#38 Chapter Synopses- Shift-Chapters 1-4 (Jan 2015)
This AFWW newsletter is the first of three planned to highlight material from the book Shift: The Beginning of War, The Ending of War, written by AFWW founder Dr. Judith Hand. Covered here are Chapters 1-4.
AFWW newsletter readers are teachers, activists, scholars of war, students, and a diverse variety of global citizens with a compelling interest in war, and most especially, the potential for freeing us from it.
Each of the next three newsletters will provide summaries of subject matter in Shift's chapters. The purpose is to provide synopses of the book's content so readers can decide if the material is sufficiently relevant that they may wish to purchase it....for personal use, to give as a gift, to recommend to others interested in ending war, to use as a textbook.
Shift covers two broad subject areas: why we make war, and why and how we can end war. It is available as a softcover book from Amazon.com and as a Kindle download from CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com.
PART I - WHY WE MAKE WAR
Why I Wrote This Book
Chapter 1 opens with an explanation of the author's motivation for writing Shift and why the global community needs a major paradigm shift in how we resolve major conflicts.
Examples of the power to bring about major cultural transformation using nonviolent social activism are introduced.
Because the approach Shift takes to this subject is strongly biological, a recounting of the author's qualifications-training and experience-leads to an illustrative, real-world example of the relationship of genes to behavior, viz. the responses of male Laughing Gulls to an extremely altered (new) breeding environment in which the sex ratio was sufficiently skewed that two males formed a pair-bond and successfully reared two chicks. This example of behavioral flexibility is relevant for insight into whether making war is an evolved "adaptation," or an unintended (and not inevitable) consequence of placing individuals with sufficiently complex nervous systems in radically altered environments: change the social environment to eliminate features that elicit the behavior and the behavior will cease.
The chapter concludes with a preview of chapter subjects to be covered.
Psychological Causes of War
In Chapter 2 war is defined as used in Shift and is distinguished from murder, revenge killings, raiding, dueling, or ritualized juridical "battles."
The causes of war can be studied on three levels: psychological causation, proximate causation, and ultimate causation. This chapter briefly reviews psychological causation, including a definition of and characteristics of a "warmonger," issues of group emotions and group psychology that lead to and are characteristic of a community at war, and the relationship of "masculinity" to war.
Proximate Causes of War
Proximate causation is explored in Chapter 3, the question being, what are the immediate triggers for wars?
Twelve of many theories historically offered as causes (biological, political, economic) are listed and briefly described (e.g., it's a genetic trait, for revenge, for power and status, out of fear of lack of resources, etc.).
Stressed is that there are many such causes and addressing them will be integral to any plan for ending war, pointing out that the cornerstones of an ending-war plan that addresses all proximate causes will be presented in subsequent chapters.
Peace, often thought to be war's opposite, is defined, and an explanation is offered for why a campaign to end war is not the same as waging peace.
Ultimate Causes of War
Ultimate causation refers to the biological roots of war. Chapter 4 is the longest causation discussion and reflects Shift's biological orientation.
Highlighted are biological differences between men and women in how the two sexes relate to using physical violence. The clear differences are the result of reproductive pressures and priorities caused by the fact that females of all species produce a relatively limited number of eggs compared to the numbers of sperm produced by males, and that human females can bear and rear a limited number of offspring compared to human males.
The chapter reviews the link between genes and observed behavior, and how traits of men and women can be compared using the bell curve. After reviewing relevant neurobiology and observed behavioral differences between human males and females, a "female preference for social stability hypothesis" is presented to explain why war is overwhelmingly a male preoccupation and activity. Several means to test this hypothesis are suggested.
Aggression is defined, and positive aspects of human aggression are briefly mentioned.
Stressed is that to be successful in achieving the goal to end war we need to understand our biology as well as our cultures.
About A Future Without War
We want to provide newsletter readers with a reminder about our extensive website, www.afww.org. The materials can be a reference for personal use, something to share with friends or colleagues who doubt that it would ever be possible to abolish war, and as thought pieces to stimulate discussions, for example, by your students, a book group, or peace activist organizations. You will find on the site:
"No peace can endure if women are not afforded a central role."
John Kerry, United States Secretary of State - March 6, 2014
A Good Book
War, Peace, and Human Nature: The Convergence of Evolutionary and Cultural Views.
Edited by Douglas P. Fry. 2013.
Chapters from a wide range of scholars look at war through the lenses of anthropology, archaeology, sociology, political science and more to understand the causes of war the the potential for peace.
A Good YouTube Video
The Evolution of a Global Peace System.
A video based on historian Kent Shifferd's book From War to Peace and produced by the War Prevention Initiative of the Jubitz Family Foundation. It outlines over 20 historical events and trends that are part of the progress we have already made toward a global peace system and the emergence of a global spirit that is reaching out for peace.
A Future Without War
Believe in it.
Work for it.
And we will achieve it.
These three quick links are to Dr. Hand's core articles on paradigm shift:
To Abolish War
Shaping the Future
Paradigm Shift: Swift and Enduring
How Long Ending War Would Take
Why Women Are the Key to Security
The Nine Cornerstones
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