Human Nature, Precedent, and Uncertainty : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ever read or hear something that just sticks with you? It has been said that Y2K is an event without precedent. I remember last year when Senator Bennett said this, and then told about a friend with whom he was discussing Y2K that disagreed. His friend said that there actually was a precedent for Y2K: The Tower of Babel. This was probably a year or so ago, and yet it stuck with me. Perhaps the Senator's friend had a point. The Biblical event was quite different than Y2K obviously, and yet the impact on folks and their subsequent reactions I think is where the point becomes germane. While Y2K may be a unique event so far in history, there is always immutable human nature - both the bad and good in all of us, regardless of who we are or where we are. With the ongoing uncertainty of what Y2K will bring, which may continue in large part until it actually plays out, I thought it would be interesting to explore this idea of precedent - not in the context of the Y2K event itself, but in the context of human nature and people's reactions en mass to the potential life-changing events which Y2K may bring.

Human nature is perhaps the only constant or truth in a sea of Y2K uncertainty and misinformation. People's reactions to Y2K will be of paramount importance as a determining factor to such aspects as its severity and duration. Therefore, understanding reactions to past serious events should be helpful in partially lifting the veil of Y2K uncertainty, if even slightly, a veil which seems at times to be made of steel. People are people and react accordingly. I have long thought that people's reactions to Y2K are, and will continue to be, a large part of both the overall problems and solutions. Reactions to perceived, potential, and actual failures will be based on human nature. Feelings, perception, and confidence all count. Ask any banker. When we are forced out of the box, as so many may suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves, then what besides human nature is left to react with?

Just as buildings rest upon their foundations, so too do we as people rest upon our human nature. The answers to so many Y2K questions seem to be locked up and hidden in dark rooms. Yet there is one room upon which the other rooms rest in support - the basement. It, too, is locked and dark, but we have the key - it is called Human Nature. Doesn't knowledge of human nature itself have potential predictive value, specifically for Y2K, since many of the potential threats are identifiable ahead of time? What do you think?

-- Rob Michaels (, May 01, 1999


This is a thinking man's question to be sure. Glad you brought it up because it IS one of the keys to understanding what may unfold. The problem is, who defines human nature? What is your source of truth? After all, that is the essence of the y2k problem right now. Truth. There are basically three ways people understand human nature. First, there is the very popular viewpoint or presupposition that all humans are basically "good" by nature. Environment and education are said to be the determining factors in how each person becomes or "turns out". Second, there is the idea that human nature is "neutral" neither inclined toward the good or toward evil..and again, environment and education are determining factors in how the person "turns out".

Finally there is the biblical viewpoint of God who says through his inspired writers that humans are basically evil and in need of salvation and grace in order to be "good".

So, there you have it...a real can of worms to wrestle with...and each will argue according to thier own presuppositions on this idea of human nature.

Should be interesting at the very least.

-- gotitlongago@garynorth. (vacajohn@(nospam), May 01, 1999.

In 1960 I joined the military, got my head kicked out of the teen-age clouds, and started paying attention to my fellow human and his nature. After a couple of decades of observing, working, fighting with, and reading about his 'nature', I tried to get as far away from him as possible, both physically and socially. Did a pretty good job of it too. Then along comes Y2K and my first thoughts were of how would my neighbor respond to the Y2K alarm. They have not - just as I predicted. How will they respond to the crisis that could take place in the year 2000? I predict many of them will be like a pack of hungry dogs in a sheep field, kill twenty sheep for unknown reasons and eat only two. My wife and I went to a gun show today. I predict not being one of their muttons.

-- apprehensive (, May 02, 1999.

Gotitlongago: Well, you have given us a good start with your three categorizations, and also with the idea of human nature itself being subjective. While I agree that we can recognize or acknowledge these three distinct and contrary viewpoints, I tend to think of human nature as a mix of them - not in terms of one or the other. They do not appear to me to be mutually exclusive in reality, only in our expression and perception of reality. In other words, people have aspects of good, evil, and neutrality simultaneously, and in different measures for different things, don't you think?

