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Why do we need violence to transfer power?

Revolutions are some very effective types of mass manipulation through which power changes and shifts. Why do we, humas, hold on to our positions or ideas even if we know we are wrong?

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    Jan 25 2012: Because it is natural and normal and has always been thus. Anyone enjoying power will rarely give it up willingly...only those who have been forced into power will do so rationally. All animals with hierarchical structures change hierarchies with a demonstration of physical strength, usually violent. I think it is genetically ingrained. Any amount of rationality that we enjoy can't cope against 2 million years of conditioning...but the situation will change, gradually, over time.
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      Jan 26 2012: I'm afraid you're right about the genetic propensity to exercising power by violence. Just less optimistic about that changing. But we can hope.
      • Jan 26 2012: Well, cheer up. Taking the long view, groups managing a rule of law have gotten ever larger, and the cycles of "civilisaton" made to seem more "normal" throughout recorded history. We will no doubt forever have a "tendency" to violence, just as we have a "tendency" to get drunk, but that doesn't force us to do anything. I would say flatly, that all the terrible atrocities of the last hundred years were NOT "caused" by these tendencies, but rather because, as an example, in 1914, there was simply no "alternative" but to fight. Just as in our recent Iraq war: there was no law against it, and those in power simply could not imagine any alternative. Such is our Half barbaric condition right now.
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        Feb 2 2012: Saw a documentary on Steven Pinker's new book which describes how, with the establishment of the state, societies are actually becoming less and less violent...though the news seems to concentrate on it more and more.
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          Feb 2 2012: Yes, I think that's probably right. It's easy to forget how violent the less regulated societies in our past (even our recent past) were. But I would guess that the improvements have come mostly from laws & policing and the moral habits/customs that have grown out of that history. If the policing disappears, as could happen in a widespread and deep crisis, the moral compunctions brought about by custom would quickly yield, and we would revert to our basic fight for survival. The veneer of civilization is still a thin one.
    • Jan 28 2012: David: about the hierarchies' changes: in the animal world, it seems that it is not really "violent", but more like a demonstration of strength; very little damage is done, compared to humans. But even we, frequently use "elections" as a demonstration of power. It is enough, ususally.
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        Feb 2 2012: So you've never seen elephant seals mortally wound each other in a fight for dominance, or fighting stags, or lions emasculate pretenders by biting off their genitals, hippos bite each other's tails off so they can't spread their scent...

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