“Have not I seen cases like that? And how have they been brought to it? Why, they’ve all come to it like that. Ugh! But what does it matter? That’s as it should be, they tell us. A certain percentage, they tell us, must every year go … that way … to the devil, I suppose, so that the rest may remain chaste, and not be interfered with. A percentage! What splendid words they have; they are so scientific, so consolatory.… Once you’ve said ‘percentage,’ there’s nothing more to worry about. If we had any other word … maybe we might feel more uneasy.…”
Social evolution, as opposed to natural evolution, is where we collectively develop social consciousness and strive towards higher levels of existence. Some would argue that pain is inevitable to humanity. To counter that, in the words of Charlotte Perkins, “We become socially conscious largely through pain, and as we begin to see how much of the pain is wholly of our own causing we are overcome with shame. But the right way for society to face its past is the same as for the individual; to see where it was wrong and stop it--but to waste no time and no emotion over past misdeeds.”
While pain on the personal front is unavoidable to humanity, pain which is imposed on the less fortunate is avoidable. Again, does man have the right to judge another man based on his nature? Who are we to choose the ‘less fortunate’, the ‘certain percentage’?
For those who have such quandaries, reading Fyodor Dostoevsky, is like stepping into another world. In ‘Crime and Punishment’, every thought Raskolnikov harbors is invigorating, and sometimes, it pushes one to the precipice---as one sees a dark side of humanity, and truth.
Inveterate Impracticality---which is a term Fyodor coined---means this to me: We have the incurable belief that the present human condition is all we are capable of, that the rich and the poor will always exist. That it’s impractical to create a socially conscious world.
On that note, here’s a link to a modern-day adaptation of Fyodor’s ‘Notes from the Underground’. It largely captures the essence of the book, and sets one’s mind thinking… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBmdCFS2cOg
And I came across this essay, ‘Our Androcentric Culture, or The Man-Made World’, and found it rather interesting. The essay covers a large labyrinth of ideas, centering around the concepts of Crime and Punishment. This is the link http://englishatheist.org/andro11.shtml