Thursday, 3 April 2014

We Are a Violent Species : I don't think so!

An article floated by, via the interwebs, when I searched on the phrase "we humans", and it carried the following headline : We are Not a Peaceful Species. It wasn't what I was looking for (as is so often the case) yet it offered me something useful.

The author points to the prevalence of violence in  human history to prove the assertion of the headline. This is such a regular argument it merits some attention because it is inaccurate. Her aim in this article is to counter arguments that say that watching Mixed Martial Arts sport makes people more violent, often made by those who watch Boxing (a gentleman's sport) and look down on MMA or cage fighting etc...

I understand the thinking behind this article. I see her point about the hypocrisy of those who enjoy boxing and deem MMA somehow worse or of less merit.

However the logic, of both, is flawed. Let me explain.

Current stats (CDC) suggest that the number of noninstitutionalized American adults   with diagnosed heart disease is 26.6 million... that cannot be used to imply that human beings are a species prone to heart disease. It can be used to say that the biological drive towards optimal health is being thwarted by any number of factors in the adult population of America. One would have to dig deeper into the data to identify what those factors are.

The CDC also states that 1 in 10 Americans are clinically depressed. That is not to say that Americans are a depressive sub-set of the species of humanity... It does suggest that there are factors which exist in American that contribute to the prevalence of depression in adulthood (which might be greater that which is diagnosed... it could be 20%...)

Likewise the propensity towards violence.

Violence is understandable, we all get angry from time to time, and for a multitude of 'reasons'. We are sensitive beings, and life is replete with challenges to that sensitivity.

Some of us get angry when our computer is too 'slow' or if we lose a piece of text we have been editing and we will swear at our screen. Very few of us will actually tear the screen off the wall or off desk and throw it out the window or assault it with a heavy, blunt instrument whilst screaming expletives... that would invalidate the warranty at the very least....

Some people get angry because others are different (eg: some Christians hatred of gay people), and some of those people will choose violence. We know that not ALL Christians harbour a hatred of gay people, and we know that not all who do harbour such a hatred will choose violence as their response. We cannot use the incidence of Christians beating up a gay person to say ALL Christians are violent or that ALL Christians hate gay people. Christianity is quite a wide brush, ranging from fuming fundamentalists to peace and love Jesus freaks. Humanity is likewise a wide brush.

We do know enough to say that those Christians who harbour that degree of hatred that they choose violence will have serious psychological and developmental issues, that they are expressing a pathology, a serious pathological issue which needs to be addressed. It would be better if it were addressed BEFORE they actualised the violence. Punishment is most often too late for the person who was assaulted.

We also know enough (developmental science, neuro-biology, neuro-chemistry, endocrinology, anthropology) to say that aspects of the societal and individual propensity towards violence have a strong pathological element, that is to say they represent an unhealthy state, a diseased state (colonisation, empire building, rule by coercion, bullying, wife beating, rape) and that our fundamental nature as a species is towards peace and empathy (these are markers of optimal human social health and well being) and that the tendency towards optimal health explains our long existence (2 million years) whilst at the same time it is obvious that a peaceful culture is more vulnerable to a violent culture. - a one page chart outlining social behavioural characteristics of different cultures as outcomes of child care within those cultures. - a much more detailed paper on the origins of violence as an outcome of disrupted biologically mandated developmental processes.

It would be more correct for the author to write that she lives in a Society where violence is common, where violence is ritualised (made relatively safe) in sport (MMA, Boxing, Fencing), and where violence is deliberately chosen and actualised in Military adventures abroad, in the presence of Nuclear Weapons, in racial and other stereotyped hatreds and bigotry, in Organised Crime, Gang 'Culture' and that the State which claims a legal monopoly on Violence mirrors the pathological violence of the God of the Judeo-Christian-Abrahamic Religions, and that this is a pathological situation which causes more harm than good.

And that she enjoys watching men beat the living daylights out of each other.... especialy when they demonstrate respect for each other...
"And let’s look a little further into these professional fighters. Let’s look at how they high-five and touch gloves before they start swinging those fists. Let’s look at how, when the last round is over, they are shaking each other’s hands and giving hugs. Take a second to appreciate that pattern: respect, violence, admiration. Because that right there best encompasses the beautiful dynamic of what it means to be a human."

Oh dear!

This is a very useful article on how to counter commonly occurring falsehoods, deceptions, misinformation and outright lies...

Kindest regards


Do what you love, it's Your Gift to Universe


Anonymous said...

It's great to see that you have stopped supporting the conman that is Kevin Annett.
It's a pity though that you don't show a little courage and apologize for supporting and encouraging a man who has done so much damage to people rather than slipping quietly away.Your friends Dave O Brien and Gerry O Donovan had the balls to apologize after leaving him

corneilius said...

On the other hand, it is revealing that an anonymous comment is the nature of your contribution.

As to supporting Kevin Annett, if acknowledging the work he has done, and is doing, as part of a wider cultural process of addressing the inequities perpetrated by an abusive system of Power, perpetuated in part by the silence of many rather than the abuses of the few and seeing it in that light is support, then yes I do.

I see all of the work being done by many, many people, all at different levels of awareness and in different stages of recovery, with different degrees of engagement, as part of a whole, a whole that has no leadership other than the beauty and vulnerability of the natural child and how the natural adult relates to that child. I do not criticise others engaged in the work.

The only people I criticise are those who are the abusers, and those who are with the abusers, be they conscious or not of their alignment. And the critique is always designed to reveal the truth of the situation in ways that a reader can draw strength from.

As to my courage, and your interpretation of it, it's mostly your interpretation and not the reality. As far as I am aware, I have done nothing for which I need to apologise in the work I am doing.

I am not a participant in anyone else's ideological or spiritual or civil process, I am not a member of any group.

I maintain my independence and with that my the space and freedom look as deep as is required into any matter before me as an adult who cares.

My 'slipping away' is your interpretation, and reveals more about you than anything else.

corneilius said...

If you have any comment on the writing in this blog, on the information and ideas explored herein, I'd welcome your insight and contribution.