“Defined as intentionally using physical force to harm, violence kills 1.5 million people globally each year, according to the World Health Organization. From war zones to crime-ridden neighborhoods, we live in violent times…Or do we?”
– Gemma Tarlach
Interesting article in the May 2016 issue of Discover Magazine, entitled, “20 things you didn’t know about…Violence.” For instance:
Males of most species of animals are prone to violence, yet where it is the male that is the primary care-giver and has the greater role in raising the young, it is the females that compete violently with each other.
A 2011 study found that many quadrupedal species, including dogs and horses, rear up to fight and that it’s likely that the males among our knuckle-walking ancestors learned that standing upright habitually made them better competitors, leading to our fully bipedal species.
A Neanderthal skull found in Spain shows multiple blunt force blows, the evidence of the earliest known hominin murder, more than 400,000 years ago.
There are a lot more anecdotal factoids in the article on violence, but it notes:
The world may seem more violent than in the past, as evidenced by the 24/7 news cycle that exposes us to images of violence, but no research supports that conclusion. In fact, since the 13th century, the murder rate globally has plummeted, in Europe by as much as thirtyfold, and since the 17th century the number killed as a result of war has decreased from about 2% to 0.7% in the 20th century. “Yes, we’re a violent lot, but don’t despair,” say researchers studying evolutionary perspectives on behavior, “Far more time is spent in engaging in cooperation, or at least peaceful coexistence, than spent in engaging in violence.”
Maybe there is hope, yet, for humanity.
I know I’m doing my part – so far I haven’t murdered anyone.