Originally published at: https://blog.12min.com/the-better-angels-of-our-nature-pdf/
Why Violence Has Declined
“The Better Angels of Our Nature” is an intriguing book in which the author shares his thoughts about the violence in this world.
This book offers some reliable theories and proven facts that illustrate how we managed to decrease its impact and control its influence.
About Steven PinkerSteven Pinker was born on September 18th, 1954 in Montreal. He is a Canadian-American writer and a professor at Harvard University.
"The Better Angels of Our Nature PDF Summary"According to some, his ideas remain controversial, despite the fact that he advocates for finding peaceful solutions to pretty much all problems.
Pinker on numerous occasions declares that: the substantial declines in violence throughout the world are linked to neither biology nor cognition.
Some theorists and scientists assert that the human nature is merely the end-result of the whole evolution and as a consequence of such process, we are inclined to believe in our “sympathy” towards violence.
This book unequivocally opposes the notion that humans are prone to violence and stumps for other views.
The author also denies any subconscious involvement in violent activities, that further protect the idea that we are born with a dose of cruelty.
The disregard for other beings is something that is developed and has little to do with genes.
In the first place, the importance to undergo drastic inner reforms varies on a case to case basis.
Peacefulness is in fact, our innate reality and driving force, not something that we attain after a period of time.
Although this may be true or not, Pinker doesn’t pay too much attention to speculations and endeavors to anticipate the public’s reactions to these “allegations.” While we’re here, he also gives thumbs down to what he refers to as the simple nature versus nurture argument.
These two opposite standpoints are subjected to various arguments. He instead stands for something that is not coming from nurture (external) roots and thereby inflicts a new mindset.
According to his beliefs: “Probably the only way to clarify the decline of violence in today’s world is to turn our attention towards cultural and material changes.”
Peaceful motives don’t just fall from the sky since everything that is pure and sincere must be backed with eagerness and wisdom.
Pinker underlines five “historical forces” that in recent history have proven to be decisive in the struggle against violence.
The Leviathan – This force represents the birth of a modern and judiciary society, that doesn’t hesitate to use monopoly when it comes to legitimate and centralized influence in order to protect the community.
Such regulative is not only improving people’s lives, but also helps to expand their views, and turn heads away from biases and exploitative abuses.
Commerce – The name speaks for itself. The technological expansion eases off the trade and allows the nations to prosper and nurture healthy relationships.
Feminization – Unlike our ancestors, the modern society also adjusts to the needs of women, not because it’s necessary but because it’s rightful. Protecting their interests opens the gates to a better world.
Cosmopolitanism – the whole globalization process breaks all geographical boundaries through social interactions, the use of media and literacy.
This reduces the stigma attached to other societies and stimulates acceptance and tolerance amongst various cultures.
The Escalator of Reason – All of these elements contribute to understanding the ultimate cause. Sacrificing personal interest and gain can shrink the circle of violence.
In war, there are only losers, so before we go about competing, we must make sure that our interests don’t collide with the ones of others.
Key Lessons from “The Better Angels of Our Nature”1. Increase communication and reduce violence 2. Motivate acceptance and reduce competitiveness 3. Have self-control
Increase communication and reduce violenceAccording to Pinker, interactions and discussions have a prominent role in reducing bloodshed, violence, and intolerance among people.
We must stay on the right track if we intend to exploit all the resources without necessarily inflicting conflicts.
Motivate acceptance and reduce competitivenessEven at your workplace, perhaps there is too much competitiveness, which is not too good and is actually hindering the organizational growth.
Try to control these forces, and place emphasis on mutual values rather than focusing on individual efforts.
Have self-controlIf there’s something missing, it can’t be other than the strength of character and willpower to have full control over yourself.
Possessing such discipline will give you the upper hand in the struggle for evoking social accountability and respect.
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"The Better Angels of Our Nature Quotes"[bctt tweet="Morality, then, is not a set of arbitrary regulations dictated by a vengeful deity and written down in a book; nor is it the custom of a particular culture or tribe. It is a consequence of the interchangeability of perspectives and the opportunity the world provides for positive-sum games." username="get12min"]
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[bctt tweet=“The theory that religion is a force for peace, often heard among the religious right and its allies today, does not fit the facts of history.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“It Begins with skepticism. The history of human folly, and our own susceptibility to illusions and fallacies, tell us that men and women are fallible.” username=“get12min”]
[bctt tweet=“Unlike features of a landscape like trees and mountains, people have feet. They move to places where opportunities are best, and they soon invite their friends and relatives to join them.” username=“get12min”]