Warfare, culture and human evolution: Blood and treasure | The Economist

A fascinating question–when did man develop traits such as altruisim, morality, culture? Other species have them, but not like us. When did we start believing in spirits and why? When did we decide to decorate ourselves with jewelry and paint? Not by H. Erectus’ time. What happened between his long span of time and archaic H. sapiens to bring these traits to the fore in what we now consider to be humanity? And from all these traits, did we become militaristic? Aggressive about defending what’s ours, or amoral in lording our superiority over others. What made us kill our own without the usual ‘survival’ reason? Or is it how we define survival?

Here’s an article that discusses this. altruismWarfare, culture and human evolution: Blood and treasure | The Economist

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4 thoughts on “Warfare, culture and human evolution: Blood and treasure | The Economist

  1. I think you’ve observed precisely what I attempted to describe. The way we’ve prosecuted this war is an enormous departure from the historical norm: our goal is to turn the populace toward democracy not to exact a greater pain upon the enemy that they upon us until they capitulate. This will allow us to fight a sustained war with a far larger army: that of the entire Afghani populace because they AGREE and BELIEVE that democracy is the right form of government for them. They’ve presumably observed that, having been governed by democracy’s antithesis but we could certainly have disproven democracy’s glory if we, as it’s primary champion, paraded through carelessly.

    That sounds like a very interesting book! I’m going to add it to my reading list!


  2. Do you see that dash of humanity as a critical component of the 22 century Navy?

    I’m reading Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton about the battle in Afghanistan, and that empathy for the citizens of the country–most of them not part of the Taliban’s war–is paramount to why we are winning the hearts and minds of the indigenous people.

    What do you think?


  3. Interesting discussion. In my opinion, violence is in-bred and a necessary escalation as a result of instigation. This is not distinct within humanity but what IS distinct, is effort taken to quell violence AFTER instigation. America does not exact revenge on the country of Iraq as a whole. To the contrary, we are spending millions to develop missiles that target the enemy very specifically and precisely, even when he’s hiding on the top floor of a hospital. We attained super power status so that we are capable of leading a de-escalation. That is only possible through deterrence.


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