Whole theories of conflict are built on a “study” that supposedly proved an inhibition in killing each other. There’s a problem with it…
Regardless of the status of the oft-voiced reluctance—inherent at the genetic level, or culturally conditioned—the fact is, it is a very real concern for a lot of people (FYI, before anyone starts citing BG SLA “Slam” Marshall, do more background research into the repudiations of his “research.”).
If you won’t listen to me, listen to him. After all, he knows a bit about killing folks.
Most of the really deadly carnivore species seem to have a deep reluctance to use their built-in lethal hardware in intraspecies conflict, and this makes sense; if lions or wolves went to full-throttle throat-rippin’ every time there was a question of who got to use the drinking fountain first, pretty soon there wouldn’t be any more lions or wolves.
Thing is, we’re not long-term dues-paying members of the Really Deadly Carnivore Species Union. We just moved into the neighborhood relatively recently and where we were living before, we could get pretty medieval on each other to sort out social problems without worrying about accidentally killing the other monkey.
Ever since we figured out how to tie sharp rocks to sticks, we’ve been reliant on learned social behaviors to serve as a check on our capacity to do lethal harm in an eyeblink, and those learned behaviors can be a pretty thin veneer at times. Some folks never seem to get the hang of them at all.
Anybody who has read Ordinary Men or who owned a television set between April and July of 1994 should sprain their eye-rolling muscles every time they hear this theory that human beings have a “hard-wired” reluctance to harm other humans.