Monday, August 22, 2011

Breaking The Cycle of Violence

Are we becoming more violent? Any casual observer of world news could conclude so: Arab Spring, the recent English riots and other events of this ilk are supposedly linked to social or cultural imbalance of one sort or another. Winston Churchill's definition of history being "one damn thing after another" seems to be prevailing these days.

Martial arts-related books bearing titles such as Meditations on Violence and The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs to Know About Fighting are stark reminders of who and what we are as a species.

In Classical Budo we find Donn Draeger's view is that

Man has yet to prove that he is naturally endowed with enough flexibility of mind to permit him to eliminate completely prejudices against and distrust of his fellow man. He has not reduced his emphasis on the improvement of the first of his primitive technologies -- the making of weapons and combative systems used for the destruction of his own kind -- a fact that continues to urge him to dress his political and industrial institutions in a martial manner.

But take heart, says evolutionary psychologist Steven Pinker. We're actually far less violent than our ancestors were.

I had posted an article on how I felt that the violence could be bred merely by witnessing it in various guises: internet, news reports, and violent-laden entertainment. Pinker asserts that violent tendencies in individuals lean more towards genetics than environment, however. Despite that, we still have an obligation to break the cycle of violence for future generations if we are to survive at all. As A.J. Muste once said, "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."

Labels: , , ,