Thursday, August 15, 2019

Is Warfare in Nature of Man? Essay

War has always been a companion of man and a part of human existence. In the human history only few years have been absolutely peaceful when all peoples of the globe lived in friendship or at least without conflicts. Already the fist weapons, invented by man, could be used as weapons of war. So war can be called an attribute of humans same as mind, or ability to walk on two legs. A question whether war is caused by inborn or social determinants is, perhaps, as old as history. Once more it has been addressed by Margaret Meade in her â€Å"Warfare: An Invention – Not a Biological Necessity†. She argues, that primitive indigenous societies have no idea of warfare and puts in the Eskimos as example. So she believes, that war is a matter of social existence and humans have invented war in the course history just as they invented a wheel. Under Meade, humans have no inborn tendency to war and there are no objective factors for a war to arise. War as she puts it, is a method invented to resolve conflicts, equal to other conflicts resolution methods such as courts and negotiations. This paper is to contest such position and prove, that war is in fact in the nature of man and it is inevitable for man, so it is impossible to speak of war as of invention. It will review some of Meade’s arguments and evaluate them using academic papers, that disagree with Mead’s position. The final thesis of the paper is that WAR IN HUMAN SOCIETIES IS PRECONDITIONED BY BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL DETERMINANTS. War her can not be compared to other methods of conflict resolution, because it is not, or at least not only a method to resolve conflicts. War is a phenomena which exists as itself and does not result from necessity to cope with certain misunderstanding. References to some fragments of Mead’s paper shall be used in forming arguments against her theory. First and foremost it is necessary to determine the subject and find out what is war. Meade offers the following definition: â€Å"organized conflict between two groups as groups, in which each group puts an army (even if the army is only fifteen Pygmies) in the field to fight and kill, if possible, some of the members of the army of the other group† . The key word here is â€Å"conflict†. War is usually defined as an organized form of conflicts between groups. Usually such groups are represented by societies or communities, most often by peoples and nations. In his brilliant â€Å"War Before Civilization† professor Lawrence H. Keeley has calculated that 90-95% of peoples communities were once engaged to war in this or that way and many of them fought constantly . Whether war has been invented or not, those numbers suggest, that war is more usual than peace for humans. And all those wars have been caused by conflicts. In this respect war is a result of conflict and it’s embodiment but not the conflict itself. So, in order to find out what war is it is necessary to find out what conflict is and what causes it. For this paper we shall use the following definition: conflict is a discord between needs interests and values of people or between interests, needs and values of a person and the surrounding . War is a conflict between groups, so in this paper we shall speak mostly about conflicts between people, although it is often impossible to clearly distinguish them. At that terms â€Å"war† and â€Å"conflict† should not be confused, because in this paper we accept that war is not a form of conflict. War is not a discord itself, it is a result of discord, which is going to be discussed later. Scholars have proposed a number of theories to explain reasons of conflict resulting in war. They include psychological, evolutionary, sociological, anthropological, rationalist and other ones. Advocates of psychological theories such as E. F. M. Durban and John Bowlby argue that violence is inherited by man. The society oppresses violence as an inacceptable form of behavior. So war is an â€Å"outlet valve† for natural human violence. In order to justify natural violence people use to invent ideologies as causes for war. Some of the â€Å"militarists† even argue that peace does not exist at all and that what seems to be peace is nothing but a preparation to the next war period . Historical theories explain that wars result from certain conditions and are similar to traffic accidents. However, there are no rules to limit them and no system to predict them. However, social scientists criticize those theories stating that in most wars there are leaders who take a final decision about war, so wars can not be recognized purely accidental . However, it can be noticed, that decisions of leaders are taken mostly as a result of certain events and warlike leaders can hardly make people go to war, if they are strongly against fighting. Anthropological theorists, which Margaret Meade stands most close to, argue that war has appeared at some stage of civilization development, so war is culturally learned. Anthropologists reject the presence of links between different forms of violence, so war can not be compared to fighting animals or similar conflicts. War under the result of popular pressure, but it is caused exclusively by violent leaders . However, a question arises once again. If war is not in nature of man, how does war come to the nature of a leader? Sociologists have been interested in war since the early years of sociology, so they have developed their own sociological theories. Eckart Kehr and Hans-Ulrich Wehler pointed that war is a result of internationalized inner tensions inside the society, and the target for aggression is determined by international situation. So the basis for war is economic, political and social situation inside a community. In contrast, Carl von Clausewitz and Leopold von Ranke, who are also said to be advocates of sociological theories, argue, that war results from decision of statesmen, who react to certain situation in this or that way . This argument stands close to anthropological approach. There are several demographic theories about war. Malthusian theories speak that wars are caused by disproportion between growing population and lack of resources for this population. To solve the problem the community starts an expansion which results in war with the neighbors. Youth Bulge theory is more sophisticated. Under it, when a society includes a number of young and physically able young males who can’t find an occupation for themselves inside the community, those young men will fight for fortune outside the community . This phenomenon can be easily found in medieval Europe, where younger sons of the nobility had to leave their father’s estate, which must have been inherited only by the older son. No difference how they called themselves – Vikings, Crusaders or conquistadors, they went to distant lands to make war. Most of them just died, thusly solving the problem of â€Å"younger sons†, and some of them did receive a reward in form of