Still strange bedfellows: Human evil and human progress

Why is there such an ironic disconnect between our species' evident capacity to move forward in rocketry, music, and medicine, and our inability to curtail terror, genocide and murder?

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September 18, 2014 12:12
ISIS militants

ISIS militants. (photo credit: ARAB MEDIA)

 
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Each day's news reveals a curious and stunningly grotesque juxtaposition. On the very same day that scientists and entrepreneurs choose to unveil yet another batch of remarkable innovations, the Islamic State (IS) or some similar group of  global bandits, proudly announces its latest beheading. At first glance, of course, there would appear to be absolutely no meaningful linkages between these very different kinds of event, but: (1) there are connections; and (2) these connections are deeply significant, and utterly primal.

This is because they have to do with exactly who we are, and what we are, as human beings.
There arises an unavoidable question. What precisely is wrong with us? Why should such a conspicuously smart species remain so barbarous? Why has the lethal chasm between intelligence and compassion been permitted to become so glaring? Mightn't we have already been better able to harness the former, in order to enlarge the latter?

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