The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

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palo007
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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined

Post by palo007 »

Believe it or not, violence has been in decline for long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species existence. Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker presents the data supporting this surprising conclusion, and explains the trends by showing how changing historical circumstances have engaged different components of human nature. Recorded on 02/04/2014. Series: "UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures" [5/2014] [Humanities] [Show ID: 27931]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNKwcB9 ... pYUZijt3yQ
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by vzam »

Interesting. Pinker is clever, but he is a committed and evangelical materialist (friend of Richard Dawkins). Peace in the West is likely a consequence of plenty of food. That plus electronic gadgets and TV, which keep youngsters and oldsters, respectively, in a semi-zombie state.

Oil gives us that plenty (note that the Middle East is rarely peaceful) but when the oil starts getting low, and the supermarkets start to empty, we'll see how peaceful people really are. Alfred Henry Lewis famously said, “there are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy”.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by palo007 »

I thought to share this mainly because of the apparent statistical evidence saying that we are not getting more violent, ruthless and disconnected from the rest of the humanity.
It seems to be quite the opposite based on the numbers presented.

I liked the end part the best - describing the dichotomy of "who does the first step".
Gradually the world systems seem to learn and apply the knowledge of "Love principles" into our everyday life. It may not be necessarily due to higher QoC in the general population, but loosely said, as Tom says it sometimes - good science will prevail over bad science and habits.

What works, will win in the end - if we don't destroy ourselves until it can win, that is. ;)
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by vzam »

pali wrote:Gradually the world systems seem to learn and apply the knowledge of "Love principles" into our everyday life.
Yes, I agree. As Institutions designed to help people become more accountable, they also become more "caring", unless lack of money intervenes to mess everything up. On the face of it, Financial institutions don't seem to be getting much more loving, but at least we don't put people in debtor's prison or the workhouse anymore.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by cantheman »

Of course everything is getting better, mankind is taking baby steps towards love. Eventually we will come to a boiling point when everyone becomes aware enough to build a society with love as the fundamental principle.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by vzam »

McNeills’ “The Human Web”, http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/T ... edir_esc=y argues that warfare has created our webs of interaction, and seems to contradict Steven Pinker.

---On the decline of violence in society at large, McNeill says:

1. Mass incarceration has only really been possible since the 1700s. Before that, society needed people to produce food and could not afford to keep them locked up all day consuming it. Death was the only alternative.

2. In modern society, as a result of state power, violence tends to be concentrated geographically– in ghettos, prisons and war zones. In these limited areas, mortality is high. The rest of us can go about our daily routines with these areas out of sight and out of mind. But in conditions of state breakdown, this circumscribed violence spews out into wider society.

3. Energy surpluses (fossil fuels) promote more contentment and therefore less violence.

4. Today, we’re much more likely to die of suicide. In the modern world, there’s one about every 40 seconds, which apparently accounts for half of all violent deaths worldwide.

5. These days, we’re institutionalized from birth, and told what to do. (We’re watched more.)

---For every point of view in the world, there seems to be an opposing one!
Last edited by vzam on Sat May 03, 2014 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by kroeran »

Some considerations:

The social vector of America is very different than the rest of the West. Without prejudgement or racism, one needs to distinctly separate out the factor of the African American and Hispanic American story, from the rest.

Massive incarceration is one factor, but as well, Freakonomics suggests that most of the unwanted children who would be causing the most difficulty at this time, were aborted, and under MBT, this may not actually be a bad thing, as these souls would simply be redirected to less disruptive incarnations. I mean, what would you want your mother to do if the setup was overwhelmingly challenging, and reincarnation/redirection was true? Each woman's intention in it, would drive her quality tick up or down.

Apparently, violence is declining throughout the west, including in European countries with liberal incarceration laws.

