The Source of Violence

It pays to read a heavy book once in a while. You never know what thoughts the thoughts of others may engender. Right now I am chewing over the concept of dualism. That is the juxtaposition of two aspects of human behavior. On the one hand, human beings practice altruism, especially among the group to which that person belongs. On the other hand, humans practice hate, especially toward those that are not part of the group to which the person belongs. When hated spills outward, we call it violence. Usually, we can keep ourselves under control. But, when a bad thing happens to anyone or few in our group, we lash out at “them”, anyone not in our group. This is one of the psychological causes of war.


Of course, group A can also want what group B has: enough food to eat, clean water to drink, better transportation, more money, etc., – and up. The root of this envy can be found in sibling rivalry. Rather than Freud’s classic rivalry between father and son, envy/jealousy is between brother and brother (sister and sister, brother and sister). The end result of these two human behaviors, dualism and sibling rivalry is violence.


And so, religion is not the source of hatred and violence, it is dualism and rivalry. The violence escalates when a fraction of group A is viewed as a scapegoat for whatever trouble there is; economic, material, philosophical, etc. All one needs is a fringe group of B to throw the first punch to start a conflagration. Does any of this sound familiar?


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