steven pinker

steven pinker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[harvard, cambridge, ma]

via london real (tapped 2013):

http://www.londonreal.tv/episodes/stephen-pinker-too-much-morality-redux

Too Much Morality REDUX

18 min – on Chomsky and language – how influential/polarizing it has been. while key issues/contributions.. too complicated for my blood.. needlessly complicated.. and..

..whenever you have a theory that is so identified with one individual.. it’s never exactly the truth.. this is all bigger than any of us

why do linguistics matter to modern man… because we talk/understand.. language allows us to convey unlimited number of ideas… and anything we do together… is possible via language. if you’re curious about human beings.. you’ve got to be curious about language..

practical applications – there are entire industries that deal with language as a commodity – like the press, book publishing, radio, television, ..internet..

25 min – sign language

27 min – not to be pigeon holed..  there is one aspect… interest in human nature..

29 min – spiders spin webs, beavers build dams, humans build language

31 min – start talk on the book – better angels

32 min – believing more violence than ever is because now everyone is a reporter. news is about things that happen.. as long as there is any violence.. it will be reported… only truth is in the numbers compared to population.

as of 1945 – is where big wars stopped.. still too many wars.. but don’t kill as many people as big country wars

slavery used to be legal everywhere.. now not legal anywhere..

36 min – we still enjoy violence.. we pay others so we can watch it

37 min – campaigns on bullying… would seem ludicrous just 20 years ago.. but it has gone down

38 min – i don’t think we’ll get to peaceful utopia.. but i think the general trend will go down

39 min – abolishing slavery did happen

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also reading just mercy – curious what Bryan would say to all this..

on question of decline of crime – in 2012 ted:

violent crime rate has stayed level.. the great increase of mass incarceration was the misguided war on drugs.. we got carried away with the rhetoric of punishment

happens because of human ingenuity.. people don’t starve as much.. etc

?

how to get everyone to put their swords down at the same time…

41 min – we have a long list of punishable immorality.. there’s a strong tendency to believe that your enemy is a psychopath.. where if you get inside his head.. he’s thinking he’s advancing… nonviolence..

43 min – human moral intuitions is a big problem..

not obvious to an untutored human brain..

? – or is it not obvious to a compulsory tutored brain..?

have to appeal to something that applies to all humans.. what makes people better off

47 min – as of 1945 – borders don’t move.. un helped us to see borders differently. borders you have you’re stuck with..leads to some bad stuff.. but also leads to less wars over territory

49 min – govt’s don’t say .. let’s conquer our neighbors anymore..

?

violence of non-state (hunter/gatherers.. indigenous..?) is higher than modern societies..

how does this jive with dirty wars..?

depends on what you mean by violence.. we do have nuclear weapons.. but none used..

i don’t think the mere existence of nuclear weapons means we are more violent if they don’t get used

54 min – up until 1945 i would not say we were declining in violence..

55 min – we don’t know if there’s been an increase in ptsd – or if we now care more about veterans.. used to be (ie: ww1 20,000 people killed first day) death meant less.. cannon of fodder

book inspired by edge.org – annual question. one year – question was what are you optimistic about.. – challenge of interesting message to spread.. and the ability to communicate it

1 hour – one way to reduce violence is to use the least possible people to do violent things… ie: police.. better than when we all have to defend our own safety

1:01 – very admirable.. not to be an ist.. but to always be questioning yourself..

1969 – police in montreal went on strike.. and very violent results

outsource violence, constrain it.. all in the service of reducing the aggregate of violence worldwide..

change battlefield objectives.. where you don’t affect as many people.. a lot is technological..

1:05 – drone strike numbers way less than past wars… numbers count.. difference between 100 and 10 is 90 people.. numbers are morality in this case.. the fewer people who are maimed/killed the better

1:10 – solution generationally – guns appear more stupid

1:14 – hypocrisy as hope

if you want to advance .. you’ve got to let go of baggage.. if i’m serious about what i’m doing … i’ve got to listen.. fortunately the world is set up that i don’t always get my own way

1:23 – what we think of as correct and incorrect is partly because of what got standardized… (language).. it’s still a standard you need to recognize and abide by – while knowing it’s completely arbitrary … some of the rules are just stupid.. and should get eliminated..

 

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Steven’s book – is one on Mark Zuckerberg‘s book list for 2015.

he’s going to add another short book to complement in a couple weeks.. i recommend just mercy or the divide..

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ted2007 – the surprising decline in violence

how does suicide factor into this..?

12 min – in a state of anarchy – want to kill the other before they kill you..

different definition of anarchy..

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ie:

Joey Ayoub (@joeyayoub) tweeted at 4:51 AM – 23 Mar 2017 : I genuinely don’t understand what people talk about when they say ‘our way of life’ when I see so many homeless people in London. (http://twitter.com/joeyayoub/status/844864172756119557?s=17)

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find/follow Steven:

link twitter

 

 

http://stevenpinker.com/

wikipedia small

 

 

 

 

Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a Canadian-born U.S. experimental psychologist,cognitive scientist, linguist, and popular science author. He is a Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and is known for his advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.

Pinker’s academic specializations are visual cognition and psycholinguistics. His experimental subjects include mental imagery, shape recognition, visual attention, children’s language development, regular and irregular phenomena in language, the neural bases of words and grammar, and the psychology of innuendoand euphemism. He published two technical books which proposed a general theory of language acquisitionand applied it to children’s learning of verbs. In particular, his work with Alan Prince published in 1989 critiqued the connectionist model of how children acquire the past tense of English verbs, arguing instead that children use default rules such as adding “-ed” to make regular forms, sometimes in error, but are obliged to learn irregular forms one by one.

In his popular books, he has argued that the human faculty for language is an instinct, an innate behavior shaped by natural selection and adapted to our communication needs. He is the author of seven books for a general audience. Five of these, namely The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), Words and Rules (2000), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007) describe aspects of the field of psycholinguistics, and include, among much else, accessible accounts of his own research. The sixth book,The Better Angels of Our Nature (2011), makes the case that violence in human societies has in general steadily declined with time, and identifies six major causes of this decline. His seventh book, The Sense of Style, offers a scientific and psychologically based argument on why so much of today’s academic and popular writing is difficult for readers to understand.

[..]

Pinker’s 1994 The Language Instinct was the first of several books to combine cognitive science with behavioral geneticsand evolutionary psychology. It introduces the science of language and popularizes Noam Chomsky‘s theory that language is an innate faculty of mind, with the controversial twist that the faculty for language evolved by natural selection as an adaptation for communication. Pinker criticizes several widely held ideas about language – that it needs to be taught, that people’s grammar is poor and getting worse with new ways of speaking, the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis that language limits the kinds of thoughts a person can have, and that other great apes can learn languages. Pinker sees language as unique to humans, evolved to solve the specific problem of communication among social hunter-gatherers. He argues that it is as much an instinct as specialized adaptative behavior in other species, such as a spider’s web-weaving or a beaver’s dam-building.

