Is it human nature to be violent?

Even if it does not show that well with my laidback typing style I’m actually really fond of humanities and thinking (WHAT THE FUCKK) about stuff. Have my brain fart fumes!

In any case, you have probably heard this idea multiple times or even ad nauseam. Someone talks about the absurdity of war or the cruelty of events that happened today or in the past, and someone retorts back, well, we are simply this way, we were always so violent and we will stay that way. You think about it a little bit: “well that’s certainly true, there is no period in history where there wasn’t large scale death and violence towards mankind from our own hands. Well I guess I’m not particularly violent either, am I special? No many people are like that. Why are things this way?” You have no retort so you just agree and the conversation moves along.

Then let’s frame it this way, if you were kicked in the balls (and/or boobs), would it be just that it’s in your nature as a human being to scream?

No of course not you’re screaming because it obviously really hurts.

And that’s what I’m getting at. It’s not really in our nature to be anything. We are motivated (for the most part) only by the desire to survive and reproduce. Our large scale ideological and social systems are in accordance to that. Being selfish goes against your interests to survive most of the time actually, because losing a social safety net, opportunities and systems just makes your life harder and it becomes much less likely to survive. That’s why we are social beings, our strength together many times can elevate everyone and that’s why society exists, again for the most part.

So let’s shift the focus at interests. Is it now in your interests to kill a stranger on the streets? No, you are just going to have your life ruined for no reason. And if prison didn’t exist and you were in a tribe you will get murdered for threatening the survival of everyone as an unstable being. We need to exclude anectodal killings and violence, to get a clearer look at human behaviour we need to see general trends of violence. Let’s go back to tribes again. When you are so few people any member of the tribe is crucial for survival. So generally acting violent and selfish is very detrimental to your interests and everyone else’s. If, for example, more hunters and warriors work together to bring in food, everyone thrives and the tribe grows. Now, conditions at that time were really really harsh. Your people, including your children, are starving. You have no agriculture to get mostly steady streams of food because it didn’t exist and you are not that genius yet. Everyone you know and love is probably going to die. Now, the other tribe on the other side of the mountain, man they are having successful hunts lately. It’s just enough for everyone. Well they won’t share it with you because then their tribe will starve then, it’s already so hard to get everyone in your tribe fed, and now these bums with nothing to give back want to take our shit and ruin our community. So, the first tribe with no other options left, goes to war for the resources and food, because the other option is the death of everyone you have known and loved. Somehow, despite their weakened states, that desire to survive leads them to victory and the other tribe is completely wiped out. With so much more resources, they thrive and everyone is saved. Of course, in the perspective of the other tribe, they were succeeding and then with incredible violence everyone and everything is suddently erased. What you should take away is that no one was wrong in this situation, and that if the first tribe never had their survival in danger, they would very much likely not taken the risk to kill so many precious warriors and hunters and destroy their community. They had their balls kicked and they screamed.

Buh well now we live in MODERN™ society! It’s so much more different!

Yes and no.

I took the example of a random tribe because it’s much more simpler to illustrate with a simple social system but also because it’s a way to really deny that the core of the idea is wrong because hunter gatherer tribes are one of the most pure forms of human so called nature you can find. The current massive social and ideological system (I will refer to it as Society™ because it’s shorter to say, but it’s wrong) we live in does change the way we live and think in massive ways but it does not turn us into different species. You feel hungry because you need to eat to function, you feel sleepy because you need to sleep to function, and you feel the need to get a job because no income greatly diminishes your chances at survival, because you need to eat to function, and you feel the need to lie and cheat sometimes, because getting away with it scott free especially in places where there is no threat of being caught, well you gain maybe income, you get more Society™ survival tokens and you can probably elevate yourself and your circle higher, assure security and allow yourself to live lives that are so much more lavish and peaceful, and maybe even gain some power with those wonderful tokens everyone wants, and respond to so many much more so called needs of everyone as that circle gets larger and you chase even higher than survival or the sky.

Oh the problem starts to become apparent. There is absolutely no interest for you or your family for you to kill strangers and die in a war, but it will be in the interests of other people that are powerful in such a way that other countries’ resources become pieces in their chessboard that they need to protect, and they will coerce you either with Society™ survival tokens, or use their precious tokens to manipulate the overarching ideology to create so many reasons and beliefs to why you should go off and die there. Suddenly Iraq has very very real I assure you guys WMDs. Suddenly China is going to invade annyyy second now you really need to fear those guys a bajillion kilometers away. Yeah, when there is such a clear power imbalance between people, because a single guy and his circle kinda owns the majority of let’s say your energy resources like oil, and he gains very much from doing so, suddenly interests start to conflict really hard. The members of a same tribe all share common interests so they have to work in harmony. The guy who needs a lot of people to die off in a very real pleast trust me war because his power and circle needs it or another big guy replaces him, well you really don’t have much interests in common despite sharing the same human nature of needing to survive. The difference obviously is power, which expresses itself in assets, propriety and money, which needs to coerce and control to survive and grow.

Well, if his business succeeds it surely helps the country and everyone because we are more powerful and rich! Really, is it in his interests to share a fraction that actually matters to people who have nothing to do with him? The less money he has, the less powerful he is. Much rather continue to coerce and pay the minimum possible wages to make even more money, and use the money into growing the shit that actually matters to him by lobbying for laws in his favor, donating to politicans that support him and thus giving them more of a reach, build more factories, sabotage enemies, using his power and influence to make resources accessible to him even by force. Ah, then surely the people will get angry at his selfishness and coercion! It is against his interests not to share because everyone will turn against him! Well, you are partially right. But then you remember, damn, he really has a lot of politicans at his side, oh, he can influence so much of the media, shit, with his power and other people like him’s power that pretty much lead to the total control of the government, well, if people turn against his clique, he has the entire police and military on his side. With the power of the control of ideas and the posession of incredible violence, you can really sway people. Just look at America!

He’s made of gold! How did this happen? Yo ho ho he took a bite of propriety

There is much more to explore but I am simply a mere Gap, so I will leave it at this conclusion. Now, when you have the conversation I described at the start, it probably changed meaning to you. Now it becomes someone validly complaining about the amount of unnecessary violence and cruelty in this world and this idea getting quickly shut down by a non-answer, well, we are just this way because uhh we are. Why? Because the deeper societal implications are uncomfortable and tough to think about. So let’s simply change the topic. I kicked you, and you are screaming not because I kicked you, you are just like that.