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 Hardwired for violence... 
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Chibi-Czar
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Post Hardwired for violence...
(Cross-posted from Excelsior, here for the sake of giving people added value when this place has its grand re-opening)

From LiveScience.Com:

Study: We get off on fights

Behavioral Psych is a little beyond my expertise, and it's a lay article besides, but it seems to me to contain at least a grain or two of truth (but see also Grossman'swork on the difficulties in getting soldiers to actually shoot people). We do seem to be stuck with a desire for conflict. Of course, humans are not mice; the difference is that we can choose how we respond to that desire. That said, and granting arguendo the conclusion of the study, I have to question the last statement.
Professor Craig Kennedy, in the article wrote:
Aggression is highly conserved in vertebrates in general and particularly in mammals," Kennedy told LiveScience. "Almost all mammals are aggressive in some way or another."

He added, "It serves a really useful evolutionary role probably, which is you defend territory; you defend your mate; if you're a female, you defend your offspring."

Even though it served a purpose for other animals, in modern human societies, Kennedy said, a propensity toward aggression is not beneficial and can be a problem.


Leaving aside the minor detail that there would never have been a human society without that propensity for aggression as one of the motivators to build it, simply dismissing a hardwired response as "not beneficial" is a singularly pointless form of PCBS. It isn't deleterious or beneficial. It simply is. Like it or not, we're stuck with it.

The useful question here is, how do we handle that? Well, we can indulge it, and become savages, the same way a glutton indulges his desire for food; we can suppress it, and become sheep (and for an excursion, would that propensity for aggression, suppressed and sublimated, account for the shrillness of modern political discourse, among other things?); or, we can accept it, and control how we act on it. I submit that the latter is the better course of action, not least because it lets us retain a defense against those who do indulge in it...

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Sat Jan 19, 2008 10:48 am
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I myself accept that I do indeed have savage tendencies. Having outlets for said aggresive/savage behaviour is essential. The question therein lies "Are agression outlets like Video Games/Role Playing Games growing better killers?" The answer is of course not, but having an outlet for my aggresive nature keeps me from tearing the head off a person that looked at me funny on the bus.

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Mon Jan 21, 2008 3:18 pm
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Chibi-Czar
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On that tangent, I've never once seen a videogame approach the level of violence in a single episode of CSI. The sole purpose of CSI, relatedly, is to make people afraid, (and entertain them, but it's via fear) - and I'd argue that fear causes people to be violent/aggressive, far more often and more powerfully than simply imitation of perceived violent acts. What constitutes aggression is a murky grey that depends entirely on culture, personal history, expected behavioral norms and etc., but the emotino of fear is pretty stark, as are the hardwired actions of a body posessed by it.

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Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:14 pm
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