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better angels of our nature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book links to amazon

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notes/highlights:

No matter how small the percentage of violent deaths may be, in absolute numbers there will always be enough of them to fill the evening news, so people’s impressions of violence will be disconnected from the actual proportions.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 205-207). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Across time and space, the more peaceable societies also tend to be richer, healthier, better educated, better governed, more respectful of their women, and more likely to engage in trade.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 235-236). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

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Six Trends ( chapters 2 through 7). .. first, ..millennia,..from the anarchy of the hunting, gathering, and horticultural societies .. to the first agricultural civilizations with cities and governments , beginning around five thousand years ago. ..second ..half a millennium ..Between the late Middle Ages and the 20th century, European countries saw a tenfold-to-fiftyfold decline in their rates of homicide. …third ..centuries .. 17th and 18th centuries .. first organized movements to abolish socially sanctioned forms of violence like despotism, slavery, dueling, judicial torture, superstitious killing, sadistic punishment, and cruelty to animals, together with the first stirrings of systematic pacifism. …fourth ..after the end of World War II. .. the great powers, and developed states in general, have stopped waging war on one another. . fifth ..since the end of the Cold War in 1989 , organized conflicts of all kinds— civil wars, genocides, repression by autocratic governments, and terrorist attacks— have declined throughout the world. ..sixth .. postwar era, 1948, has seen a growing revulsion against aggression on smaller scales, including violence against ethnic minorities, women, children, homosexuals, and animals.

Five Inner Demons (chapter 8). ..Aggression is not a single motive, let alone a mounting urge. It is the output of several psychological systems that differ in their environmental triggers, their internal logic, their neurobiological basis, and their social distribution. ..1\ Predatory or instrumental..practical means to an end. 2\ Dominance is the urge for authority, prestige, glory, and power, … 3\ Revenge ..retribution, punishment, and justice. 4\ Sadism is pleasure taken in another’s suffering. And 5\ ideology is a shared belief system, usually involving a vision of utopia, that justifies unlimited violence in pursuit of unlimited good.

Four Better Angels (chapter 9). 1\ Empathy 2\ Self-control  3\ moral sense sanctifies a set of norms and taboos that govern the interactions among people in a culture, sometimes in ways that decrease violence,  4\ reason ..

Five Historical Forces (chapter 10). 1\ The Leviathan, a state and judiciary ..defuse the temptation of exploitative attack, inhibit the impulse for revenge, .. 2\ Commerce is a positive-sum game in which everybody can win; as technological progress allows the exchange of goods and ideas ..other people become more valuable alive than dead, and they are less likely to become targets of demonization and dehumanization. 3\ Feminization .. Since violence is largely a male pastime, cultures that empower women tend to move away from the glorification of violence ..4\ cosmopolitanism .. expand their circle of sympathy to embrace them. .. 5\ knowledge and rationality to human affairs— the escalator of reason— can force people to recognize the futility of cycles of violence,..

Instead of asking, “Why is there war?” we might ask, “Why is there peace?” We can obsess not just over what we have been doing wrong but also over what we have been doing right. Because we have been doing something right, and it would be good to know what, exactly, it is.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 307-309). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

I reiterated these observations in response to the annual question on the online forum http://www.edge.org , which in 2007 was “What Are You Optimistic About?” My squib provoked a flurry of correspondence from scholars in historical criminology and international studies who told me that the evidence for a historical reduction in violence is more extensive than I had realized. 4 It was their data that convinced me that there was an underappreciated story waiting to be told.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 315-319). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

According to the biblical scholar Raymund Schwager, the Hebrew Bible “contains over six hundred passages that explicitly talk about nations, kings, or individuals attacking, destroying, and killing others. . . . Aside from the approximately one thousand verses in which Yahweh himself appears as the direct executioner of violent punishments, and the many texts in which the Lord delivers the criminal to the punisher’s sword,

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 565-568). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Human life held no value in comparison with unthinking obedience to custom and authority.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 592-593). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

About half a million people died these agonizing deaths to provide Roman citizens with their bread and circuses. The grandeur that was Rome casts our violent entertainment in a different light (to say nothing of our “extreme sports” and “sudden-death overtime”).

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 624-626). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Within recent memory, many schoolchildren were disciplined in ways that today would be classified as “torture” and that would put their teachers in jail.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 949-950). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

war on kids. solitary confinement. meds. shame.. ?

absence of evidence

 

 

 

 

Readers of this book (and as we shall see, people in most of the rest of the world) no longer have to worry about abduction into sexual slavery, divinely commanded genocide,

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 996-998). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

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The logic of the Leviathan can be summed up in a triangle (figure 2– 1). In every act of violence, there are three interested parties: the aggressor, the victim , and a bystander. Each has a motive for violence: the aggressor to prey upon the victim, the victim to retaliate, the bystander to minimize collateral damage from their fight. Violence between the combatants may be called war; violence by the bystander against the combatants may be called law. The Leviathan theory, in a nutshell, is that law is better than war. Hobbes’s theory makes a testable prediction about the history of violence. The Leviathan made its first appearance in a late act in the human pageant. Archaeologists tell us that humans lived in a state of anarchy until the emergence of civilization some five thousand years ago, when sedentary farmers first coalesced into cities and states and developed the first governments.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1093-1099). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

As I mentioned in the preface, I think the idea that biological theories of violence are fatalistic and romantic theories optimistic gets everything backwards, but that isn’t the point of this chapter. When it came to violence in pre-state peoples, Hobbes and Rousseau were talking through their hats: neither knew a thing about life before civilization. Today we can do better. This chapter reviews the facts about violence in the earliest stages of the human career. The story begins before we were human, and we will look at aggression in our primate cousins to see what it reveals about the emergence of violence in our evolutionary lineage.

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Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1118-1122). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

For all these reasons, it makes no sense to test for historical changes in violence by plotting deaths against a time line from the calendar. If we discover that violence has declined in a given people, it is because their mode of social organization has changed, not because the historical clock has struck a certain hour..

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1255-1257). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Now let’s turn to the present. According to the most recent edition of the Statistical Abstract of the United States, 2,448,017 Americans died in 2005. It was one of the country’s worst years for war deaths in decades, with the armed forces embroiled in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan . Together the two wars killed 945 Americans, amounting to 0.0004 (four-hundredths of a percent) of American deaths that year. 57 Even if we throw in the 18,124 domestic homicides, the total rate of violent death adds up to 0.008, or eight -tenths of a percentage point. In other Western countries , the rates were even lower. And in the world as a whole , the Human Security Report Project counted 17,400 deaths that year that were directly caused by political violence (war, terrorism, genocide, and killings by warlords and militias), for a rate of 0.0003 (three-hundredths of a percent). 58 It’s a conservative estimate , comprising only identifiable deaths, but even if we generously multiplied it by twenty to estimate undocumented battle deaths and indirect deaths from famine and disease, it would not reach the 1 percent mark.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1439-1444). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

2005 suicides: 32,637 http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/lib/dmhas/prevention/cyspi/aas2005data.pdf

• Suicide ranks 11th as a cause of death; Homicide ranks 15th_ — 3rd for young-

When the anthropologist Bruce Knauft did the arithmetic, he found that their homicide rate was 30 per 100,000 per year, which puts it in the range of the infamously dangerous American cities in their most violent years and at three times the rate of the United States as a whole in its most violent decade.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1518-1520). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

or fairly close to the rate in the us in 2005 of white male suicides. 19.7. just suicides..  23,478. curious why this data is left out. no?

