“Two Races: Ugly and Beautiful”
Question: How was the emerging notion of race tied to 18th-century scientific thought?
Nell Irvin Painter: For Linnaeus—and the great version of his taxonomy was 1758—he did categorize people, so but he categorized them according to where they were from, so they were categorized, there were four different varieties, and they were categorized by their continent. They did have continental temperaments, so people from Africa were flighty and people from Europe were thoughtful, but their names had to do with where they were from. So Johann Friedrich Blumenbach writing in… actually publishing on the 11th of April, 1795 enlarged Linnaeus’ four categories into five and called one of them Caucasian. Note that he is calling them varieties, not races. Race is… He wrote in Latin and so the translation becomes races and races is the nineteenth-century word. So for Blumenbach at the very end of the eighteenth century it was already clear that these varieties shade from one to the other imperceptibly. He said you can’t draw a clear line that all of this kind of person will be on one side and all of that kind of person will be on another, and he also offered his readers several different numbers of varieties. He said you could choose. For instance, he said I know a person who says there’re only two. He didn’t name that person, but we know who it was—Christoph Meiners, who was his colleague—and Meiners’ two races were ugly and beautiful.
Race is a 19th-century concept. In the 18th century, the division of human "varieties" was just as arbitrary—but a little more creative.
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Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
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