What distinguish animals from us? or What makes us human? When I say animals, I mean those extinct predators who should terrorize our ancestors; now, we have no predators practically and from the scarce fauna that remains, we have much to learn. The term “human” has been associated with high levels of empathy, hence “humanitarian” and such, but we all know our liking for the extermination, eradication, nuclear bombs and weapons of mass destruction. The antagonism of the two aspects of our nature is clear, but in front of a real threat to the species, a catastrophe, an external problem, alien to this psychotic reality that we are suffering, Which one of those is it useful?
By studying the behavior of bonobos ( pygmy chimpanzees), we are in a position to say that an originally aggressive species, in an environment of abundance of nutrients and lack of competition becomes a more tolerant, peaceful society and ultimately, human in the genuine sense of the term. Just this means many things, but the most important perhaps, is that you don’t need that this happens, the power of the will is not needed: it will be, simply at the time when conditions are right.
A lot of people have not understood what natural selection is, many believe it comes down to simple “big fish eats the small” and it is possible they do not see the power of circumstance in the example of the bonobos. There are even scholars who make the mistake of thinking that since no known civilization has managed to become nonviolent, which is historically true, then wars are necessary. Some even go further and consider warfare as a civilizing element, just as the professor at Stanford University, Ian Morris defends, with the common pseudo-Darwinian arguments: we are basically the same as the rest of the animal world, territorial, competitive , aggressive: not very different from chimpanzees. A smart guy and a good communicator, who has written several books on the historical evolution of society. Justify the war is not the duty of a historian, but maybe it is for a writer of books: from his point of view, after the end of the last glaciation was all a pure state of constant violence, and the increase of the prosperity was exclusively thanks to the introduction of a hierarchy of power: the first Neolithic territorial kingdoms. This has led him to conclude that greater prosperity and comfort is proportional to the size of an Empire. Yes, this is apparently what is taught in classrooms.
However, several well known ancient myths talk about the prehistoric period as a long golden age, and why not ?, in those first thousand years the limited space devoid of ice was expanded, the world was filled with rivers and forests during defrost and the scattered survivors of the last glaciation, they dispersed further, conceivably everything was magic then, and I am pretty sure , there were few people in a huge world and they have little to fight for. The earliest recorded wars, once into the Neolithic, epic in its time of course, were pretty pathetic in perspective, because usually it involved only a few hundred individuals.
When Ian Morris talks about the benefits, decades later, obtained from the war, he forgets that this technological and cultural knowledge that he mentions, was already there before the conflict and to top, he seems to despise the number of good people and brilliant minds that are lost. I am sure, Mr. Morris, that Von Braun would have launched rockets with or without global war, because HG Wells had already written his novels.