Prime Evils is a unique humanities course. It holds up a mirror to the folly of the human heart via a sweeping overview of human history, peppered with surprising anecdotes and examples from all periods of history including modern times. Even Banksy and Stephen King get a look in!
Dr Moore presents the lessons of history through the lens of the seven deadly sins: Wrath, Avarice, Envy, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony and Pride. She shows how corrosive these vices have been to civilizations through the ages and reflects on the unchanging nature of the human heart. While technology has advanced and we have become more ‘civilised’, we have consistently failed to learn from past disasters because of the evils built into our very nature which repeatedly drive conflict, decay, inhuman behaviour, excess and self-centredness.
"Because human life is meant for happiness, people will strive for peace of soul, unless they decide to make a bargain with Satan: “Evil, be thou my good.”…“So farewell hope / Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost."
- John Milton
"History proves that societies have routinely justified and implemented moral madness with clever theories and practices to rationalize radical social reconstruction. George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984 illustrates a collective policy of cognitive dissonance and “doublethink” (normalizing and accepting contradictory beliefs) used to ensure an obedient populace who believe that ignorance is strength, war is peace, freedom is slavery, and subscribe to the "2+2=5" theory. But erasing the line between right and wrong turns an entire culture into a cacophonous asylum."
- Maxine Moore
Dr Moore showcases the timeless truths of human nature via what she calls the ‘riffs’ of history: psychological tropes that again and again have driven both historical figures and common people to the wilder shores of unreason in pursuit of their own ends, for the love of wealth, in order to dominate others, from hatred or greed, or just for the sheer hell of it.
This course answers the question ‘What are we?’ with unflinching clarity by taking us on a tour of the darker side of human nature and showing us its devastating results down the ages.
Introduction to the universal truths and predictably clear patterns in human history, philosophy, and the arts. Human nature does not change. Our worldly temptations, appetites, passions for power & possessions have no expiration date. The cycles of good and evil, comedy and tragedy, unfailingly repeat.
How Envy (poisonous by-product of success) destroyed Republics of Golden Age Greece and Renaissance Italy.
Lust & Gluttony in Industrial Revolution & post-modern Consumer Age.
Illustrations of the brutal culture of Pride in Imperial Rome and Fascist Europe.
Avarice: Super-predators of European Colonial Imperialism
Wrath: War & revolution (Paradise Lost; Protestant Revolt; Reign of Terror).
Sloth: Suicide of Ancient Rome & "Twilight of the Christian West".