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The Philosopher Who Became a School Shooter -- The Paradox of "Voluntary Natural Selection"

Updated: Feb 22

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The Destructive Force of "Anti-Humanist Darwinism"

While ideologies steeped in hate are rightfully condemned, a lesser-known philosophy lurks in the shadows - Anti-Humanist Darwinism. It's not merely about hating others, as in the case of misantrophy. It's about despising humans to the point of welcoming one's/their own annihilation.

Nazism paints a horrifying picture of racial prejudice, but anti-humanist Darwinism surpasses it in its burning hatred for all of humanity. It's not fueled by the warped notion of racial superiority, but by a nihilistic conviction that existence, in all its forms, is inherently meaningless and enslaving.

This philosophy doesn't reside in dusty academic tomes; it can manifest in the most gruesome ways. Take Pekka-Eric Auvinen, a Finnish student who saw himself as a self-proclaimed "dictator of his own life" and a "natural selector" of life and death. Driven by his extreme distaste for humanity, he viewed society as a pointless, oppressive system. He took up arms and tragically ended the lives of eight innocent people, including his own. 13 survivors where injured.

Auvinen's act serves as a grim reminder of the potential consequences when the theory of natural selection is wielded as a weapon. He saw himself as an enforcer of his own brand of Social Darwinism, empowered to judge and eliminate whomever he deemed unfit. But here's the crucial point: in his nihilistic worldview, even his own existence was expendable. He was merely a pawn in his self-designed game of destruction, which ironically lead to his own suicide by gunshot.

Anti-humanist Darwinism transcends the realm of mere spite. It's a descent into the abyss of nihilism, where the importance of existence itself is deemed as false. To combat this toxic ideology, we must not only challenge its distorted logic but also reaffirm the inherent value of life, and not take natural selection into our own hands (as that would be, well, not exactly "natural").

By acknowledging the dangers of such philosophies and promoting understanding and compassion of people and ideas we've yet to fully understand, we can ensure that acts like Auvinen's remain remain a rarity, a historic of the destructive potential disregard for human life and their potential.

The Tragedy of Pekka-Eric Auvinen: A Critical Reflection

Pekka-Eric Auvinen, a Finnish student and self-made philosopher, tragically chose to unleash violence upon his school in 2007, driven by an extreme disdain for humanity. Identifying as the "dictator of his own life," Auvinen sought to disrupt collective functionality, hoping to inspire others to follow suit. This destructive act claimed eight lives, including that of the school principal, before Auvinen took his own life.

In contemplating the disturbing incident, it raises questions about the misuse of the concept of "natural selection." The act of killing others in the name of evolutionary concepts becomes paradoxical, as it ultimately jeopardizes one's own survival, often leading to imprisonment or execution by authorities. Whose to say who is such determinator between life and death?

Such extreme selections are not new in human history, as gladiator games were defined by earning victory with the opponent's death. However, the justification of that was our need to be entertained. Can we say that the need to be entertained weighs less than the "need to select those who are fit to remain alive"? Probably not, as that voluntary need doesn't exactly exist as the need to be entertained.

While philosophical pondering is generally considered harmless, Auvinen's case stands out as a rare instance where contemplation transforms into violence. This tragedy emphasizes the potential dangers of unchecked philosophical beliefs, pushing individuals towards radical actions under the guise of a perceived "reason."

It's essential to recognize that acts of violence are not exclusive to any particular belief system, as demonstrated by religious terrorism (as even buddhism can lead to violence). It is challenging and often burdernsome to convince a philosopher with no sense of open-mindness to deviate from their convictions, which indicates the role of philosophy in shaping one's determined mindset.

Auvinen's motive, rooted in a profoundly-distorted interpretation of natural selection, highlights the tragic consequences when philosophical reflections turn extremist (and of extremism in general). You can use this article to critically examine the complex relationship that can rise between philosophy, extremism, and the human mind, as society is confined to stay vigilant against the potential implications of unchecked ideologies, never to stem from a vacuum but from itself.

Why "Voluntary Selection" is a Dangerous Misconception

The thing about natural selection is, it doesn't have grand goals or objectives. It's a blind process, driven by competition and survival, not conscious intention. Animals don't get "beaten up" by stronger foes because the strong subscribe to some Darwinian philosophy; they fight for resources like food, water, and mates, driven by basic instincts and biological imperatives.

This misunderstanding of natural selection was arguably Pekka-Eric Auvinen's greatest mistake, leading him to take his own life and eight innocent others. He mistakenly connected the survival of the fittest with some personal responsibility to eliminate the "weak," which resulted with the tragic Jokela school shooting.

However, this "might makes right" fails when you yourself lack the power, and not just logic, to back up your morals. A school student isn't weak because he's a school student, and not having a bulletproof vest in a shooting doesn't make you any less worthy to live. You only happened to be a "natural selector" because you came to shcool with a gun. The idea of "voluntary natural selection" is not only nonsensical, but also incredibly dangerous.

True strength lies in empathy, resilience, and authority, not solely in the ability to wield a firearm.

Therefore, while I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to prioritize safety and learn basic self-defense, we've no reason to overestimate the dangerous myth of self-styled "natural selection" that can grow in the minds of extremists. An extremist can always be among us, it's only a question of whether or not we've the awareness to prevent their dark philosophy from coming into fruition.

Questioning societal norms is crucial, but let's do it with critical thinking and empathy, not with guns and misguided Darwinian fantasies. People don't deserve to die just because you see things differently.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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