenz
observes that people who don’t have the characteristics that make
an individual an adult aren’t ready for the roles that they would
assume in society.

think that Lorenz’s concerns about the spread of anti-social
behaviors in modern conditions should be seen in the context of the
period he was writing this book. This book was written right after
the student and youth revolts of 68. The ideology and values of this
movement were quite popular at this time. The end of the 60s and the
beginning of the 70s were the times when the third-wave left2
was assuming the dominant position among modern ideologies. During
this period, the following theories became quite popular: the
rejection of traditional values (family roles; norms that are
regulating manners, clothes, speech, etc.); theories that purported
that criminals are the victims of the social sys
are rebels who are revolting against a crooked society, etc. The
popularity of these theories reflected itself in police and judiciary
as a more lenient approach towards criminals. For this reason, the
60s and 70s were a period when violence and criminality increased in
Western societies. 

course, the increase in violence was affecting the social machine in
a negative manner. This caused a counter-reaction beginning in the
80s. States became more harsh and effective against criminals, police
organizations got bigger, and from the
on, there was an important increase in the numbers of incarcerated
people.4 Values
and theories that foster anti-social behaviors have mostly been
eliminated from the third-wave leftism. Violence, in all its forms,
is regarded now as the most despicable thing. Third-wave-leftism, by
setting aside most of its economic goals, has focused aggressively on
the issues of the “oppressed” (homosexuals, women, animals,
minority ethnic or religious groups, etc.) Third-wave-leftism has
become the dominant ideology of modern society and thus, the issues
of the “oppressed” have become mainstream. This ideology
demonizes all forms of violence, and encourages empathy, social
responsibility, and pity towards the “weak” and “oppressed.”
It can be said that the social reaction that has been directed to the
rising violence and criminality of the 60s and 70s turned out to be
successful. Contrary to Lorenz’s concerns, beginning in the 90s,
the general population has internalized collective social norms much
more deeply, and a society that is more passive has been created. The
parts of the ideology of the 60s that embrace violence and reject
social norms on speech or clothing have become commodities for
popular culture: in movies and music there is an exaggerated display
of violence and sexuality, pornography is extremely widespread, and
manners in clothing and speech aren’t subjected to strict norms of
the 50s anymore. This relaxation in popular culture and everyday
manners is actually a symptom of a more internalized and deeper
compliance. The social machine knows that display of violence and
extreme sexuality in popular culture wo
lead astray its members to dangerous behaviors, on the contrary, this
explicit content of the popular culture is relaxing its members who
are strictly surrounded by other and more important restrictions.

the second characteristic Lorenz mentions is still relevant today:
Modern conditions are fostering infantilization in individuals. In
fact, this situation has been exacerbated since this book was
Internet, especially,
has played a decisive role in this exacerbation. It has greatly
intensified modern technological society’s tendency to eliminate
effort from the daily lives of its members. Nowadays, the modern
individual can reach consumption with one “click.” He can immerse
himself, whenever and wherever he likes, in a bubble of sound and
images in order to forget his miserable and meaningless existence.
All these are decreasing the attention, concentration, and delayed
gratification capacities of the modern individual. Consequently, his
ability to perform in a useful and efficient manner is also
decreasing. This might have, in the near future, negative
consequences for the efficient functioning of the social machine. And
remember that, these tendencies are occurring in parallel to the
advancements in robotic and artificial intelligence. The quality of
the functions people are performing in the social system is in
constant decline due to ever more specialization, and machines are
assuming ever more portions of the economic roles. These two
tendencies that develop in tandem with each other might furnish extra
motivation to the technological system for substituting humans with

The Break With Tradition

says that cultural phenomenons evolve, in the Darwinian sense. Since
cultural phenomenons evolve through a long and complex process, and
since they are part of a complex system (human society), it isn’t
possible to understand completely the role cultural phenomena assume
in the functioning of a society. Therefore, rapid and radical changes
in cultural phenomena might create unforeseen consequences.

groups who belong to different cultures develop different languages,
attitudes, clothes, etc. These differences turn into symbols that
distinguish people who belong to different cultural groups. Every
ethnicity is inclined to see themselves as real humans and regarded
other ethnic/cultural groups as lesser than real humans. Therefore,
they didn’t include the members of other ethnic/cultural groups in
the norms that regulate intra-group relations.

based on the observations he made on the youth movement of 68, says
that in Western societies different human groups have appeared who
regard each other as belonging to different cultural/ethnic groups.
According to Lorenz, what motivated the youth of 68 was the ethnic
hatred that one ethnic group harbors against the other. Younger
generations have begun to see themselves as members of a completely
different human group than their seniors. For this reason, the
seeming political protests of the 68’s youth, in fact, were against
the older generations whom they saw as belonging to a different
ethnic/cultural group.

says that what transforms subsequent generations into different
ethnic/cultural groups is the rapid advancement of technology. As the
advancement of technology transforms society rapidly, the lifestyles,
values, and world views of subsequent generations quickly diverge
from each other. This rapid change breaks the tradition’s
continuity. The existence of these different ethnic/cultural groups
in one society creates enormous tensions. 

