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Book Review & Discussion : The Better Angels of Our Nature

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Why Violence Has Declined

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In this event, you’ll learn

When being a predator lost stopped being useful

How hierarchies reduced violence

The questionable role of revenge and sadism in our survival

What up- and downsides empathy has

Why willpower is an important antidote to violence

Four kinds of morality that make us strive for peace

How the formation of states helped make life more peaceful

When and why hard work started to trump violence as a means for success

How violence has kept decreasing in the most recent periods after WWII and the Cold War

About the Author

Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. A two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.

Overview

The Book In Three Or More Sentences:

The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker is a very detailed overview of the cruelty throughout the past ages, from medieval, through knight times, till the 20th century. The book explains in length how we punished people, what methods our ancestors used and why they did it. Apparently, we, people, did really nasty shit in the past. Pinker’s main point in this book is to show us that violence of every kind, from international warfare down to murder, rape, infanticide, and corporal punishment, are on a steady decline throughout human history till recent days, fortunately.

The Core Idea:

If you want to read more about the history of violence this book is for you. In the past, mass cruelty was something ordinary. Instead of watching the Super Bowl, people consumed bloody spectacles. That’s why constructions like the Colosseum exist. Though we think that we’re living in a really nasty world nowadays, it’s quite safe compared to what was the case 1,000 years ago, or even 100 years ago. And in order to keep things getting better in terms of peaceful existence, we must aspire modernity, strive to remove language barriers, and yearn for mutual understanding.

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