Follow my continued adventures at

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Human beings are wired to fight each other

And that seems to be pretty much all of what most people are. Do you ever wonder why the closest surviving primates are so... far from us? Quit having babies.


  1. Far in an evolutionary sense? I'd say relative to non-primates they're quite close. Or far as the crow flies? They're actually close enough that poaching is a severe problem, and with the endemic warfare in the Congo it's hard to protect endangered groups. But I guess that just furthers your point.

    However, I don't completely agree that humans are wired to fight each other. As Randall Collins argues in "Violence: A Microsociological Theory", there is a lot of internal tension against violence that causes us to bluster rather than actually engage in it. Kind of makes sense because engaging in violence can be quite risky. When we overcome it and someone previously regarded as frightening or a threat is now vulnerable, we can really go overboard (from cops on Rodney King to one squad of chimps holding down and beating an enemy chimp). Violence is a faculty which we are endowed with because it can be useful, but thankfully we don't have a basic drive to engage in it. Sorry if this is an optimism-free zone!

  2. It's not an optimism-free zone, I was just in a violently pessimistic zone when I wrote that.


Anyone can post, but please, if you want to be anonymous, come up with an amusing handle so we can tell you apart. Thanks!