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Author Topic: The Decline of Violence  (Read 540 times)

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Offline VekseidTopic starter

The Decline of Violence
« on: August 07, 2009, 10:11:29 AM »
http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/163

Steven Pinker gives a rather enlightening talk about the fall of violence throughout history.

Offline The Overlord

Re: The Decline of Violence
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 05:56:39 PM »

Compelling. I think concentration is a key here; while violence may have gone down over the centuries, we have weaponry and means to produce very concentrated and sensationalized violence. The Holocaust, 9/11, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the genocide of Africa and World War II in general.

And while the media and technology has gone a long way toward tightening up the world and giving us that sense of humanity about our fellow man, itís also sensationalized what violence we still have. Today, an atrocity is all over popular media and shown again and again, and I think that fuels that illusion that weíre irredeemably violent to this day.


Mention of the upsurge in violence in the US in the 1960ís having a kernel of truth for the rock & roll naysayers concerned me though. Itís not enough to say that, itís important to say what actually caused such upsurge statistically. We must also remember the US was at the height of the civil rights movement and violence, and the upheaval over the Vietnam war was a major player.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2009, 05:57:49 PM by The Overlord »

Offline Destiny Ascension

Re: The Decline of Violence
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2009, 10:32:42 AM »
I would tend to agree, but you could just say violence may be going down in overall terms of sheer carnage but at the same time, you could also say we haven't had a big war in a long time, nor have we had any major conflicts of anger or diversity. The cold war didn't happen because of mutually assured destruction, and since then we've had no conflicts to comare to. But if WWIII walks around the corner and 2 or 3 billion people die within the span of 2 months, talk sessions like that will be considered laughably incorrect.

Thinking about WWII, it was bad yes, but it was also clean. Instead of 50,000 men lining up and shooting at each other for 2 hours until you can't take a step without landing on some part of someone, we had groups of thousands going about quickly and in, for the better part, moderately unpopulated landscapes. Not to mention most of the casualties were civilian as a cause of war crimes and indirect bombing and shelling.

I think the key of the degreation of violences in warfare is the advancement of technology and the lack of anyone to use it on. During the expansion of the Romans, so to say, armies of 10,000 men were needed to conquer cities and then, those men viewed the enemy, civilian or otherwise, and lesser beings. That, combined with a desensitisation from violence from the close, personal and extremely violent types of combat(Compared to today, shooting someone with an M16 at 500 feet is less violent than hacking someone up with a short sword) created a free-flow of violence which was transfered back and forth between soldiers and the people they conquered. That in turn created lasting images of horror and violence, mixed with anger, on the survivors.

There is the link between conflict and general society. A few hundred years ago, violence and war were commonly very close to home. Battlefields never existed across oceans or massive landscapes because Armies couldn't move that far. Today, there hasn't been any kind of direct conflict on American soil(Or most other countries) in 60 years, less so for other countries, more so for some. As society became less and less intertwined by war, due to it being farther away, people were generally less constricted by the visions of war and were free to focus on something else.

Offline VekseidTopic starter

Re: The Decline of Violence
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2009, 11:25:25 AM »
I would tend to agree, but you could just say violence may be going down in overall terms of sheer carnage but at the same time, you could also say we haven't had a big war in a long time, nor have we had any major conflicts of anger or diversity. The cold war didn't happen because of mutually assured destruction, and since then we've had no conflicts to comare to. But if WWIII walks around the corner and 2 or 3 billion people die within the span of 2 months, talk sessions like that will be considered laughably incorrect.

If only three billion died, he would actually still be correct.

Beyond that, "If this happens, then he'll be wrong." err...

The whole idea is that these conflicts aren't happening. That's the point. The world's population should be half a billion to a billion at the very most. Whatever happens from this moment on does nothing to disturb the fact that Pax Britannica and Pax Americana happened.

Offline Destiny Ascension

Re: The Decline of Violence
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2009, 12:11:18 PM »
Well yes, thats true, I didn't mean to say 'if this happened...etc' I more meant to question how affected that information could have been if the Cold War had turned into WWIII, or any other conflict for that matter.