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We would be hard put to find anyone who thought that this world is so perfect that it cannot improve. Most people would like a better world, a society of justice, unity and peace. However, when any proposal for the construction of such a society is posed, many people counter that it is impossible. When asked why, the most common arguments put forth have to do with the nature of man and society.
The purpose for this presentation is to refute popular beliefs by which selfishness, greed, conflict, aggression, and violence define human nature, and to show that they are no more than options that have become predominant in certain cultures, especially in the Western world that has imposed itself on today’s world. It proposes that the roots of this cultural stock are to be found in medieval Europe, which has gained control of a large part of the world through conquest, colonization and cultural hegemony throughout the past five centuries.
We will see how the arguments that justify and legitimize this culture have been built –through science, philosophy, religion, and the arts– a full-blown myth and belief system regarding the naturalness and inevitability of contest, struggle and hostility among humans, and how this myth has been institutionalized to form our modern social structures.
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