Are we born inherently violent?

May 11, 2009 at 22:47 Leave a comment

foxAccording to a Horizon report on Tuesday 12th May on BBC Two at 2100, we are born violent. Although we may abhor violence, there seems to be an acute fascination with it.

Look at the magnitude of the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies or the pro-hunting and anti-hunting lobbies. No matter which side you take, the fascination is with the central theme of violence.

Why is it that there is so much voilence being initiated by young people? This includes gangs, knife and gun crime, and muggings. Could it be that we are naturally inclined towards violence, but only move away from it when we become adults?

In 1963, Stanley Milgram, a Yale University psychologist, did a series of experiments with volunteers who were asked to pass an electric current at different levels of voltage to another volunteer. The experiment showed that 65% of participants were willing to administer up to 450v of electricity to the recipient no matter how uncomfortable it was. Thus reinforcing a belief that, when the opportunity arises, humans can have a tendency to harm one another severely.

At the base level, during the course of violence, the brain is flooded with dopamine telling the violator that he is in pleasure, which gives a valid explanation how violence can be addictive.

However, as a higher species of the animal kingdom, we also have the faculties to differentiate between our animalistic instincts and our higher self. The key milestone to understand is not to avoid violence but to seek out peace from within. As the higher self, there is no such thing as violence. There is only peace or the absence of peace.

The challenge is for more people, particularly the young, to get to grips with themselves being much more than they have been led to believe.

Harun Rabbani

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Entry filed under: Behaviour.

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