BTW, I admit that this is another one of "Rob's vexing questions" - I can't help it - I just post what comes to mind. If the past is any indication, this thread could hit the archives with a handful of responses, or it may develop into a good thread. I never know, just like so many otehr things!

-- Rob Michaels (, May 02, 1999.

apprehensive: Looks like you posted a split second before I did. Anyway, I think that some folks will react poorly, some even dangerously as you noted, and others will try to help each other. A lot depends on which human nature buttons are pushed - you will get quite a different reaction from the same person depending on if they are reacting out of fear or panic, as opposed to logic and reason. LOL - Did I say logic and reason? I must be getting tired. One of the primary reasons for trying to build awareness with neighbors and within the community is to increase the chances that people, when confronted with uncertainty and problems, will at least have the option of making good choices, since they have thought about various possibilities ahead of time. I know there are some here who think that this effort is futile and foolish. I disagree.

Gang: Perhaps an example is in order for why I think there is a mix in each of us:

Have you ever seen or heard of a person that was in a life-threatening situation, and was 'rescued' by a total stranger? I live by a lake that freezes every winter. People go skating and ice fishing. A few years back, one fell through the ice and was in serious trouble. He was helped to safety in short order by a stranger that put their own life at risk, without much thought at the time. The stranger knew that the other wouldn't make it for long and got him out. It was instinctive. I think of this as part of human nature. This same person, a hero in the example, could very well be the villain in a different example, also based on their human nature. I know, for the stranger was me, yet I have done other things in my life that I am not at all proud of, that can't be categorized under either 'good' or 'neutral'. Yet it's all part of what I think of as my human nature.

So not only do I think that human nature is really a mix, but there also comes into play the idea of preponderance - how much good vs. bad vs. neutrality. This will probably sound silly but maybe it's like one of my kids building sets in that you get some of each piece and use them in varying degrees under varying circumstances, yet you always have the same pieces in the box to do with what you will, or in the case of Y2K, what you are forced to.

-- Rob Michaels (, May 02, 1999.

In my youth I thought (and often argued) that people were essentially 'good' by nature. Now, with a few more years experience behind me, I firmly believe that we must, by individual trial and error, 'learn' to be good. By this time next year -- though I fervently pray for the best -- I may indeed have good cause to change my thinking yet again.

-- Yan (, May 02, 1999.

Rob, I knew this had to be one of your threads, just by the question (since I access through 'new answers', I don't see the author's name until I open the thread). It's nice to see you back and asking questions which stir the brain :-)

Like you I think that people are a curious mix of good and bad. Moreover, sometimes they are bad with good intentions and sometimes they are good with bad intentions, all of which just confuses the issue more.

Accountability does tend to decrease the amount that bad impulses are acted upon, IMO. This is one of the benefits to living in a small town or rurally; being found out in your wrong-doing is more likely. With the confusion that is apt to be caused by Y2K, this is even more true.

There may be other factors, almost certainly are, but I've noticed that when there are power outages in small towns, looting is rarely, if ever, a problem. In large cities, however, looting during a power outage seems to be the norm. Are people who live in cities so very different by nature than those who live in small towns, is accoutability the difference, or is there some other factor?

For those who do not like to compare human activity to animals', the studies showing that when mice populations are overcrowded, their behavior becomes more violent, aggressive and even counter-survival won't mean much. I was told by a psychiatrist once, that when you plot per capita psychotic behavior in humans against the size of population center, it rises with population, and rises dramatically after approximately 500,000; in other words there are more crazy people per capita in large centers than small ones. Unfortunately, I don't know what study or studies he got his information from.

Psychotic behavior is more often than not non-violent (towards others), but I think it likely that violence could easily have that same sort of graph.

Where I'm going with all this, is that human nature is not static, not isolated. What a person will do in a crowd is not what she/he will do when alone. So, where you are, and what circumstances are will affect peoples behavior.

Lots more to think about, here. Thanks for the intellectual boost, Rob.

-- Tricia the Canuck (, May 02, 1999.