It goes without saying that peoples that have been brought under the jurisdiction of a government will not fight as much, so they are simply excluded from studies of violence in

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1530-1531). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

what about high incarceration rate,.. high solitary confinement rate..?

People were less likely to become victims of homicide or casualties of war, but they were now under the thumbs of tyrants, clerics, and kleptocrats. This gives us the more sinister sense of the word pacification: not just the bringing about of peace but the imposition of absolute control by a coercive government. Solving this second problem would have to wait another few millennia, and in much of the world it remains unsolved to this day.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1586-1589). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 3

unless i’m missing this.. deciding – because i said so is ok for the sake of civilization.. and evidence of civilization is data.. ie:

But by the 20th century the annual homicide rate of every Western European country had fallen into a narrow band centered on 1 per 100,000.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1659-1660). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

so seemingly similar to obama’s sotu – specifically:”Our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.” – and how that jives with Denise Pope research – 95% admitting to cheating. or looking at # of remedial courses needed in uni. or # of ceo’s claiming kids don’t know what to do when they aren’t given directions.. or again – suicide rate. .. all that.

Elias developed the theory of the Civilizing Process not by poring over numbers , which weren’t available in his day, but by examining the texture of everyday life in medieval Europe.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1690-1691). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

It hardly counts as an explanation to say that people behaved less violently because they learned to inhibit their violent impulses. Nor can we feel confident that people’s impulsiveness changed first and that a reduction in violence was the result, rather than the other way around.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1871-1873). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

During Norman rule in England , some genius recognized the lucrative possibilities in nationalizing justice. For centuries the legal system had treated homicide as a tort: in lieu of vengeance, the victim’s family would demand a payment from the killer’s family, known as blood money or wergild (“ man-payment”; the wer is the same prefix as in werewolf, “man-wolf”). King Henry I redefined homicide as an offense against the state and its metonym, the crown. Murder cases were no longer John Doe vs. Richard Roe, but The Crown vs. John Doe (or later, in the United States, The People vs. John Doe or The State of Michigan vs. John Doe). The brilliance of the plan was that the wergild (often the offender’s entire assets, together with additional money rounded up from his family) went to the king instead of to the family of the victim.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1890-1896). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Once Leviathan was in charge, the rules of the game changed. A man’s ticket to fortune was no longer being the baddest knight in the area but making a pilgrimage to the king’s court and currying favor with him and his entourage. The court , basically a government bureaucracy, had no use for hotheads and loose cannons, but sought responsible custodians to run its provinces. The nobles had to change their marketing. They had to cultivate their manners, so as not to offend the king’s minions,

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1898-1902). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The manners appropriate for the court came to be called “courtly” manners or “courtesy.” The etiquette guides, with their advice on where to place one’s nasal mucus, originated as manuals for how to behave in the king’s court. Elias traces the centuries-long sequence in which courtesy percolated down from aristocrats dealing with the court to the elite bourgeoisie dealing with the aristocrats, and from them to the rest of the middle class. He summed up his theory, which linked the centralization of state power to a psychological change in the populace, with a slogan: Warriors to courtiers.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1902-1906). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The second exogenous change during the later Middle Ages was an economic revolution. The economic base of the feudal system was land and the peasants who worked it. As real estate agents like to say , land is the one thing they can’t make more of. In an economy based on land, if someone wants to improve his standard of living, or for that matter maintain it during a Malthusian population expansion, his primary option is to conquer the neighboring lot. In the language of game theory, competition for land is zero-sum: one player’s gain is another player’s loss.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1906-1910). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A fundamental insight of modern economics is that the key to the creation of wealth is a division of labor, in which specialists learn to produce a commodity with increasing cost-effectiveness and have the means to exchange their specialized products efficiently. One infrastructure that allows efficient exchange is transportation, which makes it possible for producers to trade their surpluses even when they are separated by distance. Another is money, interest, and middlemen, which allow producers to exchange many kinds of surpluses with many other producers at many points in time.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1933-1937). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

a free market puts a premium on empathy. 38 A good businessperson has to keep the customers satisfied or a competitor will woo them away, and the more customers he attracts, the richer he will be. This idea, which came to be called doux commerce (gentle commerce), was expressed by the economist Samuel Ricard in 1704: Commerce attaches [people] to one another through mutual utility…. Through commerce, man learns to deliberate, to be honest, to acquire manners, to be prudent and reserved in both talk and action. Sensing the necessity to be wise and honest in order to succeed, he flees vice, or at least his demeanor exhibits decency and seriousness so as not to arouse any adverse judgment on the part of present and future acquaintances. 39

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1940-1947). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

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Life presented people with more positive-sum games and reduced the attractiveness of zero -sum plunder.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1954-1955). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Suppose a knight can either plunder ten bushels of grain from his neighbor or, by expending the same amount of time and energy, raise the money to buy five bushels from him. The theft option looks pretty good. But if the knight anticipates that the state will fine him six bushels for the theft, he’d be left with only four, so he’s better off with honest toil. Not only do the Leviathan’s incentives make commerce more attractive, but commerce makes the job of the Leviathan easier.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1960-1963). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

so extrinsic motivation..?

it’s easier to deter people from crime if the lawful alternative is more appealing. The two civilizing forces, then, reinforce each other, and Elias considered them to be part of a single process. The centralization of state control and its monopolization of violence, the growth of craft guilds and bureaucracies, the replacement of barter with money, the development of technology, the enhancement of trade, the growing webs of dependency among far-flung individuals, all fit into an organic whole. And to prosper within that whole, one had to cultivate faculties of empathy and self-control until they became, as he put it, second nature.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1966-1970). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

In each transition, entities with the capacity to be either selfish or cooperative tended toward cooperation when they could be subsumed into a larger whole.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1974-1975). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Nazi era did not consist in an upsurge in feuding among warlords or of citizens stabbing each other over the dinner table, but in violence whose scale, nature, and causes are altogether different. In fact in Germany during the Nazi years the declining trend for one-on-one homicides continued

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1987-1989). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

perhaps what we see today.. subliminal/secret death/crime.. ie: suicide, et al

In chapter 8 we will see how the compartmentalization of the moral sense , and the distribution of belief and enforcement among different sectors of a population, can lead to ideologically driven wars and genocides even in otherwise civilized societies.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 1990-1992). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

perhaps even because of the civilization, ie: coerced/forced/extrinsic living ness

Many criminologists believe that the source of the state’s pacifying effect isn’t just its brute coercive power but the trust it commands among the populace.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 1998). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A Leviathan can civilize a society only when the citizens feel that its laws , law enforcement , and other social arrangements are legitimate, so that they don’t fall back on their worst impulses as soon as Leviathan’s back is turned.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2000-2002). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Two gentlemen never fight; the art of boxing is brought into use in punishing a stronger and more imprudent man of a class beneath your own.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2059-2060). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

lovely. part of the decline..?

The main reason that violence correlates with low socioeconomic status today is that the elites and the middle class pursue justice with the legal system while the lower classes resort to what scholars of violence call “self-help.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2072-2074). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

what..? or perhaps because the elites pursue oppression with a corrupt legal system. no?..

what am i missing here. i’m struggling to read this.

lower status.. lower class.. ?

