Are Humans Naturally Violent?
One of the biggest mysteries to date that has yet to be understood by experts and scientist is the behavior of a human being. There are still many questions that remain unanswered especially in the mechanics on how a human mind works and how the human’s behavior is affected on a particular scenario or event. This often leads people into wondering if humans can practically be violent on impulse or they are just born violent. Many events and inventions are cited to be samples on where humans can let go of their impulses and just let it out just like the invention of weapons and going into wars. Some of course believe this is self-defense but others think otherwise. This debate has been going on for a while now and whether or not a side wins in this debate, the question remains unanswered: are humans naturally violent? In a personal extent, I believe that humans tend to become violent if they have an addition that tends to bring out their carnal and violent urges.
There are experts who believe that humans are naturally violent with particular instances that indicate this particular trait. One of the most notable figures arguing about this is Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes (1965) wrote that humans are constantly put into a situation which poses potential danger against another person even before the development of society. Hobbes also cited that civilizations were only created because of fear from being beaten and hurt by another person. He also notes that a human being hurts a person because “many men at the same time have an appetite to the same thing: which yet very often they can neither enjoy in common, nor yet divide it. It follows that the strongest must have it” . Hobbes is supported by Coon and Mitterer (2008) by stressing that humans have inherited a “killer instinct” from our ancestors who are still speculated to be descendants of apes as far as Darwin is concerned. They noted that some ethologists such as Konrad Lorenz stressed that this violent behavior is caused by instinct. But psychologists argue that Lorenz’s theory is still questionable as some ethnic groups show no sign of aggression against other people. Both have also stressed that humans are naturally violent since they were born, noting some human illness such as allergies have a very close relationship with aggression . On the other hand, if humans are naturally violent, how could certain events and developments even formed without a sense of peace and hostility required for these events to even happen? There are also many questions that cannot be resolved with just answering that humans are naturally violent. For Rousseau (1988), men are not naturally violent as they do not have enough reasons to justify that they should be in a state of war. Rousseau also notes that humans could not be in a state of war without becoming citizens in a particular country or group, and then would become soldiers who fight for their respective countries. He also stresses that “men would be the least wicked, the happiest and the most numerous on earth if there is a pure state of nature” . Hobbes’s argument is refuted with this claim done by Rousseau as Hobbes notes that there is nothing on earth that can control a person’s violent urges. Curtis (2010) supports Rousseau but she points out that humans cannot be considered as naturally violent as they can recognize the difference between good, which is then noted as their desires and between bad, the things they detest. She also stresses that humans can achieve peace because they willed it to happen, condemning violence if it ever escalates. She also stresses that humans only resort to violence if and only if they feel threatened, which is acceptable as this is possible form of self-defense .
In my opinion regarding this issue, I believe that humans only tend to show their violent urges when something catches these urges and gets them hooked, losing themselves in the process just to satisfy their craving for more. Addiction can have two possible effects upon a person, it may relieve someone from stress and their worries for a short time or it may become excessive which may make them want more, letting go all restraints just to get what they want. We can see this example when it comes to pornography addiction. Ukagba (2010) stated that pornography urges sex with violence which may be quite risky for women and children. He notes that most of the scenarios in pornographic materials present women as sexual toys for men who enjoy pain in all forms such as torture. Women are also devalued in them, depicting that they are inferior and can be hurt by men. Many feminists protest this kind of degrading in pornography, stressing that women are being labeled as a low rate human. Pornography also endorses violence when it comes to relationships and restructures it so that men are always the boss of their wives. Most relationships end up in court, citing that their husbands are into this kind of violence. .
This issue on human violence is interpreted differently by these four sectors, each stressing different sides regarding the particular question:
In the critical sense of the term itself, the mind would perceive that violence is wrong and bad. The mind can also perceive that there are chances that violence would result into killing and casualties. However, for a mind filled with stress, panic and manic addiction; these particular thoughts may not be properly processed by the mind and may eventually result to the person’s thinking that this act would relieve him of the stress he feels. But even if the deed is done, the person’s conscience would keep making the person regret in one point or another.
In every law, treaty and agreement; peace is always given the priority when it comes to disputes and settlement. Diplomacy is often incorporated by politicians, businessmen and even the common people when it comes to resolving problems and treaties. Violence in form of armed retaliation and conflict are only used as a last resort if peace cannot be achieved. Violent acts are also punishable by law as it is against human rights and morals.
Scientists believe that violence is normal when it comes to humans as they would do anything to survive. This is particularly seen in the prehistoric ages where the early humans had to fight other humans for their rights to get food and shelter. But they also stress that this trait is also seen along peacefulness which allows humans to make peace after a fight or argument.
In the case of values, humans are taught to have peace with their fellow men and if possible, prevent the use of violence in settling arguments as it is against the morals and values taught to each person. Curtis notes this particular fact in her argument as she believes that humans can perceive that violence is evil.
This debate whether or not humans are naturally violent is anyone’s guess as to how it would end. On the one hand, it is possible that humans are indeed violent as result of their “killer instinct” being threatened but on the other hand, humans cannot possibly be violent if they advocate the importance of peace. But everyone can agree that for a person to react violently, he or she must either feel threatened or if they cannot satiate their desire to let loose of their emotions and carnal pleasures. In the end, it is up to the person, no matter what he or she believes in or thinks about, to decide if they would become the violent men others believe to be possible because of ancestry or become the civilized and educated men who believes that violence cannot solve anything and settle everything in peace
Coon, D., & Mitterer, J. (2008). Psychology: modules for active learning. Belmont: Cengage Learning.
Curtis, C. (2010). Postapocalyptic fiction and the social contract: “we’ll not go home again”. Plymouth: Lexington Books.
Hobbes, T. (1965). Leviathan. Gloucestershire: Clarendon Press.
Rousseau, J. J. (1988). On the Social Contract. Indianapolis: Hacklett Publishing.
Ukagba, G. (2010). The Kpim of Feminism: Issues and Women in a Changing World. Victoria: Trafford Publishing.