Tricia, I think the psychiatrist is wrong. While there is some correlation between population and aberrant behavior, why does London (a city of 12 million) have only about 80 murders a year and New York (8 million) over 2000? Look at the difference in violent crime rates for Seattle and Vancouver--very similar demographics and geographics, vast difference in violent crime rates.

Although the UK is becoming more violent, it is still much less violent than the US. A major difference is in child-rearing: British children are (generally) taught to be polite and considerate of others at an early age, football hooligans excepted. Additionally, cruelty to animals is very socially amd legally unacceptable--it is illegal, for instance, to hit a dog and leave the scene. When you inculcate consideration for small souls into a culture, it is natural to behave well towards larger ones.

Very simplistic, I grant you, but the issue is something I've been looking at since 1967, when I arrived in this country and was struck by its propensity for violence.

One of the reasons we're trying to sell our house before Y2K is so that we can move to a less violent part of the area. Compared to, say, Miami, Durham is a haven of peace. But, anticipating some social breakdown, I'd still feel more comfortable in an area with more (er!) stable people.

-- Old Git (, May 02, 1999.

how much good vs. bad vs. neutrality.

How bad it is vs. location vs. bucks to prepare.

First extreme.

Lives in bannana belt on W. coast, walking distance to good fishing year round in the Pac. ocean. Good soil, year round vegies in the green house. Small pop. Grav water from a spring. Money to prep. GI. I like to think of myself as good.

Second extreme.

Lives in inner-city, walking distance to 7/11. Large pop. Lives on food stamps and welfare. What? I like to think of myself as good.

In previous threads people have talked about conditions in shelters and storms. We know about riots.

Lets assume that 80% are nutral or better. Also 80% live in the second extreme.

Lets also assume that 80% are DWGI or DGI.

Lets say Y2k causes SSI, pension,or Vet. checks to be late or under paid. Lets say Welfare, food stamps, Wic, or disability checks are late or under paid. Power is out for 1 week. Stores run low. Banks have runs or etc. Pick your own.

Unless you've been liveing under a rock, you've heard of Y2k,,, it's in all the news. If you live near the first extreme, you probably won't panic

-- CT (ct@no.yr), May 02, 1999.


Last time I looked The United Kingdon had a higher violent crime rate than the US per pop. Sticks and stones,,, not to mention knives, hammers, and cricket bats will harm you.

-- CT (ct@no.yr), May 02, 1999.

Making Decisions That Are Not Yours to Make

It seems unlikely to me that you can predict specifically how people would respond, well or badly, in a crisis... not unless you have personally received a divine revelation (which may or may not be the case). If so, you might not want to talk about these strange divine revelations as people might look at you funny and burst out laughing. Not even by the light of a team of powerful reasoning minds and also with the clearest opinions on human nature. The answer is likely to elude you. It may even elude the super intelligence of fallen angels.

Clarity is not certainty. Clarity is knowing well what you know, while certainty is know that a thing or some aspect or action of a thing has being. It is, in other words. However, such foreboding about how men and women will act in such and such situation, is the foreboding of princes (or politicos, today). So if you accept the same so-called social contract that you have accepted so far, what would and could you do if you had an answer which required a very different course of action than that proposed or implemented by our law makers?

Indeed, the question about what to do is really a political question and it will be answered (well or badly) by political people. And so long as the laws are not unjust (not unjust in a terrible manner), we will abide by these political answers however the future may deal (kindly or cruelly) with each of us individually. This is the very sacrifice that is required to continue the republic. It is the sacrifice that civilization demands. We can only hope that those in command shall understand that the common good serves every person.

On Human Nature

Whatever human nature may once have been, we all have some ideas of what it is today. We may, however, have less of an understanding of human perfection (natural or supernatural). We may even have lesser of an understanding of how the person might become perfected. In each person, the power to make decisions and act upon these decisions gives the possibility of good and evil. In the natural order... our body, upbringing, education, experience, and cultural environment shape who we are and what good and evil we do. A person is, therefore, unique.