Questions that come to mind:

1) I wonder if this new digital life gives those prone to violence a profitable digital distraction from hanging out on street corners, gangs and causing trouble?
2) I wonder if the average QoC of this PMR could change THAT much in one or two generations?
3) I wonder if something in the mix has caused an acceleration of people discovering their innate quality earlier in life?
4) I wonder if a PMR might breach a certain threshold, and then qualify for more superior IOUCs from previously engaged in a different system?
5) I wonder if we are heading into stormy geopolitical weather (nuclear proliferation), and the system is feeding in some high quality fixers to stabilize the forward vector?
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by rsi »

The way in which war was avoided between Syria and the West was pretty interesting. A chance 'joke' statement by Kerry which was immediately seized upon by Syria and the subsequent rapid cooling off of rhetoric (and news media reporting of the issue).

Enough to make one wonder if something larger was at stake, thus needing one of those 'nudges'. Very encouraging sign.

Waiting to see how the Ukraine situation goes.

(On a somewhat unrelated note, anyone else struck by the number of recent large transport related 'unexplained' incidents? From train accidents in Europe last year to minor/major plane incidents, bus incidents, the ferry, and most recently subways (in New York and South Korea). Maybe just my imagination but I've been kind of averse to traveling since last year.)
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by MaxQ »

kroeran wrote:1) I wonder if this new digital life gives those prone to violence a profitable digital distraction from hanging out on street corners, gangs and causing trouble?
2) I wonder if the average QoC of this PMR could change THAT much in one or two generations?
3) I wonder if something in the mix has caused an acceleration of people discovering their innate quality earlier in life?
4) I wonder if a PMR might breach a certain threshold, and then qualify for more superior IOUCs from previously engaged in a different system?
5) I wonder if we are heading into stormy geopolitical weather (nuclear proliferation), and the system is feeding in some high quality fixers to stabilize the forward vector?
If I may offer you some answers...
1) Yes, it will certainly provide new profitable opportunities to do otherwise.
2) It's certainly possible. Attitude change in environment plays a big supporting role in that. Such attitude change even in big social groups can happen within two or even one generation with "right seeds planted at / seizing key places". See Small-world networks for details.
3) Change in environment (see 2.) together with Network effect can do that. Don't underestimate power of opportunity paired with good example. It helps to see the forest through the trees.
4) I don't know, but why it couldn't breach it? Eventually...
5) Interesting question. There are certainly big (global) risk factors (not just nuclear proliferation) developing over "recent" time that initiated rise of counterbalancing forces that slowly gain high momentum, but that's natural system's property (how it works).There are also many "important" things beside that going on that could call/relate to "feeding of fixers", so I tend to think that it's a synchronicity together with whacking of multiple moles by single stick. We choose to live in interesting times :-)
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Post by Sainbury »

kroeran wrote:Some considerations:

The social vector of America is very different than the rest of the West. Without prejudgement or racism, one needs to distinctly separate out the factor of the African American and Hispanic American story, from the rest.

Massive incarceration is one factor, but as well, Freakonomics suggests that most of the unwanted children who would be causing the most difficulty at this time, were aborted, and under MBT, this may not actually be a bad thing, as these souls would simply be redirected to less disruptive incarnations. I mean, what would you want your mother to do if the setup was overwhelmingly challenging, and reincarnation/redirection was true? Each woman's intention in it, would drive her quality tick up or down.

Apparently, violence is declining throughout the west, including in European countries with liberal incarceration laws.

Questions that come to mind:

1) I wonder if this new digital life gives those prone to violence a profitable digital distraction from hanging out on street corners, gangs and causing trouble?
2) I wonder if the average QoC of this PMR could change THAT much in one or two generations?
3) I wonder if something in the mix has caused an acceleration of people discovering their innate quality earlier in life?
4) I wonder if a PMR might breach a certain threshold, and then qualify for more superior IOUCs from previously engaged in a different system?
5) I wonder if we are heading into stormy geopolitical weather (nuclear proliferation), and the system is feeding in some high quality fixers to stabilize the forward vector?
Abortion - unless it is a very inexperienced entity that is just jumping in and out of incarnations for the experience, then some planning is going on to make an experience as profitable as possible for the FWAU. Because the QoC level of the PMR is fairly low, and there is free will, often an incarnation in which the circumstances are hard (poverty) has a hard time increasing their QoC very much. And there may even be some de-evolution. But every incarnation is rich with possibilities for growth. There are plenty of entities that incarnate in what would seem ideal circumstances that make a muck out of their life. So I don't think you can say that abortion has led to less crime.

