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By Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson tells the tale of human violence from Peking guy to the Mafia - considering the calculated sadism of the Assyrians, the opportunism of the Greek pirates, the brutality that made Rome the ‘razor king of the Mediterranean’, the senseless destruction of the Vandals, the mass slaughter of Genghis Khan, Tamurlane, Ivan the poor, Vlad the Impaler and extra. each one age has a special attribute development of crime. some time past 3 centuries crime has replaced and developed until eventually the intercourse killer and the mass assassin became symbols of all that's worst approximately our civilization. yet this isn't only a research in human depravity; it's an try and position crime in viewpoint opposed to human discovery, exploration and invention. the result's a totally new method of the heritage and psychology of human violence.

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Extra info for A Criminal History of Mankind

Example text

He was disappointed. Politicians, he realised, believe their own hype. Poets, he saw, are brilliant with words but mistake that brilliance for wisdom. Professionals, he concluded, might be experts in their field but are wrong if they take that professionalism to mean they are experts in life as a whole. Then he understood. No one was wiser than he, because no one understood the depth of their ignorance as fully as he did. We are all ignorant but the smart thing is to become wise of the fact. This wise ignorance brought Socrates a profound sense of contentment.

Qxp 11/14/2007 12:26 PM 14 Page 14 42: Deep Thought on Life Socrates, who realised that the key to wisdom is to understand the limits of what you know. This insight came to him after he received a startling message from the Delphic Oracle, which had ventured that no one was wiser than he: something Socrates knew could not be right, since he was highly aware of what little he knew. So, he set out to prove the Oracle wrong, by speaking to all the wise people of Athens. He was disappointed. Politicians, he realised, believe their own hype.

This wise ignorance brought Socrates a profound sense of contentment. When he was condemned to death by the Athenian state he did not flee the city, as he easily could have done. He stayed, comforted his followers, drank the hemlock and died. In short, pig-ignorance is a paltry bliss and wise ignorance supreme; a truth that appears in other traditions. Thomas Aquinas believed that happiness was something that could only completely be found in heaven. However, the very fact that human beings can understand that, by appreciating the flaws of their ‘in between’ condition, allows them a happiness-of-becoming on earth.

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