[extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Wed Mar 28 17:14:02 UTC 2007

On 3/14/07, Jef Allbright <jef at jefallbright.net> wrote:

> ... the point is not that frequency of violence is a function of
> population size, but that evolutionary and developmental processes
> that have contributed to larger sustainable systems of human
> organization tend to exploit principles of cooperative advantage,
> which are antithetical to violent behavior.

Steven Pinker's recent presentation on A History of Violence at the
TED conference (recently published but locked behind the gates of New
Republic magazine) is now available at Edge.org.


'This doctrine, "the idea that humans are peaceable by nature and
corrupted by modern institutions—pops up frequently in the writing of
public intellectuals like José Ortega y Gasset ("War is not an
instinct but an invention"), Stephen Jay Gould ("Homo sapiens is not
an evil or destructive species"), and Ashley Montagu ("Biological
studies lend support to the ethic of universal brotherhood")," he
writes. "But, now that social scientists have started to count bodies
in different historical periods, they have discovered that the
romantic theory gets it backward: Far from causing us to become more
violent, something in modernity and its cultural institutions has made
us nobler.'

- Jef

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