Ted: There is no shortage of available experience slots so we are not depriving any entity of the opportunity to exist and develop through contraception or abortion. IUOCs exist prior to incarnation here in PMR and continue to exist as their experience packet within PMR terminates for whatever reason. So clearly, no entity is being deprived of existence from our point of view...

All of this is just part of the PMR simulation as a VR and the system is well capable of efficiently dealing with not wasting an IUOC's time with a fetus that is never begun nor with a fetus that the system well knows to be destined to not be born.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8672&p=77682#p77682

1 - I don't know what you mean by this Randy. Maybe you can explain this further.
2 - No
3 - From looking at what is happening in the world I would have to doubt this.
4 - Tom at Unity Church Part 2 – Atlanta, GA 6/912
Becoming Love – 1:25:32
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaeDjSQwOvA

Question: In a bigger picture because this is our schoolhouse and we have different levels of consciousness coming in – some are high entropy and some are low entropy. And it’s an open system so there are always new consciousnesses coming in which are probably mostly high entropy. Is there any consideration on how many low entropy there are to high entropy? Because it seems like if the system tips to so many high entropy and not enough low entropy then it would slow down the evolution of the system.

Tom: Yes, there is some attention to it. The system is an intelligent system. The LCS is a very intelligent, aware, conscious system. And it wants success here. That’s the point. That people will evolve here. You will find that people will show up here every once in awhile just when they’re needed – a Gandhi, a Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa. And they teach us so much – everybody – millions of people learn so much from them; from the way they approach life – from just the way they are. And that’s not all by accident. The system does want to keep a good mix.
But on the other hand you’re here to experience. And this is a little bit of a rough place to live because it’s like an elementary school. And the challenges here are good. As far as realities go I would say this one is like the fast track. One of the fast tracks. Most of the physical realities are like that because there is so much happening so many decisions to be made. Here in this virtual reality we make a thousand decisions every day – little decisions about how to be. We’re on the fast track of opportunity. Now we’re not very fast in grabbing that opportunity and growing up with it. We’re slow because that’s a hard thing to do. Changing yourself at the being level is a hard thing to do. Pulling yourself by your bootstraps is tough.
But there is some notion about it and the system does try to keep it balanced. But the system doesn’t make it easy because easy isn’t effective. Actually hard produces more results than easy. The results you get with easy aren’t as valuable results because … anything easy they say is not worth it. If it is really important then it’s going to be hard. Well it doesn’t have to be that way but that’s mostly true. Hard challenges tend to create more growth then not so hard challenges.

5 - What high quality fixers would that be?
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by MaxQ »

Sainbury:

- Why do you think that answer to 2) is doubtless No?
- About 3), did you consider the "locality effect"? Earth is a very complex dynamic system with a lot of spatial or temporary anomalies in all directions and all over the place, so it's very hard to make a good judgement about the state and especially tendencies of the system as a whole just by observing various parts. Simply put, if it rains outside your house, according to TV it rains in NY, Moscow and Peking and just not in Warsaw, it doesn't mean that world is mostly rainy or flood world is coming.
- About 4) It depends how you interpret the question. As you correctly pointed out, LCS optimizes the mix to maximize the learning profit, so there will be always relative difference in QoC of players present in learning lab because it's optimal scenario. However, the average/mean QoC of the whole lab may change over time (why not?) which may qualify it as suitable for higher QoC IOUCs that would otherwise find it not challenging enough (or too much) for them.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by Lena »

kroeran wrote:Some considerations:

The social vector of America is very different than the rest of the West. Without prejudgement or racism, one needs to distinctly separate out the factor of the African American and Hispanic American story, from the rest.

Massive incarceration is one factor, but as well, Freakonomics suggests that most of the unwanted children who would be causing the most difficulty at this time, were aborted, and under MBT, this may not actually be a bad thing, as these souls would simply be redirected to less disruptive incarnations. I mean, what would you want your mother to do if the setup was overwhelmingly challenging, and reincarnation/redirection was true? Each woman's intention in it, would drive her quality tick up or down.