The person who is born highly intelligent, who has received the very best upbringing and education, has had the right experience, and grew up in the right cultural environment should find it easier to do good and avoid evil than the likes of you or me. We, however, the botched and bungled, often have much repair to do for the damage done by our upbringing and education, by terrible experiences and the cultural evils that we inherit. Making good decisions is harder for us, acting well (or, virtuously) may even be harder. Aristotle offers excellent advice for those who seek their excellence through the natural order.

And there are those who find perfection, supernaturally. These kind of people may even be good in a supernatural way. In other words, the good that they do can exceed the natural good. These kind of people are as rare, however, as those who seek the natural perfection. Maybe, they are more rare. Some of us try to seek this out, but it seems even more difficult than the passionate seeking of the natural perfections.

Intelligence and Passions

While the fulfillment of each person seems to require a variety of goods, knowing which good is best and at the appropriate time is a perfection of reasoning. Reason must command the often found tyranny of passions. These passions would indiscretely and gluttonously seek their various goods without the command and light of reason. That's how it is today with most of us: friendship becomes reduced in its meaning and is better described as mere gratification or utility.

Reason too is often reduced and used in an undignifying manner as it becomes a co-conspirator with the passions, enabling them to obtain their good without the benefit of moral judgement. We often call this arrangement, cleverness or cunning. So it is that we are good and evil. More or less, this is dynamic behind the good and evil that we do. In self-examination, we may even find that we do more evil than good. One consolation may be that we are no more better or more evil than our fathers and our mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, etc.

Again, those very same passions all seek some good. There are also passions that seek a good that we may recognize as morally good. Therefore we can expect that some people will do good some of the time, while others people may do evil. Likewise, some people may even appear to do supernatural good... some of the time. In other words, it is very unpredictable about who will do what in such and such a situation. However, we may have more confidence in the regularity of those that have a high moral character (natural or supernatural) to do good. They are the only ones who are predictible.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, May 02, 1999.


Humans are basically similar, in many ways, to the other monkeys on this planet. In fact, the active DNA in our cells is exactly the same as 99.6% of the chimpanzee's active DNA.

In general, we're preoccupied with sex, we form long-term, close relationships, we're suspicious of strangers, we're protective of our territory, we have a preference for being part of a dominance hierarchy, we altruistically defend our "group", we're inquisitive and intelligent, we don't like to be crowded, the males throw things at each other when in conflict, the females attempt to defuse the situation, and we're very unsettled when there is uncertainty or transition in leadership.

On the plus side, we're more evolved than apes, so we're smarter, have language, have a better capacity for abstract reasoning, can often predict cause and effect, generally have a some socialized concept of good and evil, right and wrong, and are the most adaptable as well as the most dangerous monkey on the planet.

So, if things go badly, we may well revert to our base instincts as listed above, but there is always the hope that our more-evolved selves with come to the foreground (except for the "most dangerous" part).

-- Nathan (, May 02, 1999.

Crisis come in many flavors and it would be interesting to think about that and how people react in each kind. In the USA people tend to be giving in a pinch. The negatives come out if things go on for any length of time (this said for all but urban contexts). Urban situations are different as well.

Y2K precidents maybe an earthquake? Unpredictable, people get lazy in preparations, hits hard and fast, leaves people disoriented? There is foreknowledge in this least people know that something is going to happen so that is different.

Pray for your neighbors, for your town and state. By God's grace and mercy alone we will get through this easier than harder..and much of that DOES have to do with people's attitudes and relationships with each other. He is the only one who can influence the mass of humanity that we live in. Different places will behave differently and this doesn't neccesarily have to do with the level of urbanization per se.

Will we have a 'together' attitude or a 'myself' attitude?

God help us in this time of need.

-- David (C.D@I.N), May 02, 1999.

