Introduction: The Violence Paradox (04:59)
Modern humans live in the most peaceful era. Steven Pinker has studied numerous datasets, finding that violent death rates have decreased by 90%. Other experts state his claims are overarching; past demographics and records are difficult to ascertain.
Nataruk, Kenya (04:58)
Archaeologist Marta Mirazon Lahr excavates the 10,000-year-old site, finding bone fragments from 27 individuals; analysis reveals signs of violent deaths. The assailants used tools made from materials unavailable in the region, providing evidence of a planned raid.
Ancient Inheritance (11:09)
Worldwide paleolithic records reveal violent deaths; murder was three times more likely 50,000 years ago. Pinker describes human history as a struggle between impulse and control. Experiments confirm that aggression and morality developed through evolution.
First Reductions in Violence (05:48)
Agriculture created larger populations and governments, curbing certain cycles. Authorities found that promoting peace among followers was beneficial. Violence continues in religion and entertainment; revenge stimulates the ventral striatum.
Civilizing Process (09:35)
During the Middle Ages, written records prevalent in Western Europe allowed the study of homicide rates. Historical Criminologist Manuel Eisner found a dramatic drop over the last 800 years. Researchers link strong prefrontal cortex with self-control.
Civility Paradox and Empathy (11:14)
Europeans became less violent with each other while committing genocide and starting the transatlantic slave trade. State aggression historically included now globally condemned practices. Equality and anti-imperialism concepts emerged during the 18th century with a rise in literacy rates and scientific interests.
Cultural Shift (05:34)
Simon DeDeo analyzed Old Bailey records and found consistent changes on the definitions and prosecutions of crime, reflecting a dissipation of the concept that violence was normal. By the early 20th century, the English expected to peacefully settle differences.
Pacifism and Testosterone (11:06)
World War II was human history's most destructive event, but Mongolian conquests took the highest percentage of lives. Wars have not occurred between major powers since 1953 and nonviolent movements became popularized. Scientists theorize how natural selection against aggression led to species self-domestication.
State and Nonphysical Violence (10:08)
Pinker asserts that aggression is declining but warns against viewing trends as predictions. Nationalism and authoritarianism led to the Holocaust. Stanley Milgram's shock experiment revealed even reluctant people carry out orders. Today, constant media coverage influences public perceptions of crime's prevalence.
Mapping Violence (03:47)
American homicide rates have declined overall; crime is typically concentrated where income inequality is most prevalent. Baltimore residents discuss feedback loops created by revenge. Epidemiologist Gary Slutkin links terrorism and aggressiveness to infectious disease outbreaks in Africa.
Cure Violence Model (11:21)
The Baltimore Safe Streets project treats aggression as a disease, attempting to prevent outbreaks and employing "violence interrupters." Park Heights has seen a drastic reduction in shooting and homicides; 50 sites worldwide have adopted the approach.
Violence Data (08:39)
Congress halted funding for the research of gun violence in America; states with restrictive laws show lower rates of firearm homicides. Influenced by mass shootings, Australia banned assault weapons. Longstanding tensions in the Middle East created hostile situations and terrorism, complicating social solutions.
Facilitating Peace with Familiarity (11:30)
The Qaraqosh people struggle with trust after ISIS performed ethnic cleansing on Christian citizens. The Nineveh Soccer League formed to test the Contact Theory. Program administrators create religiously mixed teams, finding that those members are more likely to socialize and empathize with one another.
Credits: The Violence Paradox (00:52)
Credits: The Violence Paradox
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