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/16880-the-case-of-the-brutal-savage-poirot-or-clouseau-or-why-steven-pinker-like-jared-diamond-is-wrong

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Better_Angels_of_Our_Nature

John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School criticized the book in a 3 December 2012 article in Foreign Policy for using statistics that he said did not accurately represent the threats of civilians dying in war:

“The problem with the conclusions reached in these studies is their reliance on “battle death” statistics. The pattern of the past century—one recurring in history—is that the deaths of noncombatants due to war has risen, steadily and very dramatically. In World War I, perhaps only 10 percent of the 10 million-plus who died were civilians. The number of noncombatant deaths jumped to as much as 50 percent of the 50 million-plus lives lost in World War II, and the sad toll has kept on rising ever since”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Scahill

Scahill’s work has sparked several Congressional investigations. In 2010, Scahill testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on the United States’ shadow wars in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere:

As the war rages on in Afghanistan and—despite spin to the contrary—in Iraq as well, US Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency are engaged in parallel, covert, shadow wars that are waged in near total darkness and largely away from effective or meaningful Congressional oversight or journalistic scrutiny. The actions and consequences of these wars is seldom discussed in public or investigated by the Congress. The current US strategy can be summed up as follows: We are trying to kill our way to peace. And the killing fields are growing in number.

ok. new day. thinking.. Steven has a definition of violence. from that definition.. he sees/shares a decrease. that’s good news. good news is good. no doubt.. there is good in the world.

comment at davos 2015 at 45 min –security in open:

http://www.weforum.org/sessions/summary/securing-open-societies

not about education or economic status.. but about how much you feel you are a contributing player in the community/society

It’s not just that blacks get arrested and convicted more often, which would suggest that the race gap might be an artifact of racial profiling. The same gap appears in anonymous surveys in which victims identify the race of their attackers, and in surveys in which people of both races recount their own history of violent offenses. 78 By the way, though the southern states have a higher percentage of African Americans than the northern states, the North-South difference is not a by-product of the white-black difference. Southern whites are more violent than northern whites, and southern blacks are more violent than northern blacks.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2276-2280). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Then a gap opened up, and it widened even further in the 20th century, when homicides among African Americans skyrocketed, going from three times the white rate in New York in the 1850s to almost thirteen times the white rate a century later. 83 A probe into the causes, including economic and residential segregation, could fill another book. But one of them, as we have seen, is that communities of lower-income African Americans were effectively stateless, relying on a culture of honor (sometimes called “the code of the streets”) to defend their interests rather calling in the law.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2335-2339). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

We still have to explain why their culture of honor is so self-sustaining. After all, a functioning criminal justice system has been in place in southern states for some time now . Perhaps honor has staying power because the first man who dares to abjure it would be heaped with contempt for cowardice and treated as an easy mark.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2430-2432). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

matt taibbi, bryan stevenson, ..?

Mining boom towns elsewhere in the West also had annual homicide rates in the upper gallery: 87 per 100,000 in Aurora, Nevada; 105 in Leadville, Colorado; 116 in Bodie, California; and a whopping 24,000 (almost one in four) in Benton, Wyoming.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2466-2468). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

this was following a reference to the time period of the gold rush – 1849,,

i don’t know.. but feel pretty certain that #’s like 24,000/100,000 are pretty misleading.. ie: 1 in 4 out of 50? not so much of a factor.. reference below does say lack of crime control.. but also said only lasted a couple months.. so how annual crime rates..

perhaps a case where going with rates is a disservice to representation/meaning/number..

http://wiki.wyomingplaces.org/w/page/12714540/Benton

Benton, located on an alkali flat two or three miles west of Fort Steele (a military reservation at the railroad crossing of the North Platte River) was another railroad tent town that sprang into being in the year 1868. This town was called Benton and like Bear Town, there was a leavening element among its residents, and they later helped greatly in developing Rawlins into a major Wyoming town. During the first few months of Benton’s existence, it was a reputed moral replica of Sodom and Gomorrah, with devotees of every form of outlawry. Crime control was absent in Benton. (WPA)

– –

back to book – a few days later

The flood of violence from the 1960s through the 1980s reshaped American culture, the political scene, and everyday life.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2541-2542). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

crime boom was an echo of the baby boom. Unfortunately, the numbers don’t add up. If it were just a matter of there being more teenagers and twenty-somethings who were committing crimes at their usual rates, the increase in crime from 1960 to 1970 would have been 13 percent , not 135 percent. 112 Young men weren’t simply more numerous than their predecessors; they were more violent too.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2566-2569). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

civil rights movement had exposed a moral blot on the American establishment, and as critics shone a light on other parts of society , more stains came into view. Among them were the threat of a nuclear holocaust, the pervasiveness of poverty, the mistreatment of Native Americans, the many illiberal military interventions, particularly the Vietnam War,

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2608-2611). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

so – impact of over-civilization… no?

Surveys of popular opinion from the 1960s through the 1990s showed a plummeting of trust in every social institution.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 2613). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A prime target was the inner governor of civilized behavior, self-control. Spontaneity, self-expression, and a defiance of inhibitions became cardinal virtues. “If it feels good, do it ,” commanded a popular lapel button.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2623-2624). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Together with self-control and societal connectedness, a third ideal came under attack: marriage and family life, which had done so much to domesticate male violence in the preceding decades.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2647-2649). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

said societal interconnectedness tied tightly with time..ie: so throwing out of watches et al

The crack-fueled violence bubble of the late 1980s involved large numbers of teenagers, and the population of teenagers was set to grow in the 1990s as an echo of the baby boom. But the overall crime-prone cohort, which includes twenty-somethings as well as teenagers, actually fell in the 1990s.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2792-2794). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Carl Hart – crack fueled violence bubble..?

Among economic measures, inequality is generally a better predictor of violence than unemployment.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 2807). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The problem with invoking inequality to explain changes in violence is that while it correlates with violence across states and countries, it does not correlate with violence over time within a state or country, possibly because the real cause of the differences is not inequality per se but stable features of a state’s governance or culture that affect both inequality and violence. 146 (For example, in unequal societies, poor neighborhoods are left without police protection and can become zones of violent anarchy.)

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2810-2814). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

? – whoa.

second is that the Civilizing Process, which the counterculture had tried to reverse in the 1960s, was restored to its forward direction. Indeed, it seems to have entered a new phase. By the early 1990s, Americans had gotten sick of the muggers, vandals, and drive-by shootings, and the country beefed up the criminal justice system in several ways. The most effective was also the crudest: putting more men behind bars for longer stretches of time.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2866-2869). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

is he in favor of this?

