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"Have humans always gone to war?" Topic

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577 hits since 17 Jul 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

"The question of whether warfare is encoded in our genes, or appeared as a result of civilisation, has long fascinated anyone trying to get to grips with human society. Might a willingness to fight neighbouring groups have provided our ancestors with an evolutionary advantage? With conflicts raging across the globe, these questions have implications for understanding our past, and perhaps our future as well.

The Enlightenment philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau had different visions of prehistory. Hobbes saw humanity's earliest days as dominated by fear and warfare, whereas Rousseau thought that, without the influence of civilisation, humans would be at peace and in harmony with nature.

The debate continues to this day. Without a time machine, researchers examining warfare in prehistory largely rely on archaeology, primatology and anthropology…."
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VCarter Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2017 1:06 p.m. PST

I guess Rousseau also believed without the curse of civilization no one would even think that they wanted something someone else had.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2017 1:48 p.m. PST

You have to be civilized to go to war. Without civilization, all you can do is have blood feuds, murder and occasional lethal quarrels over property and hunting and herding rights. You're just as dead, you understand, but it isn't really a war.

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2017 2:11 p.m. PST

Don't even need to go to the link.

"Rousseau thought that, without the influence of civilisation, humans would be at peace and in harmony with nature."

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2017 6:15 p.m. PST

Rousseau, like so many of our great thinkers, spared himself the heavy burden of actual knowledge. It does streamline the process, and really speeds up devising Utopian futures.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2017 9:35 a.m. PST

Robert has it exactly right – in lack of actual knowledge, let's make something up

While there was no civilization without war there was lots of violence – and this harmony with nature stuff is garbage. There were no species that pre-civilization humans would not hunt and eat to extinction if they had the chance

VCarter Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2017 10:15 a.m. PST

So there was fake news even way back then? I'm shocked!!!!

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP18 Jul 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

Let's all go back to the peaceful utopia of the noble savage. :)

Back then war certainly existed, but it was all relative … either all your relatives fought for what little they had, or all your relatives died or became the property of the other clan. Caves had to provide protection too and not just warmth.

Protection against raids was the main reason for development of settlements and later cities. They didn't need to leave so many behind to protect the weaker members of the clan. Almost all abled bodied men could partake of the raids. Typically after you had finished your harvest, and after the other clan had put theirs in storage.

So war is the mother of civilization (city life).

We haven't changed.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 Jul 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

War is in our nature…


thehawk04 Aug 2017 4:12 a.m. PST

Ian Morris at Stanford has built a book publishing career arguing for the yes. He reckons that the next time is inevitable and could be the last time due to nuclear weapons.

Some DNA researchers believe antagonism between the races is hard-wired as a self-preservation mechanism.

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