Apparently, violence is declining throughout the west, including in European countries with liberal incarceration laws.

Questions that come to mind:

1) I wonder if this new digital life gives those prone to violence a profitable digital distraction from hanging out on street corners, gangs and causing trouble?
2) I wonder if the average QoC of this PMR could change THAT much in one or two generations?
3) I wonder if something in the mix has caused an acceleration of people discovering their innate quality earlier in life?
4) I wonder if a PMR might breach a certain threshold, and then qualify for more superior IOUCs from previously engaged in a different system?
5) I wonder if we are heading into stormy geopolitical weather (nuclear proliferation), and the system is feeding in some high quality fixers to stabilize the forward vector?
While abortion doesn't affect any unborn/not incarnated FWAU, it can be a very dramatic experience for a female FWAU, who is having an abortion. It could change her QoC and entropy level. It can make her more conscious of a pain and suffering of others, or it can make her angry, fearful and raise her entropy and low her QoC.

1 We cannot say why FWAU has this particular incarnation in a disruptive and hostile environment, and saying 'yes' or 'no' to your question will be a fruitless speculation. Some FWAUs can gain QoC from this kind of life and make a dramatic step forward, and others can degrade somehow, but they still will have their chance to come back and continue process of growing.

2 I highly doubt it. An average PMR lifespan is about 50-60 years of age or even less, if we will consider today Earth population. Majority of people by age 40 tend to believe, that they know it all, and nothing new exists under the stars. So we have about 35-40 active years to reduce entropy and expand QoC. Therefore at age of 40 process of growth starts to slow down and for some almost stops. Real changes could be hard to swallow and getting rid of all kind of believes can be avoided at any cost.

Growth requires presence of open mind and skepticism. It takes a courage of many incarnations, i.e. gradually getting rid of fear/attachment to all kind of believes and starting to gain these two qualities. Growth is a very slow and tedious process, and for the most us it is two steps forward, sometimes two or even three steps back, and only in the later incarnations it becomes two steps forward and one step back.

Tom generously calls this PMR a kindergarten, but I feel, that this is most likely a toddler group in a nursery, where 6 to 8 months old are the biggest group. Some of us almost able to start walking without a support, but fall to the ground time and again without any clear awareness why this fall has happened.

3 We come back to PMR with all qualities we were able to gain in all previous incarnations, but it takes some time to become aware of them. A spontaneous jump in QoC could happen, but I thing this is a very rare occasion, and could be called a miracle. Since each FWAU's experience is different, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Think about doctor Victor Frankl. His concentration camp experience made him wise beyond any expectation, while for many others it was only a horrible experience and no valuable lesson has been learned.

4 This is a probabilistic reality, and anything could happen. Will it happen? I doubt, because new or young FWAUs (high entropy, low QoC) represent a predominant part of this PMR inhabitants. It takes thousands of lives for one FWAU to become open minded and skeptical. Plus, this existing system works fine, otherwise this PMR would be terminated. I suspect, that this PMR had some previous terminations, but we will never feel it or become aware of this. Old unsuccessful experience/data has been erased, and PMR started rolling anew again. Why to change a good quality system? I think it took some trials and error corrections before this PMR became as we know it now.

5 I think we all collectively getting better. Changes, as I see it, have started in a last century, somewhere at the end of 60th - beginning of 70th. Again, this is two steps forward and one step back. Where this step back could take us we shall see. May be we could see it in 20-50 years, or in 100 years or longer. Also we don't know if we are living in phase of a step forward or a step back.

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Re: Q

Post by kroeran »

Sainbury wrote: 5 - What high quality fixers would that be?
your answer to 4 covers that perhaps, the high quality/highly effective system fixers such as a religion founders or a Ghandi and so on, who may be cycling through this OS system below the radar for most lifetimes, or may be more normally resident at a higher fractal, or in a more challenging (accelerated) or less challenging but more academic PMR, and then cycle in to this specific level for a specific strategic nudge to the system.