Did these bigger and smarter police forces actually drive down crime? Research on this question is the usual social science rat’s nest of confounded variables, but the big picture suggests that the answer is “yes, in part,” even if we can’t pinpoint which of the innovations did the trick. Not only do several analyses suggest that something in the new policing reduced crime, but the jurisdiction that spent the most effort in perfecting its police, New York City, showed the greatest reduction of all.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2921-2924). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

As the criminologist Franklin Zimring put it in The Great American Crime Decline, “If the combination of more cops, more aggressive policing, and management reforms did account for as much as a 35% crime decrease (half the [U.S.] total), it would be by far the biggest crime prevention achievement in the recorded history of metropolitan policing.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2926-2929). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

“When the system isn’t consistent and predictable, when people are punished randomly, they think, My probation officer doesn’t like me, or, Someone’s prejudiced against me, rather than seeing that everyone who breaks a rule is treated equally, in precisely the same way.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 2989-2990). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

whoa. the divide.

what Elias called a “controlled decontrolling of emotional controls” and what Wouters calls third nature. 182 If our first nature consists of the evolved motives that govern life in a state of nature, and our second nature consists of the ingrained habits of a civilized society, then our third nature consists of a conscious reflection on these habits, in which we evaluate which aspects of a culture’s norms are worth adhering to and which have outlived their usefulness.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3031-3034). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 4

universally decried eruptions of torture in recent times cannot be equated with the centuries of institutionalized sadism in medieval Europe. Torture in the Middle Ages was not hidden , denied, or euphemized. It was not just a tactic by which brutal regimes intimidated their political enemies or moderate regimes extracted information from suspected terrorists. It did not erupt from a frenzied crowd stirred up in hatred against a dehumanized enemy. No, torture was woven into the fabric of public life. It was a form of punishment that was cultivated and celebrated, an outlet for artistic and technological creativity. Many of the instruments of torture were beautifully crafted and ornamented.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3072-3077). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

oh my.

This chapter is about the remarkable transformation in history that has left us reacting to these practices with horror.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3116-3117). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

on thinking of this book being part of – frustrating books – and what that even means. i think it’s more – that i learn from all of this.. maybe even more learning/stretching from frustrating reading.. so that’s good and don’t want to stop that. in fact.. that’s what was missing in prior 40 yrs for me. no? the frustrating books idea (with a bad bent) is that some of the things are taken by society as a given.. because written by people we just automatically listen to and believe.

reading Pinker and Zinn and Hart and Stevenson all at the same time.. very helpful. to me.

is listening to every voice a part of your soul.. ness (unknown)

The new ideology may be called humanism or human rights, and its sudden impact on Western life in the second half of the 18th century may be called the Humanitarian Revolution.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3124-3125). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

If the opening of this chapter has been graphic, it is only to remind you of the realities of the era that the Enlightenment put to an end.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3131-3132). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

in Inventing Human Rights, the historian Lynn Hunt notes that human rights have been conspicuously affirmed at two moments in history. ..American Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen in 1789. The other was the midpoint of the 20th century, which saw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, ..As we shall see, the declarations were more than feel-good verbiage; the Humanitarian Revolution initiated the abolition of many barbaric practices that had been unexceptionable features of life for most of human history. But the custom that most dramatically illustrates the advance of humanitarian sentiments was eradicated well before that time, and its disappearance is a starting point for understanding the decline of institutionalized violence.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3134-3140). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Matthew White estimates that between the years 1440 and 1524 CE the Aztecs sacrificed about forty people a day, 1.2 million people in all.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3160-3161). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The Indian practice of suttee, in which a widow would join her late husband on the funeral pyre, is yet another variation. About 200,000 women suffered these pointless deaths between the Middle Ages and 1829, when the practice was outlawed.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3169-3171). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

..Baruch Spinoza, John Milton (who wrote, “Let truth and falsehood grapple . . . truth is strong”),

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3381-3382). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Today capital punishment is widely seen as a human rights violation. In 2007 the UN General Assembly voted 105– 54 (with 29 abstentions) to declare a nonbinding moratorium on the death penalty, a measure that had failed in 1994 and 1999. 70 One of the countries that opposed the resolution was the United States. As with most forms of violence, the United States is an outlier among Western democracies (or perhaps I should say “are outliers,” since seventeen states, mostly in the North, have abolished the death penalty as well..

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3510-3513). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

in present-day America a “death sentence” is a bit of a fiction, because mandatory legal reviews delay most executions indefinitely, and only a few tenths of a percentage point of the nation’s murderers are ever put to death.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3524-3526). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

? true..? – and what about deaths because of delays.. in prison..? for those not even on death row..?

In recent decades the only crime other than murder that has led to an execution is “conspiracy to commit murder.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 3531). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

not what i got from Bryan’s book..

In 2007 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty may not be applied to any crime against an individual “where the victim’s life was not taken” (though the death penalty is still available for a few “crimes against the state” such as espionage, treason, and terrorism).

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3531-3533). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Yet today we know that abolition, far from reversing the centuries-long decline of homicide, proceeded in tandem with it, and that the countries of modern Western Europe, none of which execute people, have the lowest homicide rates in the world. It is one of many cases in which institutionalized violence was once seen as indispensable to the functioning of a society , yet once it was abolished, the society managed to get along perfectly well without it.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3551-3554). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 5 – slavery

At least 17 million Africans, and perhaps as many as 65 million, died in the slave trade. 79 The slave trade not only killed people in transit, but by providing a continuous stream of bodies, it encouraged slaveholders to work their slaves to death and replace them with new ones.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3577-3579). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

According to legend, when Abraham Lincoln met Stowe in 1862, he said, “So you’re the little woman who started this great war.” In 1865, after the most destructive war in American history, slavery was abolished by the 13th amendment to the constitution.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3616-3618). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Credit checks, credit ratings, loan insurance, and credit cards are just some of the ways that economic life continued after borrowers could no longer be deterred by the threat of legal coercion. An entire category of violence evaporated, and mechanisms that carried out the same function materialized, without anyone realizing that that was what was happening.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3648-3651). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?… Matt..?

modern human trafficking, as heinous as it is, cannot be equated with the horrors of the African slave trade. As David Feingold, who initiated the UNESCO Trafficking Statistics Project in 2003, notes of today’s hotbeds of trafficking:…. Feingold also notes that the numbers of trafficking victims reported by activist groups and repeated by journalists and nongovernmental organizations are usually pulled out of thin air and inflated for their advocacy value.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3654-3664). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

Kevin Bales … “While the real number of slaves is the largest there has ever been, it is also probably the smallest proportion of the world population ever in slavery. Today, we don’t have to win the legal battle; there’s a law against it in every country. We don’t have to win the economic argument; no economy is dependent on slavery (unlike in the 19th century, when whole industries could have collapsed). And we don’t have to win the moral argument; no one is trying to justify it any more.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3666-3669). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A government, according to the famous characterization by the sociologist Max Weber, is an institution that holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Governments, then, are institutions that by their very nature are designed to carry out violence. Ideally this violence is held in constraint reserve as a deterrent to criminals and invaders, but for millennia most governments showed no such restraint and indulged in violence exuberantly.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3675-3678). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

At the same time that governments were gradually becoming less tyrannical, thinkers were seeking a principled way to reel in government violence to the minimum necessary. It began with a conceptual revolution. Instead of taking government for granted as an organic part of the society, or as the local franchise of God’s rule over his kingdom, people began to think of a government as a gadget— a piece of technology invented by humans for the purpose of enhancing their collective welfare. Of course, governments had never been deliberately invented, and they had been in place long before history was recorded, so this way of thinking required a considerable leap of the imagination. Thinkers such as Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, and Rousseau, and later Jefferson, Hamilton, James Madison, and John Adams, fantasized about what life was like in a state of nature, and played out thought experiments about what a group of rational actors would come up with to better their lives. The resulting institutions would clearly bear no resemblance to the theocracies and hereditary monarchies of the day.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 3709-3716). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

govern\ment

loc 3851 – Kant saying war is natural peace must be established (ie: not natural), pledged, in a civil state.

so. cool. but not sustainable.

the expansion of people’s minds could have added a dose of humanitarianism to their emotions and their beliefs. (growth of writing and literacy – 17th-18th cent)

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4028-4029). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The human capacity for compassion is not a reflex that is triggered automatically by the presence of another living thing.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 4031). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

perhaps.. at least not the humans in the conditions they have been in in the past.. we don’t know about a human capacities – in different conditions. conditions we are capable of facilitating today. no?

