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Philosophy and History

History of the human prohibitions

Andy Warhol chaise electriqueThe humanity is destined to reach its perfection.

To crush gradually some instincts, and this way, differ from the other primates, the man had gradually to declare illegitimate some acts "justifiable" in the nature, as the predation, the dominion, the hoarding of the privileges etc...

The creation of prohibitions is thus one of fundamental bases of the humanity, one of the acts founders of the transformation animal / human.

The system of prohibitions is based on the laws of nature. It evolves permanently to bring to the foreground, slowly but certainly, our humanity. Between what forbids the dominant chimpanzee to the chimpanzee of lower position and the multitude of laws managing the human world today, a large number of stages were necessary.

1/ The taboo

One of the very first forms of prohibition on human acts which we know is called taboo.

It is about a magic-religious ban which breaking entails a supernatural punishment.

The system of the taboos can be considered as one of very first acts which separated the human acts between "right” or "wrong", "authorized" or "forbidden”.

2/ The religious morality and the law

With the arrival of the main civilizations (India, Egypt, China etc.) and of the writing, two new mechanisms of compression of tendencies were born: the religious morality and the law. Both led the system of prohibitions towards a written and definitive form.

These two new tools of compression of the abusing tendencies added to the previous one, to oblige the man to control always more his instincts. On one side the main religions imposed the morality, in other words, the distinction between the good and the evil. On the other side, the first forms of government, the first forms of administration, began to conclude the bases of what would become current legislations, civil law, distinction of the human acts between legal and illegal (the most ancient written law discovered until this day seems to be the code of Hammurabi).

During some millenniums, a group of prohibitions in which got involved the taboos, the religious morality and the legislative law, united to humanize the human being up to the point where we are now.

Progressive laicism of the prohibitions

Throughout this civilizing process, some taboos and moral prescriptions went out of use and disappeared.

The legislative law, on the contrary, did not stop developing. Today, taboos and religious morality still exist but they are more and more replaced by the laic prohibitions. Gradually, the civil law (with its concepts of legal and illegal) takes the step on the religious law (with its concepts of the good and the evil), too subjective and making feel guilty. The religious system gives up gradually its function of "condensing the instincts” to the laic world.

Obviously, this period of transmission of power is unstable and chaotic. The religious morality disappears little by little but the laic laws are not still enough effective to replace them.

From the taboo to the consciousness

Cagnacci vanitéSince its creation, the system of prohibitions constantly improved.

At first constituted by taboos which it was necessary to respect at the risk of curses or disasters, it grew rich religious and philosophic prohibitions (moral and ethical) then laic prohibitions - the law, the rights…

The evolution of the system of prohibitions requires the work of the moralists, the legislators, the judges, the policemen, but also the participation of contraveners.

Indeed, the contravener - in other words: the one who, to satisfy his tendencies and selfish or clan interests, breaks or gets around the civil code, the moral code or the code of ethics of the humanity – takes also part, but by the negative way, in the evolution of the justice, the law and the human perfection.

If the contravener is the instrument of the evil, he is also one of the tools of the good and the author of his own disappearance.