Warfare: An Invention or a Biological Necessity?

776 Words Feb 1st, 2018 3 Pages
“Warfare is only an invention, not a biological necessity” - Margaret Mead
Instinctivist theories on human aggressiveness often promote the notion that warfare is in the nature of humankind and therefore cannot be prevented. However Margaret Mead eloquently refuted this idea in her renowned essay Warfare: an Invention – Not a Biological Necessity. Mead states, “War is inevitable unless we change our social system and outlaw classes, the struggle for power, and possessions; and in the event of our success warfare would disappear, as a symptom vanishes when the disease is cured.” Through this statement Mead makes it clear that because aggression and subsequently warfare is a learned invention, it can be avoided. For the purposes of this essay, aggression will be defined as “a response that delivers noxious stimuli to another organism.” This essay will outline how and why aggression, and thus warfare, is not biological and is rather a behaviour that is learned as a reaction to social stimuli. Furthermore, it will be explained that violence is used by societies as a political weapon to achieve ostensible objectives.
There are two main arguments supporting the idea that aggression and violence are biological and therefore inevitable in our world. In their essay Genetic Seeds of Warfare: Evolution, Nationalism and Patriotism, Paul Shaw and Wong Yuwa, in a darwinistic approach to human nature , argue that aggression is natural in the animal…
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