Friday, July 28, 2017

Howard Bloom - The Lucifer Principle (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995) ***

In "The Lucifer Principle", self-proclaimed scientist Howard Bloom investigates the power of evil: its  reason to exist, its value, its biological, psychologial and social causes and purpose, and luckily also how to deal with it. As with any of Bloom's books, you get an incredible display of borrowed knowledge, from biology, paleontology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, history, economy, psychology and any other "ology" you can think of. He is the guy with the big picture vision, who identifies patterns and analogies to substantiate his thesis, regardless of whether these patterns actually exist, or regardless of whether there is any causal relationship between these grand analogies he identifies.

In his view, evil is an inherent part of our life. It's part of everything that happens. It's the power of destruction versus the power of creation at work in everything that's taking place.

Like in his other books, he has an optimistic view on the future. The global superorganism to which we increasingly belong, will try to find ways to deal with evil, and the former tribal fights over resources (land, live stock, women), the deepest savagery that drives humanity, will be turned to positive outcomes through the power of imagination, the new world that we can imagine to live in one day.

Even if Bloom connects what should not be connected, or even if he jumps to conclusions, or even if he too eagerly wants to prove that he is right - instead of taking the scientific method to question his own theory - the sheer amount of interesting facts make this a highly interesting book, which will surely challenge your current ideas. If only for that reason, it's worth reading.

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