money, new lands and glory. Evolutionary psychology theories see war as a result of evolving psychological features, including fear of being attacked and beliefs that only war can make people happy or ensure their future. This includes fear, that another group of people can be dangerous, that another group can be provoked to conflict, assertion, that other group is immoral or sinful or inherently evil, so it should be punished. Under this theory, the decision to make war can hardly be rational, and is often taken out of fear or hate . The rationalist theories assume, that both sides of conflicts have potential reasons for war which can be understood and logically predicted. Each side strives to obtain the best possible result with minimal losses. In case both parties could reasonably predict the outcome it would be better for them just to accept the results of war without suffering it’s losses. War requires both sides to accept risk. In case the desire to fight a war is stronger than fear of risk, the war is likely to emerge. Entering the war each party needs to evaluate it’s readiness to attack and it’s readiness to be attacked. Under the economic theories war results from economic competition and in peruse for new markets and natural resources. Another possible reason is defense of existing markets and trade roots. And thirdly a war may be caused by the desire of poor countries to benefit from plundering the rich countries . Other schools include Marxist and political science theories, however, their concepts of war remain undeveloped. It should be noted, that a single theory of war can hardly be created. Each particular war is explained by it’s own reasons. Colonial wars are explained by economic theories, and the conquests of Genghis Khan fall under anthropological and demographic theories. An overview has been provided not to choose the best theory, but to find out how each theory supports or contradicts the thesis of Margaret Meade and the thesis of this paper. Meade argues, that since there are peoples, which are unfamiliar with the idea of war itself, even defensive war, it is necessary to speak of war as invention. She states that: â€Å"The CASE FOR warfare is much clearer because there are peoples even today who have no warfare. Of these the Eskimos are perhaps the most conspicuous examples, but the Lepchas of Sikkim described by Geoffrey Gorer in Himalayan Village are as good. Neither of these peoples understands war, not even defensive warfare. The idea of warfare is lacking, and this idea is as essential to really carrying on war as an alphabet or a syllabary is to writing† . Under Meade, war is s ort of response to particular events in peoples tradition. War is a traditional way of settling conflicts in most of the world, and for some people it is not a traditional method, so they just do not know what is war. Meade’s point appears to be vague simply because of lack of actual evidence. She speaks, that some people do not know about war, but the only people she manages to demonstrate as proof are the Eskimos. Perhaps it is not a proof, but an exception that proves the opposite argument. And the argument is, that all peoples fight war, except for Eskimos, and this means, that Eskimos are unusual and they break a common rule. And the common rule is that war is an attribute of man. The described theories summarize different factors, but in total it should be concluded, that war is a response to the situation of conflict. This conflict can be demographic (lack of territory for the population), economic (fighting for markets) or evolutional (hate to others). Of course, there is an anthropological theory, which asserts, that for some reason peoples, which are originally peaceful, suddenly start to support violent leaders, but this theory fails to explain the reasons for such support and origin of violent leaders themselves. All the reasons for war mentioned in the theories reflect usual human reactions to conflicts. When a person has nothing to eat, he or she is likely to steal. When an entire people has nothing to eat, it will fight for food with the neighbors. When a person believes, that his neighbor is an awful criminal, he or she is likely to attack the neighbor in case he approaches, even if he came to say â€Å"hello†. When an entire people believes, that other people is insane, a war between those peoples is likely to emerge. This analogy can be applied to each and every theory. In the light of this it is necessary to specially consider new sorts of war: economic war and terrorist war. Economic wars are ideally explained by economic theories. They are fought for resources and markets. However, they include unfriendly actions and acts of violence. They may have casualties. So they are wars fought in other way. Terroristic wars are even more obvious case. They are fought under instructions of charismatic leaders and with concrete purposes, explained by theories of war. Reasons for the new sorts of war are same as for the old ones. They are results of conflicts. Upon separation of conflict and the resulting war, war becomes characterized as a response to the conflict. When groups of people find no other acceptable way to resolve the conflict, they turn to war. And the more organized the community is, the more organized it’s warfare is. This conflict is violent, because human nature is violent. This means not that violence is necessary for a man, but that violence is available for a man, and man often uses violence. It is just a part of our nature, whether we want it or not. In case it was not true, there would not be no fights of the streets and wars between peoples. But it is true, and non-violence in the society is more unusual, than violence. As soon as it is understood, that war is a VIOLENT METHOD OF RESOLVING CONFLICTS BETWEEN GROUPS OF PEOPLE it becomes obvious, that war is a natural state for a man. It has not been invented, it existed just as long, as man existed. The war took more complex forms, but it remained war. This does not mean, that wars are desirable, surely they are to be avoided at all costs. But even in case all wars are once finished this would not mean, that the war disappears. It will just not be used, but it will continue to exist inside us. Works cited: 1. Margaret Meade, Warfare is only an invention – not a biological necessity. Taken from: http://www. ppu. org. uk/learn/infodocs/st_invention. html (last viewed: October 16, 2007)2. Lawrence H. Keeley. War Before Civilization, Oxford University Press, 1996 3. Ashley Montagu, The Nature of Human Aggression, Oxford University Press, 1976 4. Azar Gat. War in Human Civilization, Oxford University Press, 2006 5. Fuller Gary: The Demographic Backdrop to Ethnic Conflict: A Geographic Overwiew, in: CIA (Ed. ): â€Å"The Challenge of Ethnic Conflict to National and International Order in the 1990s†, Washington 1995 6. Powell Robert. Bargaining Theory and International Conflict. Annual Review of Political Science 5: 1-30, 2002

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