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The Law of Sacrifice
Richard A. Koenigsberg
“Science is organized around a limited number of concepts (or “laws”), that account for everything we see in the world around us.” (Hazen and Trefil, 2009).

“Newton developed compact laws that apply to an immense assortment of situations. His three Laws of Motion—like all fundamental laws that govern science—seem simple, almost simplistic. The deepest insights of the human mind often have this characteristic.” (Hazen and Trefil, 2009).

The ideas for which we die are real

  1. Cultures create or invent ideological concepts that they elevate into “absolutes”— worshipped as the essence of society. But how do people persuade themselves that the ideas their society has constructed are real?
  2. Franco Fornari hypothesizes that war is the spectacular establishment of a general human situation whereby “death assumes absolute value.” The ideas for which we die have a right to truth—because “death becomes a demonstrative process.”
  3. Beliefs become real to the extent that people die for them. Sacrificial death “gives witness” to the depth of devotion, becoming the source of the truth—and power—of the idea.
  4. The nature of the idea or belief or entity for which people sacrifice their lives is fungible. The ideal might be called preserving the Union, or France, or the British Empire, or Germany, or the Emperor, Communism, Allah, a Tamil homeland, or “freedom and democracy.”
  5. The ideas or entities—the nature of the “sacred object” (Atran, et al., 2012) for which people die differs—the mechanism for validating the idea is the same. The sacred object comes alive to the extent that human beings die in its name.
  6. The concept of “killing” is subordinate to the concept of “dying.” The purpose of acts of “aggression” (killing in war, genocide or terrorism) is to get others to die for the idea that is worshipped by one’s own group. One kills members of other groups—so that they will die for one’s own group’s sacred ideal.