During periods following brutal acts of violence or unthinkable devastation, it is easy for our brains to run wild with worry. But as violence declines worldwide, is there any argument to be made that chaos to some extent is the catalyst for reflection and change? When societies face a crisis, do they increasingly look inward to evolve? Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and author of “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," explains.
The seemingly endless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, might make us believe we live in the most violent age ever seen. But Steven Pinker, Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, explains that just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia. In The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined he looks at human nature, psychology, and history to explain how this has happened.
On July 23, 2011, Anders Breivik opened fire at a youth camp on the Norwegian island of Utoya, killing 69 people. Breivik’s brutal crime horrified the world. For many Americans, it stirred up memories of Oklahoma City in 1994, Columbine in 1999, and, of course, September 11, 2001. Yet, despite what looks like a proliferation of shooting sprees and terrorist plots in the last few decades, a new book argues that violence has actually declined since ancient times.