As a buddhist,"I" feel that it is in everybody's nature to progress toward a compassionate fully realized state free of mental stains(bad habits,misperceptions,and the suffering caused by clinging to misperceptions). However come y2k,I don't feel that the common person's going to be operating fron the desire to reilize their highest spiritual potential,rather all too many will be operating from their most irrational neurosis and fears.attachment to the self,after all is one of the greatest detriments to spirituality,and how much time does the average american spend developing their spirituality in times of crises,here in this road-rage nation. When a crises happens,people revert to their most basic level of training.If they have no training they'll most likely act in a manner dictated by their habits/neurosis. I know very few people here in america who've fasted for 3 days or so,and then it was a spiritual practice.Your average norman rockwell whitebread american would probably react differently after not being ABLE to eat for 3 days.Yes I've been pushed out of snowbanks many times by helpful americans,but that helpful veneer presupposes being fed and warm

-- zoobie (zoobie@zoob.zab), May 02, 1999.

CT, I should have been more specific. When you exclude rape and murder from the numbers, the violent crime rate is lower in the US. (I think armned robbery might also be in a separate category.) But if you include rape and murder, then the violent crime rate is lower in the UK. This is why you find only about 80 murders in London (poop. 12m) and over 2000 in New York City (pop. 8m). I did note that violent crime is on the rise in the UK.

Here's an article anti-gun control advocates will find of interest:

Gun Control Experiment Failing In Great Britain - Gun and knife control in Britain fails as crime surges beyond U.S. rate.

LONDON, ENGLAND-Anti-gun advocates point to Great Britain as a crime-free society-the perfect model progun-control state. [If gun control worked to reduce crime, countries with no guns would have little crime.] While Great Britain's violent crime rate is lower than that of the U.S., the incidence of violent crime in England and Wales has more than doubled in the past ten years during which gun and knife control laws have been on the books. Britain's systematic removal of all self-protection weapons from its citizens has made it nearly impossible for people to defend themselves. Take burglary in Britain. Gun-control advocates in the U.S. don't acknowledge it, but the burglary rate in Britain far exceeds the U.S. rate. Its geographical size and population is considerably smaller than America's. But in the U.S., burglars generally avoid occupied homes because at least half of U.S. homes have guns. In Britain, however, burglars attack homes when a victim is present, knowing the residents will be unarmed. Prime Minister Tony Blair strongly supported the June 12, 384 to 181 vote that completely BANNED all firearms in the U.K. Gun-control was a major plank in the Labor Party platform. Denying that unarmed citizens are easy prey for armed criminals is part of being a Liberal in Britain. [The main reason we need guns is NOT for hunting food, NOT for defending ourselves from just burglars, but most importantly to defend ourselves against TYRANNY both foreign and domestic.] Why can't the elitists in London, New York and Washington, D.C. understand the nature of crime? From Jack the Ripper to Son of Sam to Jeffrey Dahmer, all committed heinous acts of torture and murder. But not one of them ever preyed upon a potential victim who was armed.

-- Old Git (, May 02, 1999.

Thanks to all of you, This has turned into an interesting thread and some very astute observations were made. Those of you who have followed my posts in the past know that I try to respond to each of your answers. This is not going to be possible for this thread since there are already so many thoughtful posts and my time online is so short today, and for the near-term future. Hopefully I will be able to get back here late tonight and discuss some of the many good ideas presented above. In the meantime, keep pushing the envelope and shaking the tree!

More comments and thoughts always welcome, Rob.

-- Rob Michaels (, May 02, 1999.

Since human nature manifests itself differently in different situations, I'd like to take a more extensive look at similar events in the past.

Here are the characteristics of Y2K that I think of as having a probability close to 1.0:

* Effects will be global in extent * Societies which are highly dependent on computers for the most basic goods and services (eg food production & distribution, water delivery) will be more greatly effected than societies in which such services generally don't have much to do with computers (eg a hunter/gatherer tribe that has little contact with the industial world would probably benefit from catostrophic Y2K effects and might feel no effects from milder Y2K disruptions) * In the US, relatively mild effects, such as economic recession, will inspire increased federal government interference in the economy * In the US, moderately severe Y2K effects will inspire draconian government interference in all aspects of residents' lives, including confiscation by the federa govt of weapons & stored supplies (see, for example Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111, 63 in which Sup. Ct. held that federal govt has the right under interstate commerce clause of Const. to regulate how much wheat a farmer grows to feed his own livestock. This was under FDR in 1942. Agents of Ag.Adj.Agency could come onto a person's land and destroy crops, kill animals, etc.) * Severe Y2K effects, such as long-term shut down of oil refineries and chemical plants would result in total disruption of economy, famine, fall of federal govt, etc.