It’s not a big leap to suppose that the habit of reading other people’s words could put one in the habit of entering other people’s minds, including their pleasures and pains.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4041-4042). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

This self-consciousness is the first step toward asking whether the practice could be done in some other way.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4047-4048). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

My own view is that the two developments really are linked. When a large enough community of free, rational agents confers on how a society should run its affairs, steered by logical consistency and feedback from the world, their consensus will veer in certain directions.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4152-4154). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

As Shakespeare’s Shylock asks: Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4188-4192). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

A government is a good thing to have, because in a state of anarchy people’s self-interest, self-deception, and fear of these shortcomings in others would lead to constant strife. People are better off abjuring violence, if everyone else agrees to do so, and vesting authority in a disinterested third party. But since that third party will consist of human beings, not angels, their power must be checked by the power of other people, to force them to govern with the consent of the governed.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4217-4220). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

we don’t know that for sure today.. (constant strife w/o govt) – in fact many people today would attribute their constant strife/stress to govt.

what if we become the said govt. what if we are that third party. (along with everyone being free.. getting a go everyday)

And they should foster arrangements that allow people to flourish from cooperation and voluntary exchange.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4221-4222). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

yes. that. we can do that for each other.

 ch 5 – the long peace

The 20th century would seem to be an insult to the very suggestion that violence has declined over the course of history. Commonly labeled the most violent century in history, its first half saw a cascade of world wars, civil wars, and genocides that Matthew White has called the Hemoclysm, the blood-flood.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4371-4373). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The second half of the 20th century saw a historically unprecedented avoidance of war between the great powers which the historian John Gaddis has called the Long Peace, followed by the equally astonishing fizzling out of the Cold War. 7 How can we make sense of the multiple personalities of this twisted century?

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4377-4379). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

most violence.. but also most people

So when one adjusts for population size, the availability bias, and historical myopia, it is far from clear that the 20th century was the bloodiest in history.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 4545-4546). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

too many stats..

romantic militarized nationalism.. alex d toqueville and others even

For all its literary popularity, the antiwar movement seemed too idealistic at the time to be taken seriously by the political mainstream.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5505-5506). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

though Angell had never claimed that war was obsolete— he argued only that it served no economic purpose, and was terrified that glory -drunk leaders would blunder into it anyway—that was how he was interpreted. 130 After World War I he became a laughingstock, and to this day he remains a symbol for naïve optimism about the impending end of war. While I was writing this book, more than one concerned colleague took me aside to educate me on Norman Angell.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5510-5513). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The immediate cause of World War I had been a showdown over honor.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 5546). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Queen Noor ness

War was now undergoing a similar deflation, perhaps fulfilling Oscar Wilde’s prophecy that “as long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5565-5567). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Oscar

the new understanding took territorial expansion off the table as a legitimate move in the game of international relations. The borders may have made little sense, the governments within them may not have deserved to govern, but rationalizing the borders by violence was no longer a live option in the minds of statesmen.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5796-5798). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Together with nationalism and conquest, another ideal has faded in the postwar decades: honor. As Luard understates it, “In general, the value placed on human life today is probably higher, and that placed on national prestige (or ‘honor’) probably lower, than in earlier times.” 171

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5847-5849). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Most of the deaths in Iraq were caused by intercommunal violence in the anarchy that followed, and by 2008 the toll of 4,000 American deaths (compare Vietnam’s 58,000) helped elect a president who within two years brought the country’s combat mission to an end.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5960-5962). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Goldstein’s assessment was confirmed in 2011 when Science magazine reported data from WikiLeaks documents and from a previously classified civilian casualty database of the American-led military coalition. The documents revealed that around 5,300 civilians had been killed in Afghanistan from 2004 through 2010, the majority (around 80 percent) by Taliban insurgents rather than coalition forces. Even if the estimate is doubled , it would represent an extraordinarily low number of civilian deaths for a major military operation— in the Vietnam War, by comparison, at least 800,000 civilians died in battle. 184

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 5978-5983). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

.. the bomb. War had become too dangerous to contemplate, and leaders were scared straight.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 6011). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

In the same vein, the foreign policy analyst Kenneth Waltz has suggested that we “thank our nuclear blessings,” and Elspeth Rostow proposed that the nuclear bomb be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. 190 Let’s hope not. If the Long Peace were a nuclear peace, it would be a fool’s paradise, .. because any accidental…

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 6015-6017). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 6 – the new peace

our country is doing the same damned thing.” 6 This assumes that 5,000 Americans dying is the same damned thing as 58,000 Americans dying, and that a hundred thousand Iraqis being killed is the same damned thing as several million Vietnamese being killed. If we don’t keep an eye on the numbers, the programming policy “..This chapter is about three kinds of organized violence that have stoked the new pessimism.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 6617-6622). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

It’s only recently that political scientists have tried to measure these kinds of destruction, and now that they have, they have reached a surprising conclusion: All these kinds of killing are in decline.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 6640-6642). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

My own reading of histories of genocide has left me with images to disturb sleep for a lifetime.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7188-7189). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The cognitive habit of treating people as instances of a category gets truly dangerous when people come into conflict.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7222-7223). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Like all forms of revenge, a retaliatory massacre is pointless once it has to be carried out, but a welladvertised and implacable drive to carry it out, regardless of its costs at the time , may have been programmed into people’s brains by evolution, cultural norms, or both as a way to make the deterrent credible.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7249-7251). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

As Aristotle wrote, “The angry man wishes the object of his anger to suffer in return; hatred wishes its object not to exist.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7262-7263). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The indispensability of leaders to 20th-century genocide is made plain by the fact that when the leaders died or were removed by force, the killings stopped.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7413-7414). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

historians have never found genocide particularly interesting. Since antiquity the stacks of libraries have been filled with scholarship on war, but scholarship on genocide is nearly nonexistent, though it killed more people. As Chalk and Jonassohn point out of ancient histories, “We know that empires have disappeared and that cities were destroyed, and we suspect that some wars were genocidal in their results; but we do not know what happened to the bulk of the populations involved in these events. Their fate was simply too unimportant. When they were mentioned at all, they were usually lumped together with the herds of oxen, sheep, and other livestock.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7418-7420). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

seen recently in the paris/nigeria happenings

1638, after which the minister Increase Mather asked his congregation to thank God “that on this day we have sent six hundred heathen souls to Hell.” 134 This celebration of genocide did not hurt his career. He later became president of Harvard University, and the residential house with which I am currently affiliated is named after him

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7452-7455). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The shocking truth is that until recently most people didn’t think there was anything particularly wrong with genocide, as long as it didn’t happen to them.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7466-7467). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

the 9/ 11 attacks sent the United States into two wars that have taken far more American and British lives than the hijackers did, to say nothing of the lives of Afghans and Iraqis. The discrepancy between the panic generated by terrorism and the deaths generated by terrorism is no accident. Panic is the whole point of..