specifically underlies the erosion of familial ties in modern
conditions. There is a widening gap between parents on the one side
and parents and children on the other side. Lorenz talks about the
problems the lack of a father figure creates in children, especially
in boys. According to Lorenz, the structure of the family should be
hierarchical. Children should feel respect and fear towards their
parents in their formative years. Because a child who can not take
care of himself needs somebody who would lead him, whom he would take
as an example of how to be an adult. Pseudo-democratic ideas attack
and damage the hierarchical structure of the family. They erode
parents’ authority and relegate them to a position that makes it
impossible for children to respect their parents. For this reason,
these pseudo-democratic ideas have greatly contributed to the
neurotic character of the young generations. Lorenz remarks that
there is hardly any boy who sees his father doing his job or doing
something practical and meaningful with his father. If he were to
write this book today, he would say that, especially in western
societies, there is hardly any child who sees his father physi


has become possible to indoctrinate people on a mass scale thanks to
the advancements in bureaucratic structures and communication
technologies. Therefore, it is possible to keep a large number of
people in a bubble of false ideas isolated from the realities.
Moreover, attachment to false ideas becomes stronger as the number of
people who believe in them increases. Lorenz gives as an example
urism6 which
had greater prestige when the book was written. Behaviorism played a
big role in the spread of the false idea that human behavior can be
shaped almost wholly by external conditioning. Lorenz sees
Behaviourism as a pseudo-democratic ideology. Behaviourism is a
totalitarian ideology that legitimizes and promotes the conditioning
of human behavior by external intervention.

belief that humans are blank slates and their behavior can be shaped
from scratch through external intervention (education or any other
indoctrination techniques) is still quite widespread. This belief is
more common in leftist milieus, but it is shared by all the other
humanistic ideologies. The main motivation behind the ideology of
blank slate –even if the promoters or passive accepters of this
ideology don’t pursue this consciously– is the need to adjust
humans to the complex societies that were born with the Agricultural
Revolution. Humans’ behavioral repertoire evolved during our long
nomadic hunter-gatherer existence when we lived in small bands.
Complex sedentary societies that were born with the Agricultural
Revolution have forced on humans behaviors and lifestyles that don’t
correspond to their evolutionarily adapted inclinations. A
substantial part of human history since the Agricultural Revolution
has also been the history of the problems that were created by this
discrepancy. The belief that humans are blank slates that can be
shaped by external conditioning keeps alive the hope that these
age-old problems will be solved permanently someday: We will create a
perfect society in which enlightened and educated people will fit
perfectly. Humans will have the correct values and they will show no
symptoms of disharmony such as depression, anxiety, delinquency,
violence, aggression, drug addiction, etc. It is clear that the
belief in the blank slate theory is one of the core tenets of the
progressivist ideology.

it would be easier to shape thoughts than behavior, it is possible to
shape human behavior as well up to a certain extent. Every society
throughout history has tried to shape the thoughts and behaviors of
its members with various degrees of success. But shaping human
behavior and thought, without direct biological intervention, can
only go so far. Precisely this human character is what makes real
freedom possible. Because how can one deem an individual free if the
totality of his ideas, values, inclinations, and behaviors could be
shaped by external conditioning? Real freedom in humans, just like in
other wild animals, consists in freely expressing evolutionarily
adapted inclinations.

Internet has exacerbated in recent decades the phenomenon of
isolation in a bubble of false ideas. While the vast majority of
Internet users are drowning in meaningless sounds and images which
are getting shorter by the day (they have reduced to durations
measured by seconds) to accommodate their diminishing attention
spans, people who think they’re dealing with “serious” things
are either chasing some sort of a conspiracy theory or concerning
themselves with problems that have been bequeathed to us from the
19th century. Lorenz remarks that even scientists can be the victims
of indoctrination. But since he abstained from facing “reality,”
it seems he himself was the victim of indoctrination. Technological
development is the root cause of all the problems that Lorenz
investigates in this book. But he never mentions technology itself as
problematic and beats the bush around throughout the book.

is the typical attitude of today’s scientists or public
intellectuals. When they talk about climate change, habitat
destruction, collapse in biodiversity, chemical or nuclear pollution,
psychological problems, addictions (internet-related addictions to
substance abuse), malaise and meaninglessness that afflict a large
number of people, ever more ubiquitous surveillance, extreme
political polarisation, the loss of objective truth in public
discussion, the threat of nuclear annihilation, possible supersedence
of people by thinking machines, etc. they never see and show
technology itself as a problem. They often remark that the “correct”
application of technology or more advancements in technology will
solve these problems. More importantly, nearly nobody mentions the
looming dangers that lie ahead of us
the context of the technology problem
the complete destruction of the Biosphere’s functions that make
complex life on Earth possible, transforming 
genetic engineering to a completely different organism, supersedence
of humans by intelligent machines, the complete subjugation of wild
Nature on Earth, etc. These will surely make all our mainstream
political bickerings meaningless trivialities. The vast majority of
scientists and public intellectuals are unable to face these problems
in the broader context of the technology problem. They might mention
one or two of these problems, and they might even offer some
“solutions” to some of these problems, but none of them discusses
these matters in their real context while pointing towards their real
cause. They can’t do this either due to social pressure or because
they themselves are victims

of indoctrination. And meanwhile, humanity goes towards these
dreadful outcomes like a sleepwalker.

Nuclear Weapons

last problem Lorenz investigates is nuclear weapons. According to
Lorenz, the problem of nuclear weapons is more concrete, less
complex, and easier to understand than the other problems he
investigates. For this reason, it is the easiest one to solve. “We”
just need to convince “people” not to use and produce these
weapons, and to eliminate the existing stockpiles. These beliefs are
extremely naive. No assurance, no argument would convince the states
to forego these weapons. As long as nuclear technology exists, some
states will want to keep this extremely potent weapon in their
arsenal. Moreover, the current war in Ukraine and the crises over
Taiwan are demonstrating that nuclear war isn’t such a faraway
possibility as it was believed immediately afterward of the Cold War.
Fifty years later the publication of Lorenz’s book, the danger of
nuclear war is still looming over us.


Kaynak: Vahsikaracam.blogspot.com