Nature of Violence

I love Radiolab. I know I mention it all the time. The latest podcast examines the roots of violence. One can do this sociologically, in the case of humans; also with cold scientific observation. The scientist interviewed in the piece, Jeffrey Lockwood, talks about the need for objectivity when studying creatures in science. He examines his relationship with an ultra-violent species of cricket and his former professor, who taught him that to study anything one must put aside emotion. The essay this podcast is based on is here:

I'm of the opinion that there is no "senseless violence". It all makes sense when examined deep enough. And I know this infuriates people, particularly when discussing issues like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Laziness compels us to say this or that act of violence was senseless, just like intellectual laziness compels us to say the cause of everything is "God". It was "God's Will". I guess this is going back to something that Hume articulated about causation. We, as thinking beings, need and expect a cause for everything. We need to understand it, and when it is too deep, or too challenging, we take a short cut to "God" or "senselessness". I've come to accept the hard truth that terrible things happen in life, and there is always a reason, a concatenation of events leading up to it. I don't justify violence in this way. It just gives me a sense of equanimity.

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Radiolab Podcast Articles – Killer Empathy
Sometimes being a good scientist requires putting aside your emotions. But what happens when objectivity isn't enough to make sense of a seemingly senseless act of violence? In this short, Jad and…

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2 Responses to Nature of Violence

  1. donna marsh February 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Watch out for the one about the ants. My daughter and I listened, and it made us both cry.

  2. Drew Minh February 9, 2012 at 12:59 am #

    +donna marsh Do you have a link to that episode? A search brings up several episodes which involve ants.

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