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“A philosophical look at the history of our species which alternated between fascinating and frightening . . . like reading Dean Koontz or Stephen King.” —Rocky Mountain News
The Lucifer Principle is a revolutionary work that explores the intricate relationships among genetics, human behavior, and culture to put forth the thesis that “evil” is a by-product of nature’s strategies for creation and that it is woven into our most basic biological fabric.
In a sweeping narrative that moves lucidly among sophisticated scientific disciplines and covers the entire span of the earth’s—as well as mankind’s—history, Howard Bloom challenges some of our most popular scientific assumptions. Drawing on evidence from studies of the most primitive organisms to those on ants, apes, and humankind, the author makes a persuasive case that it is the group, or “superorganism,” rather than the lone individual that really matters in the evolutionary struggle. But biology is not destiny, and human culture is not always the buffer to our most primitive instincts we would like to think it is. In these complex threads of thought lies the Lucifer Principle, and only through understanding its mandates will we able to avoid the nuclear crusades that await us in the twenty-first century.
“A revolutionary vision of the relationship between psychology and history, The Lucifer Principle will have a profound impact on our concepts of human nature. It is astonishing that a book of such importance could be such a pleasure to read.”—Elizabeth F. Loftus, author of Memory
The ``Lucifer Principle'' is freelance journalist Bloom's theory that evil-which manifests in violence, destructiveness and war-is woven into our biological fabric. A corollary is that evil is a by-product of nature's strategy to move the world to greater heights of organization and power as national or religious groups follow ideologies that trigger lofty ideals as well as base cruelty. In an ambitious, often provocative study, Bloom applies the ideas of sociobiology, ethology and the ``killer ape'' school of anthropology to the broad canvas of history, with examples ranging from Oliver Cromwell's reputed pleasure in killing and raping to Mao Tse-tung's bloody Cultural Revolution, India's caste system and Islamic fundamentalist expansion. Bloom says Americans suffer ``perceptual shutdown'' that blinds them to the United States' downward slide in the pecking order of nations. His use of concepts like pecking order, memes (self-replicating clusters of ideas), the ``neural net'' or group mind of the social ``superorganism'' seem more like metaphors than explanatory tools.