In a world filled with mostly well intentioned people and tons of senseless violence its completely natural for those people to develop an assortment of justifications and rationalizations for the horror that is taking place around them.
One of the most popular of these rationalizations is what I like to call “the human nature cop out”. This is basically the notion that violence taking place around the world is justified because humans are naturally prone to violence, and that’s just “the way it is”.
As I discussed in an article last month, this idea is extremely dangerous because it allows people to accept behavior that is detrimental to the well being of our species. This is really common sense, but there has actually been a scientific consensus that humans are not innately violent for well over 20 years. In 1986 scientists from around the world got together and shared psychological and biological evidence until they came to the conclusion that human nature is no excuse for violent behavior. The findings that were released came to be known as “The Seville Statement”. This statement made 5 propositions, which are:
1. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that we have inherited a tendency to make war from our animal ancestors."This profound statement has been ignored by the mainstream media for decades and maligned by many state sponsored foundations. According to psychologist and researcher Aflie Kohn, the media actually told the scientists “call us back when you find a gene for war,” after they released the Seville statement. However, despite this lack of attention new studies continue to reconfirm that human nature is no excuse for violence.
2. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war or any other violent behavior is genetically programmed into our human nature."
3. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that in the course of human evolution there has been a selection for aggressive behavior more than for other kinds of behavior."
4. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that humans have a 'violent brain'."
5. "It is scientifically incorrect to say that war is caused by 'instinct' or any single motivation."
This past Monday in Vancouver, British Columbia at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a biologist named Frans de Waal put forward the idea that adopting a more cooperative culture is possible, necessary and natural for our species. According to his studies, animals are naturally prone to co-operation when in the right circumstances, which reconfirms the Seville statements consensus. Hopefully this new study can tear down some of the barriers that are created by our cultures defeatist perception of “human nature”.
By accepting the view that humans are naturally violent, our culture is basically saying that we are wild beasts that need to be controlled, and since violence is accepted, violence is ultimately used in this process of "controlling". This very idea is the root of genocide, oppression and exploitation. The violence that we see in our society today, and the violence that we see throughout history is actually only acted out by a very small percentage of the population. This tiny percentage of our population is obviously a “bad sample” in terms of measuring what our species is actually capable of.
J.G. Vibes is an author, and artist -- with an established record label. In addition to featuring a wide variety of activist information, his company Good Vibes Promotions hosts electronic dance music events. You can keep up with him and his forthcoming book Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, at his website. AOTMR will be released in March 2012, thanks to Leilah Publications. This project features nearly 100 different essays, just like this one, that cover a wide variety of topics. These essays give historical and philosophical insight into the many important issues that our generation faces. From banking cartels and alternative currency to eugenics and the drug war, AOTMR offers a complete and comprehensive breakdown of the counter culture’s struggle.
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