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The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History by [Bloom, Howard]
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Length: 482 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Pop-culture Renaissance man Bloom-former PR agent for the likes of Prince, writer for Omni magazine, and so on-seeks to explain why civilizations rise and fall, why nations go to war, and why violence and aggression don't disappear with the ascendancy of culture. Big task. The "Lucifer Principle" is based on the metaphors of the "meme" (ideas that arise across cultures and epochs) and "the pecking order" (from chickens to nations, and all in between). This sort of slippery extrapolation is at once cleverly neat and maddeningly suspicious, and the pitfalls of trying to unite animal biology, genetics, cultural history, anthropology, and philosophy are apparent in that sundry causes and effects are all lumped together as equals: rats in a cage do this, "primitive" cultures do that, Sumerians did a third thing, so therefore we do this. The 800 footnotes are symptomatic: sources range from the Information Please Almanac to a textbook on surgical nursing and a sprinkling of audiobooks. This book falls somewhere between Paul Kennedy's Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (LJ 12/87) and John Naisbitt's Megatrends (LJ 10/1/82). For general audiences.
Mark L. Shelton, Worcester, Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product details

  • File Size: 925 KB
  • Print Length: 482 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (November 1, 2013)
  • Publication Date: November 1, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00H128IXQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,019 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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