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7719-7720). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The payoff was not lost on Osama bin Laden, who gloated that “America is full of fear from its north to its south, from its west to its east,” and that the $ 500,000 he spent on the 9/ 11 attacks cost the country more than half a trillion dollars in economic losses in the immediate aftermath.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 7749-7751). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The up-close look at suicide terrorists at first seems pretty depressing, because it suggests we are fighting a multiheaded hydra that cannot be decapitated by killing its leadership or invading its home base. Remember, though, that all terrorist organizations follow an arc toward failure. Are there any signs that Islamist terrorism is beginning to burn out? The answer is a clear yes.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 8002-8005). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

Yes, the fate of dodgeball is yet another sign of the historical decline of violence.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 8485-8486). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

outlawed et al. reminds me of tug of war bans.

a 2008 review of violence against Muslims by a human rights organization could not turn up a single clear case of a fatality in the West motivated by anti-Muslim hatred. 17 Horowitz identifies several reasons for the disappearance of deadly ethnic riots in the West. One is governance. For all their abandon in assaulting their victims, rioters are sensitive to their own safety, and know when the police will turn a blind eye. Prompt law enforcement can quell riots and nip cycles of group-against-group revenge in the bud, but the procedures have to be thought out in advance. Since the local police often come from the same ethnic group as the perpetrators and may sympathize with their hatreds, a professionalized national militia is more effective than the neighborhood cops.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 8669-8674). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

In 2007 in the United States, 221 infants were murdered out of 4.3 million births.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9391-9392). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

In 2003 a million fetuses were aborted in the United States, and about 5 million were aborted throughout Europe and the West, with at least another 11 million aborted elsewhere in the world. If abortion counts as a form of violence, the West has made no progress in its treatment of children.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9490-9492). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

In 1976, when people were asked, “Is child abuse a serious problem in this country?” 10 percent said yes; when the same question was asked in 1985 and 1999, 90 percent said yes.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9760-9761). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The prosperity of the 1990s can explain it a little, but can’t account for the decline in sexual abuse, nor a second decline of physical abuse in the 2000s, when the economy was in the tank. The hiring of more police and interveners from social service agencies probably helped, and Finkelhor and Jones speculate that another exogenous factor may have made a difference. The early 1990s was the era of Prozac Nation and Running on Ritalin. The massive expansion in the prescription of medication for depression and attention deficit disorder may have lifted many parents out of depression and helped many children control their impulses.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9779-9784). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

whoa.. so has violence declined.. or has it just become more civilized/profitable.. ie: via suicide

burke freedom law

And contrary to yet another scare that has recently been ginned up by the media, based on widely circulated YouTube videos of female teenagers pummeling one another, the nation’s girls have not gone wild. The rates of murder and robbery by girls are at their lowest level in forty years, and rates of weapon possession, fights, assaults, and violent injuries by and toward girls have been declining

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9821-9824). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

By the late 20th century, the idea that parents can harm their children by abusing and neglecting them (which is true) grew into the idea that parents can mold their children’s intelligence, personalities, social skills, and mental disorders (which is not).

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9833-9835). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

studies of adopted children have found that they end up with personalities and IQ scores that are correlated with those of their biological siblings but uncorrelated with those of their adopted siblings. That tells us that adult personality and intelligence are shaped by genes, and also by chance (since the correlations are far from perfect, even among identical twins), but are not shaped by parents, at least not by anything they do with all their children.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9837-9840). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Forty years ago two-thirds of children walked or biked to school; today 10 percent do. A generation ago 70 percent of children played outside; today the rate is down to 30 percent.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 9887-9888). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

 why rights revolutions up..? prosperity, democracy, technology (mobilizing us)..

King immediately appreciated that Gandhi’s theory of nonviolent resistance was not a moralistic affirmation of love, as nonviolence had been in the teachings of Jesus . Instead it was a set of hardheaded tactics to prevail over an adversary by outwitting him rather than trying to annihilate him.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 10640-10642). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 8 – inner demons

Not a single category of violence has been pinned to a fixed rate over the course of history. Whatever causes violence, it is not a perennial urge like hunger, sex, or the need to sleep.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 10685-10687). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Once you become aware of this fateful quirk in our psychology, social life begins to look different, and so do history and current events. It’s not just that there are two sides to every dispute . It’s that each side sincerely believes its version of the story, namely that it is an innocent and long-suffering victim and the other side a malevolent and treacherous sadist.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 10922-10925). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

every actor has a reason

Its neurons signal to each other with a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 11104). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

My brief tour of the neurobiology of violence barely does justice to our scientific understanding, and our scientific understanding barely does justice to the phenomena themselves. But I hope it has persuaded you that violence does not have a single psychological root but a number of them, working by different principles. To understand them, we need to look not just at the hardware of the brain but also at its software— that is, at the reasons people engage in violence. Those reasons are implemented as intricate patterns in the microcircuitry of brain tissue; we cannot read them directly from the neurons, any more than…. 5 reasons for violence: practical, dominance, revenge, sadism, ideology

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 11254-11258). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The alternative to the myth of pure evil is that most of the harm that people visit on one another comes from motives that are found in every normal person.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12696-12698). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

ch 9 – better angels

In every era, the way people raise their children is a window into their conception of human nature. When parents believed in children’s innate depravity, they beat them when they sneezed; when they believed in innate innocence, they banned the game of dodgeball.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12725-12727). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

empathy today is becoming what love was in the 1960s— a sentimental ideal, extolled in catchphrases (what makes the world go round, what the world needs now, all you need) but overrated as a reducer of violence.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12752-12753). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The word empathy is barely a century old. It is often credited to the American psychologist Edward Titchener, who used it in a 1909 lecture , though the Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1904 usage by the British writer Vernon Lee. 6 Both derived it from the German Einfühlung (feeling into) and used it to label a kind of aesthetic appreciation: a “feeling or acting in the mind’s muscles,”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12780-12784). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Unfortunately, Rifkin’s promise of a “leap to global empathic consciousness and in less than a generation” is based on a dodgy interpretation of the neuroscience.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12848-12849). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

today virtually no one equates their (mirror neurons) activity with the emotion of sympathy.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12865-12866). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Empathy, in the morally relevant sense of sympathetic concern, is not an automatic reflex of our mirror neurons.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12872-12873). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The problem with building a better world through empathy, in the sense of contagion, mimicry, vicarious emotion, or mirror neurons, is that it cannot be counted on to trigger the kind of empathy we want, namely sympathetic concern for others’ well-being.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 12881-12883). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The ultimate goal should be policies and norms that become second nature and render empathy unnecessary. Empathy, like love, is in fact not all you need.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 13208-13209). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

? – making us machines..? no choice..?

