The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History

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Atlantic Monthly Press, 1997 - Philosophy - 466 pages
17 Reviews
The Lucifer Principle is a revolutionary work that explores the intricate relationships between genetics, human behavior, and culture to put forth the thesis that "evil" is a by-product of nature's strategies for creation and that it is woven into our most basic biological fabric. In a sweeping narrative that moves lucidly among sophisticated scientific disciplines and covers the entire span of the earth's, as well as mankind's, history, Howard Bloom challenges some of our most popular scientific assumptions. Drawing on evidence from studies of the most primitive organisms to those on ants, apes, and humankind, the author makes a persuasive case that it is the group, or "superorganism", rather than the lone individual that really matters in the evolutionary struggle. But, Bloom asserts, the prominence of society and culture does not necessarily mitigate against our most violent, aggressive instincts. In fact, under the right circumstances the mentality of the group will only amplify our most primitive and deadly urges. In Bloom's most daring contention he draws an analogy between the biological material whose primordial multiplication began life on earth and the ideas, or "memes", that define, give cohesion to, and justify human superorganisms. Some of the most familiar memes are utopian in nature - Christianity or Marxism; nonetheless, these are fueled by the biological impulse to climb to the top of the hierarchy. With the meme's insatiable hunger to enlarge itself, we have a precise prescription for war. Biology is not destiny; but human culture is not always the buffer to our more primitive instincts we would like to think it is. In these complex threads of thought lies the LuciferPrinciple, and only through understanding its mandates will we be able to avoid the nuclear crusades that await us in the twenty-first century.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - chaosmogony - LibraryThing

An interesting historical and social explanation for the concept of "evil". I'm still not entirely sure I'm on board with the type of biological fatalism argued for by Bloom, though in saying that it is certainly a powerful and compelling argument that cannot be easily knocked down. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Smiler69 - LibraryThing

A friend of mine had read this book many years ago and when she described it to me, I thought it presented a combination of ingredients to keep me enthralled: history, biology, psychology, sociology ... Read full review

Contents

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