We are looking forward to a peaceful year in 2009 and beyond. Why? There are excellent reasons everywhere we look. In part it has to do with amplifying the good rather than spending so much energy on the negative. A little proof helps too. Here are three factual examples of our intrinsic interconnectedness and our beautiful tendency toward cooperation.
1.“Has Science Found a Way to End All Wars? Given adequate food, fuel, and gender equality, mass conflict just might disappear.”
Discover Magazine reports that research on monkeys, apes and humans is dispelling myths such as “violence is in our genes” and “war will always be with us.” Aggressive groups can easily learn and continue to use peacemaking strategies. Researcher Robert Sapolsky doesn’t go so far as to assert that mankind will eliminate widescale conflicts, but Sapolsky does believe, “there is a great potential for dramatically decreasing the frequency of war and getting a lot better at intervention, termination, and reconciliation.”
According to Douglas P. Fry, author ofBeyond War: The Human Potential for Peace, 99 percent of our time on earth took place in pre-history, as hunter-gatherers, where cooperation and reciprocity were essential for survival. We homo sapiens have longstanding skills such as communication, generosity, cooperation and reconciliation. These skills are basic to who we are as a social species.
Many scientists agree that conflicts within groups and between nations decrease substantially when conditions are right. What we learn from their work can lead to a greater emphasis on the factors leading to peace. Some of the necessary conditions in today’s world include plentiful food, a stable population, equality, and sustainable fuel. Time to get started on those variables…..
2. “A History of Violence”
Psychologist Steven Pinker describes a radical decline in violence throughout recorded history. Despite the emphasis of popular media, as a whole, civilization is actually evolving toward higher ethical standards of behavior.
Pinker says, “We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time.”
3. “How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer”
We are all connected. This mini documentary looks at the science behind the “six degrees of separation” game to find profound discoveries in a branch of science called network theory.