Enter your email to receive the LSS Newsletter:
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).


  1. Cultures create or invent ideological concepts and elevate these concepts into "absolutes"—embraced as the essence of their societies. But how do people persuade themselves that these ideological constructs are true or 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. Ideologies become real to the extent that people die for them. Sacrificial death "gives witness" to the depth of devotion. Death becomes a principle of verification—testifying to the truth and power of the idea.
  4. The nature of the ideas or beliefs or entities for which people sacrifice their lives is fungible. People have died in the name of "preserving the Union," or the British Empire, or the German Reich, or the Emperor (of Japan), for Communism, for Allah, for the Tamil homeland, or for "freedom and democracy."
  5. While the nature of the "sacred object" 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. A society kills members of another group—so that members of this group will be persuading of "the truth." Collective forms of violence are undertaken in order to establish the truth or validity of a sacred ideal.