Opinion, World

Peaceful Violence: Has Humanity Become Less Violent?

One of the most logical descriptions for being human is that of a loving creature with the tenacity to better himself/herself in every way. If you had a glimpse of the world six centuries ago, you would think of the species that existed then as anything but human. Unless you are watching it out of a television scene, it’s not every day you witness thousands die in battle, or enjoy people kill each other for sport. The decline of violence in the world is apparent.

So what has changed? Aren’t we the same beings? Isn’t it the same earth? How and why have humans evolved from such rampaged times into a less violent co-existence? Nowadays, the world can more or less guarantee you two lifetimes without witnessing war. Well, it wasn’t always like that.

What Made the Ancient World So Violent?

Historical books and films give us a bright idea of medieval times. No vehicles and tarmacked roads, loose clothing, no power, and there was indeed no internet. Seems boring, huh! Not quite. At least not for those that lived in that era, for what they lacked in technological advancements they made up for in bloody wars and violence. This harsh lifestyle is likely to have been impacted by several factors.

At times, a civilization found itself short of resources such as earth and water. It was only natural for the survival instinct to kick in. It took just one bloody war to acquire resources and make prisoners of another civilization.

The brutal judicial system would see you lose an arm for as petty of a crime as stealing a fruit. The government in place had complete authority over everything and set its laws and punishments as it saw fit.

The upbringing of children in a war raged civilization saw them become warriors and warlords themselves.

With no real future career or education, people found other ways to extend their short lifetimes; to pursue victory through fierce battles.

Illiteracy. Each human has a violent impulse to a certain degree. Unlike you who would know what to do to subdue such a desire, somebody living in the 10th Century wouldn’t be aware of anything about repression. Sadism and killing, however, worked for them.

The idea of violence has changed over the centuries with more and more civilizations ruling out various atrocities. Indeed, you would think that the decline in world violence is due to a change in human biology. We are still the same beings. Only more knowledgeable and with a civilized culture.

How The World Has Transitioned From its Violent Past

The decline of violence in the world is evident. Unlike in the 16th Century when people had a war for breakfast and dinner, the 20th Century has been calmer with less conflicts overall. Recent as it was, World War II saw the final wave of mass deaths, claiming up to 60 million lives. Countries that participated found the war pretty destructive. With the invention of nuclear bombs, any threat of war today would result in catastrophic warfare. Even the end of the world. Since then, powerful countries tend to avoid any adverse situations. A period Steven Pinker (1954-present) termed “The Long Peace.”

The establishment of a modern state and judiciary has seen the decline in world violence. Today, you are almost sure the worst punishment you can get after committing as heavy of a crime as murder is jail time. The United Nations Human Rights Council has come up with universal human rights entitled to everyone.

Trade ties continue to grow among states. What you lack, another has in abundance. Over the centuries, people have discovered the fruits of co-existing. Technological advancements have probably made it easier to create a large market of partners. Thus creating a monopoly of inter-dependence. What good are you dead anyway?

Humans, in their long quest for knowledge, have grown literate and wiser. A voice of reason set in as the years passed, humanitarians and authorities addressed violence and assault as a problem rather than a solution. In fact, human intellect in arithmetic and information continued to grow with IQ increasing up to 20 points by the year 2000.

Community Against Violence

Cosmopolitanism has added to the decline in world violence. The decision by humans to exist as one community under a shared morality has seen peace campaigns from all corners. Humanitarian organizations have emphasized the value of human life. In his book The Better Angels Of Our Nature, Steven Pinker illustrates ‘The Better Angels’ with the terms self-control, empathy, moral sense, and reason.

In conclusion, moralistic shaming movements that battled piracy, slavery, and torture are as active as before and continue to push for a decline in world violence. Contrary to medieval times, the 20th Century has seen advancements in commerce, cosmopolitanism, culture, civilization, and humanitarian revolution. Nevertheless, the question of human violence remains to be answered only by time as humans continue to live with no idea about what the future holds.

About Titus Kuria

Titus is an expert in writing truthful actual stories on the modern world. He has worked at Safaricom Ltd, a communications company, on fact finding and writing well over 100 articles. Kuria's aspiration is to magnify true life stories that have been downplayed by many that are too rooted to their ventures to notice the slow change in things that’s happening right beneath their noses.

All Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.