On the Role of Anger in War and Peace

by David Adams

Paper presented to the XXIII International Congress of Psychology in Acapulco, Mexico, in September of 1984

I. Introduction
Page 1

II. There Is No Instinct for War
Page 2

III. Why There Are So Few Women Warriors
Pages 3

IV. War Is a Social Institution not an Instinct
Pages 4

V. Confronting the Myth-Makers
Page 5

VI. The Anger of Activists as a Basis for Optimism
Page 6

Notes and References
Page 7


Pessimists often believe in the twin myths that war is instinctual and that humanity is inherently evil, which give psychological support to national policies of militarism. Using three lines of evidence, I show that the myth of a war instinct is not based on fact: 1) motivational analysis of warfare shows that anger does not play a critical role; 2) lack of women warriors is not due to lack of female aggressiveness; and 3) instead, it is due to an historical contradiction between institutional structures of warfare and marriage. Instead of condemning anger, optimists may recognize it as a positive and essential motivational force for anti-war activists.

The address of this page is http://www.culture-of-peace.info/anger/title page.html.

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