The Echoes of the Mind (130) Aggression & Violence

Aggression & Violence

The tendency to aggression is an innate, independent, instinctual disposition in man. ~ Sigmund Freud

Aggression is a behavior of implicit violence. Aggression is irrespective of the emotion or motive behind it.

Violence is an interaction that leaves its victim worse off. There are many forms of violence, including physical, psychological, social, economic, and environmental.

As with many other animals, aggression runs higher in human males than females. This owes only partly to sexual selection, where male aggression is rewarded with mating opportunities.

Aggression creates an evolutionary advantage in other ways. For one, it provides a ready means for acquiring resources from others with only the labor expenditure of intimidation and violence. Prejudice renders rationalization for aggression practically effortless. Extending this to the group level neatly explains the abiding popularity of conflict and war throughout human history.

Despite tremendous effort, discrimination, oppression, brutality, and tyranny remain all too common features of the human condition. Rather than resolving the problems of intergroup hostility, we merely appear to stumble from viciousness to viciousness. ~ Jim Sidanius & Felicia Pratto

Selective discrimination toward groups is a common form of economic violence. Human proclivity to aggression is abetted by embracing territoriality. Nothing new here. Competition for resources is as old as prokaryotes poking at each other for favored molecules.

There is perhaps no more dangerous force in social relations than the human mind. ~ American psychologists Dacher Keltner & Robert Robinson

Whatever difference in cunning evolution delivered to humans than other primates it did not provide an innate intelligence to resist conflict and wholeheartedly embrace cooperation; quite the contrary. Human mental faculties are honed to perpetuate violence and feel justified in doing so.

The human being can keep fighting and killing because we can goad ourselves with our concepts, our principles, our categorical imperatives to do whatever we feel we have to do. ~ Aldous Huxley

In their minds, perpetrators minimize the violence they have wrought, whereas victims conversely magnify consequence. (These psychological syndromes are commonly apparent in rapists and rape victims, respectively.) These self-serving biases are lessened when the involved parties see some advantage in lessening hostilities. A positive relationship leads to more benign interpretations of transgressions, sowing the potential for forgiveness.

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.