Dark Nature

Editors' review

May 15, 2016

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I was so relieved to finish this book. This was recommended to me while on vacation in Denmark. I certainly don't shy away from heavy topics and ordinarily enjoy reading non-fiction (more so than fiction).

However, the author's thesis seemed seriously confused. He also seemed to add anecdotes and facts in a disorganized way and it was unclear how these supported his thesis, because it was unclear what his thesis was.

At first, he seemed to be saying that violence and other acts of evil need to be

I was so relieved to finish this book. This was recommended to me while on vacation in Denmark. I certainly don't shy away from heavy topics and ordinarily enjoy reading non-fiction (more so than fiction).

However, the author's thesis seemed seriously confused. He also seemed to add anecdotes and facts in a disorganized way and it was unclear how these supported his thesis, because it was unclear what his thesis was.

At first, he seemed to be saying that violence and other acts of evil need to be examined in the context in which they occur - and if these acts produce an overall benefit to the species and promote stability and balance, they are good. For example, infanticide is ok in this species because blah blah blah. Kind of John Steward Mill (if it makes people happy and doesn't hurt anyone, it's ok) but instead of individuals, the entire species. I like John Stewart Mill, but from the perspective of individual humans and their rights, not this species thing.

Later, he seems to indicate that it is our genes that make us do evil things and we must actively counter-balance our natural tendency toward xenophobia and evil acts. I agree with him that everyone, even ordinary normal people, have the capacity to participate in evil, but I'm not sure it makes sense to attribute humans' capacity for evil all to evolution.

I liked that he mentioned Levi Strauss who I read in sociology/anthropology classes at Earlham and used the word "bricolage" which I hadn't seen in print for nearly a decade. However, I honesty don't know how he got this thing published as it seemed a confused mishmash with no clear thesis and he seemed to have ADD or something they way he jumped around with his stream of consciousness.