I recently heard an enlightening lecture by Harvard Professor Steven Pinker, which got me thinking about the story of peace or lack thereof. Professor Pinker recently published the book “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.” In his lecture, he convincingly shows through historic trends how we have drastically decreased our rate of violence, even if you include all the recent genocides, both world wars and the proliferation of modern weapons from guns to bombs to IEDs (improvised explosive devices).
The data is compelling and it is not even a close call as to the last hundred years being the least violent in recorded and even pre-recorded history. And when you look at data over the last 20 years it is an even greater decrease and even spreading into other categories like the acceptance of civil rights, women’s rights, sexual orientation, etc. Even the reduction of bullying in schools, which was until recently thought of as a “boys will be boys” right of passage is no longer a socially acceptable activity.
Why is it then that our sense of danger in the world from violence so heightened? Continue reading “Peace – the Story the News Missed”