The very dark side of human nature

There was an evil inclination in people affected by the plague to infect deliberately others during the Great Plague in England (1665/66). Physicians led numerous discussion at that time to find the reason for this sinful tendency.



Some attributed it to the nature of the disease similarly to the madness of dogs. One might have been prompted to become so malign to anybody as if this had been rooted in their own personality.

The deprevation of human character may have been also blamed. It tends to crave that all of its own species be as miserable as itself. More fortunate fellows are unbearable for it.

The boundless desperation invading the terminally ill minds might have been the reason. They could reach such a confused condition that they became careless of others and even of themselves.

Although I am inclined to choose the most rational explanation, another disgraceful event has made me reassess my choice.

During that period, European nations broke all commercial relations with England for sanitary considerations. However, one particular European nation could not resist the templation to draw more profits. They bought British products from England’s parts free from plague and transported them around Europe as if their own. This clandestine trade endangered even their own country’s health.

I think that the conception of humanity, which desperately strives to differenciate itself from any other species,  must have conceited in the mind of some early benefactors of our civilisation. The universal declaration of human rights, the abolishment of slavery and the establishment of the rules of justice were significant steps towards a philosophical idea of a noble, conscious and monogynous creature. 

Earlier, I used to focus on our failures to comply with that conceit. I could not forgive our mistakes eroding the repute of such a specific species. Recently I have realised that idea is not our point of departure at all, instead it is our dream destination. While cursing our shortcomings, I should acknowledge the huge distance we have already made and the struggle to go on.



Source: A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe


  1. Very thought provoking. I think our capabilities of evil and wrong doing are directly correlated with our degree of happiness. Mostly miserable malcontented people will be more capable of wrong doing and vice versa

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  2. I have recently been reading about parasitic infection and the unbelievable ability of microscopic organisms to control the psychology and behaviours of large mammals such as rats, cats and humans as well as many other complex animals much larger than themselves. The ultimate aim of these parasites is to ensure their own survival, often at the expense of ( parasites eg.) their hosts or in co-operation ( symbiotes eg). with them.

    The humans you described in your initial paragraph might have born some responsibility or had some personal intent in passing on the disease to others in their society but it could also very possibly be the parasite Yersinia pestis who bears the responsibility by corrupting the host’s brain chemisty/beahviour for the sole purpose of ensuring the parasite multiplies and survives to spread it’s progeny.

    I’m curious as to your specificity concerning the people of London ( i have British ancestry) after reading this in Wikipedia on Bubonic Plague:

    The next few centuries were marked by several localized or regional outbreaks of lesser severity. The Great Plague of Milan (1629–1631), the Great Plague of Seville (1647), the Great Plague of London (1665–1666), the Great Plague of Vienna (1679), Great Baltic plague (1708–1712), the Great Plague of Marseille (1720), the Great Plague of 1738, and Caragea’s Plague (1813–1814) were the last major outbreaks of the bubonic plague in Europe.

    Added to that the far larger disaster of the related Black Death which started in the South of Europe in the mid 14th century and also in Turkey, and spread into England after a few years.

    I doubt very much that any activities in London during the 2 years involved would have been significantly different to any other location – parasites do not discriminate by country or culture.


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    • That information about parasites are very thought-provoking for me due to two major issues.

      Firstly, this activity points at such an intelligence and cooperation of those organisms that common perception does not expect -or rather common perception is not really willing to accept because of its arrogance- from species different from humans.

      On the other hand, this invasion of the host organism is too similar to our activity on this planet. And as aspiring to become the noble and conscious being that we conceited in the past in books/poems/songs, these features of our species break the spell.


      • I agree completely – we might all be very surprised to discover the true origins of many of what we egotistically think of as being ‘our’ thoughts.

        Humans are not the most numerous but quite possibly the most destructive parasite on this or any other planet – currently!

        We really should be able to be better by now – don’t you think? 😉


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  3. Very deep and interesting thoughts. I have to hope their mistakes were due to their illness. Spreading the plague (on purpose) would be equal to Nazism. We can only hope not. Our world has made great strides but have many flaws and faults still to overcome. Take care ~Robin

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  4. Hi. Hope you had a lovely weekend. I wanted to give you a heads up that you are the 365 Daily Challenge Recommended Blogger to know tomorrow! I will send out a post in the morning with a link to your site and a few small intro items, then letting everyone know they should stop by. Thanks for all the interaction. I’m glad to get to know you each day we post and share comments. -Jay

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