The natural history of peace

A couple newly scanned articles were added to the archive of articles on peaceful societies at Peaceful this morning. Of greatest general interest is one called “The Natural History of Peace: A Positive View of Human Nature and Its Potential,” by Leslie Sponsel.

Sponsel reviews a vast range of literature to support his argument that peace is an essential part of the human experience. While he does not deny the obvious reality of violence and warfare in the past and present, his evidence casts strong doubts on many of the arguments made by those who maintain that humanity is intrinsically violent. The author reviews literature from biology, primate ethology, human ethology, human paleontology, prehistoric archaeology, ethnology and ethnography to make several critical conclusions: that human violence is not inevitable; that warfare is not universal; that peacefulness prevails, and has prevailed, in many societies; and that humans, by nature, can be either peaceful or violent.

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