You have to look at each case separately.

Precedents for the mild case might include the depression on the 1930's (there are certain parallels, such as unrealistically high stock prices and a sort of euphoric mood of general population)

Precedents for the moderate case might be a hybrid between WWII conditions in US and WWII conditions in Soviet Union.

Precedents for the severe case might include the sacking of Rome by the Gauls and the Tower of Babel story in the Bible; maybe the recent break up of the Soviet Union. In these cases, large states with more or less centralized government broke up into smaller states (with fighting, of course, to determine who would control smaller states). Could this be the sort of thing we might expect in US if Y2K effects are severe?


-- Gal Gardner (, May 02, 1999.

Old Git: a thought or two on the prevalence of violence in America.

Successful aggression by the individual is typically honored in this culture. The United States was begun by violent revolution. The westward expansion was accomplished by a series of wars against the native peoples of the land. The Union was preserved through a civil war.

Look at Jesse James, Wyatt Earp, Butch Cassidy, Alvin York, John Dillinger, and Audie Murphy; surely you can add many more to this list. Good or bad, all became legends in America's history through violent exploits.

In films, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Arnold Schwarzenegger portray the ultra-macho hero who destroys his opponents. People (mostly men) who relate to this sort of behavior must feel that the hero compels immense respect from those around him,and in these modern times respect from others seems all too frequently to be in short supply. In the most violent American subculture, that of the inner city, a man may feel entirely justified in using deadly force if he is "dissed" (dis-respected).

Like Bill Murray's character in the movie "Stripes" declared, "We're Americans! We've been kickin' ass for 200 years!"

just so nobody gets the wrong impression-- I'm a longtime gun enthusiast and a member of the National Rifle Association. I practice frequently at the pistol range and I will deal with any intruders, foreign or domestic.

-- Max Dixon (, May 02, 1999.

Yes, Rob does tend to bring out the philosopher-wannabe in us, doesn't he?

I have trouble thinking too deeply about the goodness or evilness of human character under stress in this 90s decade, when thousands of idiots/sub-teens/ideologues have been turned loose with automatic rifles on innocent civilians/neighbors/relatives. One clip can undo many lifetimes of Franciscan saintliness.

Just the statistics of it seem different in this era. (An earlier thread pointed to the difference in weapon-firing likelihood in this century's wars vs. earlier times.) People will "do" you almost randomly, it seems, and the only safety in hard times that many preparers are counting on is: stay home/ stay armed.

Zoob -- as a buddhist, you must be speculatin' what previous lifetimes of societal breakdown we've had that resemble this one. How about that Babel one for the Christians? Maybe Atlantis goin' under? Any guesses?

Anyway, not to leave y'all spiritually depressed, I'll go with a mix of Pascal's wager, plus a tiny bit of personal "paranormal" experience, that says:

We are souls inhabiting bodies. It's probably not a random universe. It probably matters what we do. Jesus and God (and the rest of 'em) are signposts for our moral compass. I can invoke awareness, and maybe protective guidance, from the positive universe around me. Bullet or long life span awaiting me, I've got to keep on doing my best, no matter what others around me do.

-- jor-el (, May 02, 1999.

Here is what the ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius had to say on this subject:

Mencius said, "All men have this heart that, when they see another man suffer, they suffer, too.

"What do I mean, 'All men have this heart, that when they see another man suffer, they suffer too?' Well, take an example: a man looks out; a child is about to fall into a well. No matter who the man is, his heart will flip, flop, and he will feel the child's predicament; and not because he expects to get something out of it from the child's parents, or because he wants praise from his neighbors, associates, or friends, or because he is afraid of a bad name, or anything like that.

