sexta-feira, março 16, 2007

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short

Steven Pinker, a professor of psychology at Harvard, begins his presentation with an image of corpses on a truck, being taken from Auschwitz concentration camp. The image is one of many characteristic of the 20th century, a century that included brutality under Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and the genocide in Rwanda. The 21st century, which has barely started, already includes the brutality of Darfur and the daily destruction in Iraq. These sorts of images can lead us to thinking that modernity brings terrible violence. Perhaps native people lived in a state of harmony that we’ve departed from.
This, Pinker tells us, is bullshit. “Our ancestors were far more violent than we are. We’re probably living in the most peaceful time of our species’s existence, (...)."
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