Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us about the Origins of Good and Evil

Sunday, March 16th 2014 at 11:00 am
Center for Inquiry-L.A., 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Hollywood, CA 90027 (two blocks west of Vermont, across from Barnsdall Park)

       Humans are a uniquley violent species, by far the most violent animal on the planet. They are the supreme predator on land; in the ocean, it's the orca, and then there are other top predators such as wolves, bears, and the big cats. While humans kill other animals on a gigantic scale, animals rarely kill humans. Our species kills over 100,000,000 sharks and more than a million crocodiles every year, but there are only a few human deaths, mostly by accident. And no orca has ever killed a human in the wild.

     So what happened to us? How did we get to be this uniquely violent species? Author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, an honorary research associate in the department of philosophy at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, will answer those questions as he discusses his new book, Beasts: What Animals Can Teach Us About the Origins of Good and Evil. Animals rarely kill their own, bit just in the 20th century alone humans have slaughtered more than 200 million of their own kind. For almost their entire existence, humans were just like other top predators; they were not apart from the natural order. Then, about 10,000 years ago, something happened. We started on a path that led us to become the violent, cruel, and destructive species we are today. This was a departure from our essential nature.

Masson, an ex-psychoanalyst and former director of the Freud Archives, is the author of numerous bestselling, critically acclaimed books on animal emotions, including Dogs Never Lie about Love and When Elephants Weep.

This lecture will be repeated at 4:30 p.m. at the Costa Mesa Community Center, 1845 Park Ave. in Costa Mesa. Hosted by the CFI Community of Orange County.   

Friends of the Center: FREE
Public: $8
Students: $4