"From this we can see that it is not human not to have a heart that sympathizes with pain.

-- Runway Cat (, May 02, 1999.

Runaway Cat,

It has been years since I have read Meng-tzu (or Mencius), er, the translations by Columbia's old orientalists. What good stuff! Alas, Mencius, that starry-eyed mommy's boy, was not to have a lasting influence on Chinese culture. It's too bad, isn't it? Anyway, Master Kung (or Confucius) was a little more clear headed in his analysis of human nature. Unfortunately, as his political life was short, so was his posthumous reign as the philosopher. The weeds overcame the sedges, Chu Hsi was to lament.

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (, May 02, 1999.

Correction: Chu Yuan lamented and Chu Hsi was vindicated; he found that people inclined more toward the bad than the good. And he called himself a gentleman?!

-- Stan Faryna (, May 02, 1999.

ONCe uPoN A tiME MAny yEArS AGo diETeR FeLL THrouGH THE icE!!!!!! YeS!!!!! aLONg cAME A heLPFuL sTRangER WHo risKED His lIFE TO saVE DIEtER, Is thAT NOt so??????? naTUrLicH!!!!!!

wHEN DIeteR Was saVED And bACK oN DRY laND DIetER TriED To rePAy suCH A dEEd WiTH MonEY!!!!!! WhaT?????? aS SOoN aS DIEteR'S WAllEt wAS IN dieTEr's HANd thE IDIot puLLeD A kniFE anD RObbED DIEteR!!!!!!! sO DIEteR SHot hIM On thE SPoT!!!!!!!! thIS Is huMAN NatUrE, Is iT NoT??????? THat iS WHy diETer iS NOt huMaN, TheY Are haTEFuL EViL devILs WhO WALk liTTlE Old LadieS ACrOss tHE STReeT!!!!!! INfidELS!!!!!

-- Dieter (, May 02, 1999.

Lots of specific points to ponder:

Must we, as Yan suggested, learn to be good? Then there is accountability as a factor to consider, as Tricia pointed out, and the differences in behavior between individuals vs. crowds. (This reminded me of the book "Extraordinary Delusions and the Madness of Crowds".) CT 's "extremes" or scenarios and corresponding assumptions, as well as the points made by Stan, and Nathan's "base instincts" are all worthy of further consideration. David rightfully brings up the correlation between reactions and duration of the problems, and Zoobie discusses an important, and all too frequently ignored aspect, that of spirituality. As far the related discussion between CT, Old Git, and Max, regarding the cultural aspects, this too is a piece of the puzzle which I tend to think of as a "modifier" to our underlying human nature traits. Where the paranormal fits in, which I think was mentioned somewhere, I leave to others.

GG: Your post was especially interesting to me in that you actually attempted to answer the original question with specific examples of past situations. I agree with the idea that dependence on technology at various levels in different societies leads to varying potential impacts, and also agree about the extent being global. The precedents you cited for each case were to me especially relevant, and got directly to what I was thinking about when I started this thread. Thank You.

Jor-el: Somehow I had a feeling you would find your way to this thread :) All that any of us can do is our best - which I think requires that elusive culmination or unity of our body, mind, and spirit.

RC: What a pleasant surprise! Are you back with us? I haven't been on the forum for a couple of weeks myself. Anyway, great to see your post - you have no idea how much I (and others) have missed them. Thanks for this one and keep well always. As a postscript, you may find a question I asked about a month ago called "Why is it that we get some things but not other things?" worth a glance -since, if I remember correctly, the subject is one that has interested you. It is in the MISC. section of the archives, along with all of my other threads this year.

Dieter: LOL. If I had known it was you that fell through the ice..., well, I still would have helped anyway, or at least made up an on the spot Haiku! I offer you the following limerick, Oh Great InHumAn Teacher:


Had I known that it was you,

In icy waters fallen through,

Still I think I would have helped,

As you cried out with a yelp,

"FoOLiSh InfidEL", Boo Hoo!

-- Rob Michaels (, May 02, 1999.

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