Evolution necessarily fine tuned the software and hardware for survival, pleasure, satisfaction and sex for procreation. Altruism was a byproduct initially for kin, sharing the same selfish genes, and for relatively weak species living in groups, to survive amongst stronger predators. In the latter case it was reciprocal, as in vampire bats or the gift ritual in Indian weddings. This required the development of a long-term memory to keep track of who did what to whom and when, and a visceral urge to return favors and injuries. The unfulfilled desire for retaliation and revenge, with the evolution of reflective and analytic capability led to frustration and anger in the weak, meek and poor human beings. That planted the desire for justice and combined with fear, ego and wanting immortality led to the invention of religion, god and the concept of afterlife and rebirth. The hope of heaven for the deprived righteous, hell for the successful unjust or rebirth as reward or punishment arose from the these brewing ideas.
Prophets succeeded only where the poor and aggrieved were in abundance and their preaching exalted the meek and suffering with pie in the sky, rewards of inheriting the earth and rejoicing in heaven. Many myths across cultures are about seeking ambrosia, a fountain of youth, virgins in heaven, eternal bliss, union with the Brahman etc. Theoretically the practice of ethics and justice are easily prescribed by the golden rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you and John Rawls' prescription that the cake should be divided into the same number of parts as the number of consumers and the authorized divider entitled only to the last remaining piece after all the others have taken their choice. Unfortunately in practice most of us behave like male lions, who rarely participate in the hunt for prey, leaving it to the lionesses, but still eating first and the best portions.
The Indian custom of the wife doing the cooking and eating last must be a hangover from the lion forebears, like the profusion of Singhs and Sinha male names. Even those who have suffered severely like the Jews in the Holocaust, forget about justice and equity once in power, as the Israeli treatment of Palestinians exemplifies. Another interesting psychological defense that automatically kicks in to preserve sanity and prevent self loathing is that we tend to dehumanize those whom we have harmed without cause. They are often compared to rats, vermin, animals or are denounced as terrorists, gooks, spicks, hajis, chinks, japs, dagos, kikes, ragheads, niggers, wogs, wops or other epithets and neologisms invariably denigrating, including the very etymology of the word.
It is essential for survival with mental peace not to hate one's self and thus incriminating memories are suppressed, like the US perpetrated Iran coup in 1953, the instigation of and support to Saddam during the Iran Iraq war, the shooting down of an Iranian civil aircraft and the reneging by the US to its own Geneva agreements with North Vietnam or the treaty not to indulge in torture. Patently false memories are generated like the attack in the Gulf of Tonkin, an attack by Mexico in the Mexican American War by President Polk, Saddam's Iraq's support for Al Qaeda, involvement in 9-11, possessing deliverable nuclear WMDs, rescue of Private Jessica, just to name a few from the many.
Many neuro-scientists have recently and repeatedly warned against the falseness and unreliability of memories which are routinely rewritten in the brain to meld with the individual's biases. The tragic example of over enthusiastic pseudo do-gooder prosecutors brainwashing young children to accuse their loving decent care givers of abuse and their subsequent exoneration is another telling example of the historically prejudiced, occasionally shabby and presently inquisition type metamorphosis of the US justice system. The Indian one is a clogged sewer pipe and meets the definition of justice delayed is justice denied.
One expects the political system to be a sewage pipe and emit politicians as feces at the other end, but in India , the politicians who are feces are worth 25 crores of rupees, the going rate I am told for one MP to switch sides and support the tottering fecal edifice of the Congress government which is scouring the jails for MPs convicted for murder to buy their vote, as I suspect they may have been bought to betray the nation by signing a civil nuclear deal. Past examples are the Mitrokhin (Soviet) Archives and CIA (American) purchases in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. When the justice system is sabotaged, it is the death knell of a nation or civilization.
The lethal virus has now infected the international institutions. The International Court of (Farcical) Justice has indicted Omar Al Bashir the President of Sudan for genocide in Darfur, just as it indicted Milosevic of Yugoslavia. Those are good calls, but its failure to indict Goofy Wicked El Bush for starting an unprovoked, illegal, unjust war in Iraq on a false pretext and resulting in the death of a million Iraqi civilians and displacement of four million Iraqis (both double the carnage of Darfur) tells us that justice is not blind, but selectively blind. The UN not only overlooked the war crime of Bush, but gave its legal imprimatur for occupying and oppressing the Iraqis by America with Goofy Inane and Bun-kum Lunatic at the helm as Sycophant Generals.
The abominable crimes of torture and murder of Afghan and Iraqi civilians at Bagram, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Haditha were swept under the rug with minimal punishment of lowly individuals, often released on parole shortly thereafter, just as in the My Lai and other massacres in Vietnam for which some perpetrators received the highest military decorations and honors. What will it take for Americans to realize that there is little hope for their salvation from the current national crises by voting in either a warmonger who claims his aerial bombings of unarmed civilians as expertise in national security, or a smooth demagogue who changes and tailors his proclaimed policies to suit the desires of different ethnic audiences, while voting to support the taxpayer bailout of erring corporations (Bear Stearns, Fannie & Freddie) and rich donors (Wall Street investors), and granting retroactive immunity for past crimes of wiretapping to other corporations (phone companies), while shredding the constitutional amendments he is sworn to uphold. Perhaps, that is why many Americans don't vote or succumb to evangelistic brainwashing.