Self-control has been credited with one of the greatest reductions of violence in history, the thirtyfold drop in homicide between medieval and modern Europe.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 13217-13218). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Intelligence itself is highly correlated with crime— duller people commit more violent crimes and are more likely to be the victims of a violent crime— and though we can’t rule out the possibility that the effect of self-control is really an effect of intelligence or vice versa, it’s likely that both traits contribute independently to nonviolence.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 13429-13432). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

science of people in schools. ness. who decides what self-control is measured against. what if those with the most “self-control” have it for things we’re not deeming valuable enough to measure it against..

and oh my. hitler for one. no?

So far all the evidence that violence is released by a lack of self-control is correlational. It comes from the discovery that some people have less self-control than others, and that those people are likelier to misbehave, get angry, and commit more crimes.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 13434-13435). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

misbehave at what? get angry at what? commit more crimes because why? – we have no idea what kinds of self-control people are exhibiting.. mostly because we are also deciding what’s worth having self-control over. [great if we pick some value that resonates with 7 billion people.. but i don’t think behaving in ie: school .. is a value we all need/see/resonate-with.] i’d say the fact that we’re not all dead.. shows great self-control from the many we don’t listen-to/oppress. everyday.  no?

For as long as people have reflected on self -control, they have reflected on ways to enhance it.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 13560-13561). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

perhaps (like grit) – make it be about something that matters – so the person. just see how strong that person is.. in grit/self-control… when it matters.

The direction of the change in prevailing models is clear enough. “Over the last three centuries throughout the world,” Fiske and Tetlock observe, “there has been a rapidly accelerating tendency of social systems as a whole to move from Communal Sharing to Authority Ranking to Equality Matching to Market Pricing.” 196 And if we use the polling data from chapter 7 as an indication that social liberals are at the leading edge of changes in attitudes that eventually drag along social conservatives as well, then Haidt’s data on the moral concerns of liberals and conservatives tell the same story.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14217-14222). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The trend toward social liberalism, then, is a trend away from communal and authoritarian values and toward values based on equality, fairness, autonomy, and legally enforced rights.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14225-14226). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

The momentum of social norms in the direction of Market Pricing gives many people the willies, but it would, for better or worse, extrapolate the trend toward nonviolence.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14237-14238). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

The historical direction of morality in modern societies is not just away from Communality and Authority but toward Rational-Legal organization, and that too is a pacifying development. Fiske notes that utilitarian morality, with its goal of securing the greatest good for the greatest number, is a paradigm case of the Market Pricing model (itself a special case of the Rational-Legal mindset).

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14245-14247). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Across thirty-six experiments involving thousands of participants, he found that the higher a school’s mean SAT score (which is strongly correlated with mean IQ), the more its students cooperated. Two very different studies, then, agree that intelligence enhances mutual cooperation in the quintessential situation in which its benefits can be foreseen.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14823-14826). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

oh my.

smarter people tend to think more like economists (even after statistically controlling for education, income, sex, political party, and political orientation).

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14864-14865). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

of course. i see the pattern.

Intellectual ability was a more powerful predictor of democracy than the number of years of schooling, and Rindermann showed that schooling was predictive only because of its correlation with intellectual ability. It is not a big leap to conclude that an education-fueled rise in reasoning ability made at least some parts of the world safe for democracy.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14904-14906). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

What about the developing world? Average scores on intelligence tests, though they started from lower levels, have been steeply rising in the countries in which the trends have been measured, such as Kenya and Dominica. 280 Can we attribute any part of the New Peace to rising levels of reasoning in those countries? Here the evidence is circumstantial but suggestive.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14909-14912). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

oh my.

Earlier we saw that the New Peace has been led, in part, by a greater acceptance of democracy and open economies, which, as we have just seen, smarter people tend to favor. Put the two together, and we can entertain the possibility that more education can lead to smarter citizens (in the sense of “smart” we care about here ), which can prepare the way for democracy and open economies, which can favor peace.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14912-14915). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

Thyne discovered that four indicators of a country’s level of education— the proportion of its gross domestic product invested in primary education, the proportion of its school -age population enrolled in primary schools, the proportion of its adolescent population that was enrolled in secondary schools (especially the males), and (marginally) the level of adult literacy—all reduced the chance the country would be embroiled in a civil war a year later. The effects were sizable: compared to a country that is a standard deviation below the average in primary-school enrollment, a country that is a standard deviation above the average was 73 percent less likely to fight a civil war the following year, holding constant prior wars, per capita income, population, mountainous terrain, oil exports, the degree of democracy and anocracy, and ethnic and religious fractionation.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14918-14924). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Now, we cannot conclude from these correlations that schooling makes people smarter, which makes them more averse to civil war. Schooling has other pacifying effects. It increases people’s confidence in their government by showing that it can do at least one thing right. It gives them skills that they can parlay into jobs rather than brigandage and warlording. And it keeps teenage boys off the streets and out of the militias. But the correlations are tantalizing, and Thyne argues that at least a part of the pacifying effect of education consists of “giving people tools with which they can resolve disputes peacefully.”

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 14924-14929). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

ends chapter saying – it is reason – that is our best angel to curtail violence.

ch 10 – on angel’s wings

In light of the history and psychology we have reviewed, I believe we can identify five developments that have pushed the world in a peaceful direction.

1\ THE LEVIATHAN A state that uses a monopoly on force to protect its citizens from one another may be the most consistent violence-reducer that we have encountered in this book.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15219-15225). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

2\ GENTLE COMMERCE The idea that an exchange of benefits can turn zero-sum warfare into positive-sum mutual profit

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15257-15258). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

3\ FEMINIZATION  Tsutomu Yamaguchi (only man who survived 2 nuclear strikes) ..“The only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breast-feeding their babies.” 7 Yamaguchi was invoking the most fundamental empirical generalization about violence, that it is mainly committed by men.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15300-15306). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

4\ THE EXPANDING CIRCLE ..of sympathy. Suppose that living in a more cosmopolitan society, one that puts us in contact with a diverse sample of other people and invites us to take their points of view, changes our emotional response to their well-being. Imagine taking this change to its logical conclusion: our own well-being and theirs have become so intermingled that we literally love our enemies and feel their pain.  (heart)

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15396-15400). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

5\ THE ESCALATOR OF REASON .. expanded by..particularly literacy, cosmopolitanism, and education….. ascending to an Olympian, superrational vantage point— the perspective of eternity, the view from nowhere—and considering one’s own interests and another person’s as equivalent.   (head)

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15419-15421). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

I will end with two reflections on what one might take away from the historical decline of violence. 1\ A loathing of modernity is one of the great constants of contemporary social criticism.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15466-15469). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

And here is where unsentimental history and statistical literacy can change our view of modernity. For they show that nostalgia for a peaceable past is the biggest delusion of all.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15494-15495). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Unilateral pacifism is a losing strategy, and joint peace is out of everyone’s reach.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15520-15521). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

?

human nature also contains motives to climb into the peaceful cell, such as sympathy and self-control. It includes channels of communication such as language. And it is equipped with an open-ended system of combinatorial reasoning.

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Locations 15528-15529). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

the interchangeability of perspectives,

Pinker, Steven (2011-10-04). The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Kindle Location 15536). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

________

Brian Rose giving a ted talk on saturday (jan 2015).. cool.

________

bit in the music instinct doc…. around 1:30