Its possible that Tom will be end up on this list. If you take Tom at face value, if what he says is true, then I suspect he most certainly will end up on this list.
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by Sainbury »

MaxQ wrote:Sainbury:

- Why do you think that answer to 2) is doubtless No?
- About 3), did you consider the "locality effect"? Earth is a very complex dynamic system with a lot of spatial or temporary anomalies in all directions and all over the place, so it's very hard to make a good judgement about the state and especially tendencies of the system as a whole just by observing various parts. Simply put, if it rains outside your house, according to TV it rains in NY, Moscow and Peking and just not in Warsaw, it doesn't mean that world is mostly rainy or flood world is coming.
- About 4) It depends how you interpret the question. As you correctly pointed out, LCS optimizes the mix to maximize the learning profit, so there will be always relative difference in QoC of players present in learning lab because it's optimal scenario. However, the average/mean QoC of the whole lab may change over time (why not?) which may qualify it as suitable for higher QoC IOUCs that would otherwise find it not challenging enough (or too much) for them.
Number two is a "No" because just from the history of the PMR you can see that evolution is VERY slow. We inch up the ladder of evolution. Very few of us take any leaps.

About number three - you are still thinking of earth as a real physical place instead of a PMR data stream. This is one of the biggest hurdles to understanding MBT. You have to think in terms of a digital reality. FWAUs are being rendered a data stream. The PMR as a whole is a reflection of the average QoC of the participants. It is an open system with a lot more low quality consciousnesses coming in than high quality. That in itself keeps the evolution of the whole a slow process.

This is an interesting post from Tom on advanced consciousnesses and their incarnations.
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8668&p=77545#p77545
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Re: The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declin

Post by s.lareck »

I gave my review of the book on this thread viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8048.

kroeran, Pinker addresses each of the explanations you bring up: race, incarceration, and the Freakonomics abortion argument, which he dismantles with the rather intuitive findings:
- That "Among women who are accidentally pregnant and unprepared to raise a child, the ones who terminate their pregnancies are likely to be forward-thinking, realistic, and disciplined, whereas the ones who carry the child to term are more likely to be fatalistic, disorganized, or immaturely focused on the thought of a cute baby rather than an unruly adolescent. Several studies have borne this out."
- That "it is more likely that women in crime-prone environments have more unwanted children than that unwantedness causes criminal behavior directly."
- That adolescent/early 20s crime in America actually drastically decreased in the 1980s (when the adolescents coming of age would have been born pre Roe v. Wade), and radically increased in the late 1980s and early 90s (the time that the post Roe v. Wade babies would be adolescents). And "The crime decline began when the older cohorts, born well before Roe, laid down their guns and knives, and from them the lower homicide rates trickled down the age scale."

You would probably find value in reading the book if these issues interest you.

3) I wonder if something in the mix has caused an acceleration of people discovering their innate quality earlier in life?

I think this line of inquiry is underdeveloped in these forums and Tom's books & talks. How does one's functional QOC come to converge with his/her inherent QOC? More importantly, what can a society/parent/individual do to encourage the convergence?

a. Obviously, it is primarily determined by the inherent quality of the individual. The higher the quality, the sooner in an individual's life it is likely to converge with that individual's functional QOC. This, no one can do anything to change, aside from the individual him/herself during the course of an incarnation.

b. Second, it comes down to the nature/nurture questions in PMR, which are constraints ostensibly built in to optimize the evolution of QOC. That is, the individual's brain/genetics combined with the individual's upbringing/environment. Brain and body health are clearly important to someone's being able to access his or her inherent QOC. Then just move up the ladder, from loving nurturing parenting, to thorough open/skeptical educational training, to a system of social institutions optimizing free will and providing opportunities for interaction/feedback.

c. Finally, the individual must choose to engage and interact and pay attention to the feedback.

So if all of the conditions are met, I do think it is possible for individuals to quicken the convergence between functional and inherent QOC. But now that I think about it, these are the identical conditions for the evolution of QOC, so perhaps the distinction is not really that important to make.
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