War and Society: Is War a Cultural or Biological Phenomenon? Essay

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War is strongly ingrained into our world today whether we like it or not and while it may seem more prevalent and worse lately considering the advances in technology and the increase in hysteria over security, war is not a recent adjunct to society. That poses the question, where does war come from? As human beings, are we hard-wired biologically to fight each other or is it a behaviour influenced by peers and morals?
What is war? According to the thefreedictionary.com online dictionary, war is described as:
1. a. A state of open, armed, often prolonged conflict carried on between nations, states, or parties.
b. The period of such conflict.
c. The techniques and procedures of war; military science.
2. a. A condition of active
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The question is: is war a part of our biology or is it a cultural phenomenon?
Famous Prussian military theorist Karl von Clausewitz said that "war is the continuation of politics by other means." which supports the idea of war as a culturally influenced situation that is determined by the political power in control. War is a tool in the arsenal of a successful power to use when debating and non-violent persuasion fail to achieve the goals of the power. War is always waged for a reason, war is not a random act of slaughter. It is consequential to both the attacking and defending parties and no matter the amount of casualties, war comes with a heavy price. The financial cost of war is astronomical and the effects of war can be damaging to the political power. This is why war is usually a secondary resort instead of an impulsive decision coming from instinctive biology and not rationale. Biology has shown us that we do have reflexive, self defense mechanisms built in that serve the purpose of defending us from predators. But instead of fighting for a cause initiated out of respect for our self defense, we find these mechanisms being manipulated by the political power in order to gain public support for a war waged for entirely calculated reasons and not based on emotional expression. Denis Diderot, a French philosopher, elaborates on war as a…