On the Role of Anger in War and Peace
I. Introduction Page 1

Title Page

I. Introduction
Page 1

II. There is no Instinct for War
Page 2

III. Why There Are So Few Women Warriors
Pages 3

IV. History of Warfare
Pages 4

V. Warfare and Marriage
Page 5

VI. Conclusion
Page 6

Notes and References
Page 7

Depending upon whether one takes an optimistic or a pessimistic view of the peace movement, there are two opposite ways of looking at the role of anger in war and peace.

The term "anger" will be used here because it is the word used by most ordinary people to describe their own behavior. In animal research, it corresponds to a motivational state that is more precisely called "offense" (see note 1).

By those who are pessimistic (especially people who are not actively involved in the peace movement), it is often considered that anger, or to put it more generally, an "aggressive instinct", constitutes an "instinctual basis" for war. According to this view, warfare is inevitable because it is an expression of individual aggression. This view is a modern-day version of the ancient belief that man is inherently "evil" (Durant. 1981).


These are the twin myths of pessimism: that warfare is instinctual; and that humanity is inherently evil. These myths make it easier for nations to pursue militaristic policies, because their citizens can be led to accept such militarism as a "natural" and "inevitable" phenomenon. For example, a recent survey of young people in Finland found that 52% of them consider warfare to be an intrinsic part of human nature (Wahlstrom, 1984). Given the important political implications of these myths, it becomes an important task for scientists and educators involved in the peace movement to confront them.

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