Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Book Shows Violence Declines As Human Consciousness Evolves

Although violence is what usually grabs the headlines, a new book by Harvard Professor Steven Pinker argues that there has never been a safer time to be alive.

In a review of 'The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined' the Telegraph UK, asks,
"Why has violence declined?" and answers with:

'Pinker does not need numbers for his answer. As Europe became more urban, cosmopolitan, commercial, industrialised and secular, it got safer. Perhaps as important is the increasing respect for women – “violence is a problem not just of too many males but of too many young males”.

He does not argue that there is a higher power sending our species in a beneficial direction. The human race has come to share the goal of finding ways of overcoming the universal appeal of aggression. The great social factors in reducing violence, he says, have been the end of slavery, the empowerment of women and the legalisation of homosexuality. Also, contraception has become cheaper, resulting in fewer children to unwilling parents.'

In an interview with Pinker, 'The Economist' posed the question "Is there any statistical evidence to suggest that violence doesn’t work to provoke political change?"

"A study that was published too late to include in my book by two political scientists, Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephen, looked at the success rate of violent and non-violent resistance movements. It found that the non-violent ones succeeded 75% of the time and the violent ones succeeded 25% of the time. So it’s not the case that violence never works, nor that non-violence always works, but that non-violence seems to have a better success rate." was Pinker's reply.

Read the Washington Post review of the book. Huffington Post posted this article, and Daily Beast has this nice write-up.

Pinker also made a recent appearance on the Colbert Report.

Here is a video Pinker speaking on the subject at the TED conference in March 2007.

Let there be no doubt that the Nonviolent Revolution is constantly progressing and moving steadily forward as more and more people grow to understand that it is far more beneficial to connect, collaborate, and empathize with one another than harm and destroy each other!

No comments:

Post a Comment