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From the Great Hall of the Cooper Union in New York City. National Educational radio presents the Cooper Union forum series on peace love and creativity the hope of mankind. Here now is the chairman of the Cooper Union forum Dr. Johnson E. Fairchild for our program. The topic of discussion this evening has to do with the causes of war and it's certainly one of the most important things which we can talk about today and perhaps at any time in the world. And our speaker is the beloved and famous doctors saw how to word
Dr. Petter word who is chairman of the prominent political and social science of the new school graduates faculty. Professor There obviously has a background that has something to do with Chicago University. And the new school has numerous fellowship such as the Guggenheim and Rockefeller. And he was better in such places as the University of California. And the Ethical Culture Society and a large number of very important places which I'm not going to mention because they're too numerous to list you spoken here at Cooper Union on other occasions. And we're always very delighted that he can come back to us. He is author of a large number of things starting off with the genius of America. The experiment in Germany Jefferson's secret diplomacy. I would
say about 15 to 16 important pieces many articles and many things. I am always going to welcome my friend and remote colleague Dr assault. However back to the Cooper Union forum that's a forum. Good evening. Thank you very much that for a child of this introduction. I'm going to do something tonight which I practically never do. I'm using a manuscript and using a manuscript because the fabric is of special importance and I wanted to structure it very carefully and also because it's going to be recorded and I didn't want to sound idiotic. So I put it down on paper however you can get at me when I get through with this.
You can get at many questions which will not be dependent upon a manuscript. My subject tonight seems political is really not political. I've attempted to make a kind of socio historical socio political psychological kind of scientific at times analysis of humans. My center and what we can do about it. My central theme is human violence which has been manifested throughout recorded history and war which is one form of violence. I define war as systematize violence organized for purposes of imposing one's will on an opponent
using weapons made available at any given time by the existing technology. I define weapons. To which an extension of human especially and and large ing and multiplying man's power for destruction. The 20th century a period of magnificent triumphs of science and fabulous advances in technology has also been an age of vast the struct of Ness on a global scale. It had been an era of mass murder. Now it has been a century of war including total war in some way. The 20th century has been worse than anything that has preceded it in Western
civilization or perhaps any civilization. I say words because of the brutality of our time the annihilation of human life the destruction of centers of civilization has been organized and carried out not by illiterate mediæval savages on horseback but by educated men equipped with the most sophisticated machines and the most complex inventions of science. I calculate. That in the 67 years of this century there has hardly been a single year without war civil war or revolution or other form of organized violence in some part of the earth or other. The names of the wars bring to mind their geographic spread.
One thinks of the Boer War the Russia Japanese war the Balkan wars one thinks of war in Morocco and Manchuria China. Two of the wars of our century have been major world conflicts that cost at a minimum perhaps 30 million lives. Most of the victims have been civilians including noncombatant men women and children starved to death murdered in concentration camps burned and incinerated in fires of death from the skies. Other forms of system violence have been those of internal revolutions are civil wars. Some of them notably those of Russia China and Spain were unrestrainedly Faberge and their murderousness one
war that of Vietnam began more. More than 20 years ago and still goes on with hardly a baited brutality. Some of it mind was and accidental. Some of it calculated. I could I could go on and record other wars and then think what the. And in the Middle Ages. But I don't need to record all that. I think we can simply establish it as a fact. That man has been a kind of a murdering animal and in the modern twentieth century he has not changed very much. Now the question is simply why. Up to our own day which is to say before the
development of such sciences anthropology biology psychology ecology and other disciplines dealing with man's behavior and werent up to it this are the prevailing opinion was that the human being was not merely an aggressive animal but and then apparently aggressive animals. It was believed that man was born with great passions with hate and violence in the very marrow of his being. And since there is a great deal of human nature in man he is capable of any brutality against his fellow man. And the ironic words of the Spanish writer servant and down everyone of God made him and often a great deal worse. And then here again the record
proves it. Modern science does help to corroborate much of it. Studies of birds fish and animals generally show that animal care either in defense of the territory. But one writer has referred to us the territorial imperative or for food animals including the much maligned Iraq. There are like you know for the sake of killing. Indeed many species of animals among them the rat and the wolf. Have a strongly developed sense of family relationship and not infrequently a tender regard for their own kind. When animals hero they generally kill outsiders outside animals when they are directly threatened and or out of
sheer necessity for survival when they're hungry. Animals rarely kill indiscriminately rarely kill for pleasure or for sport. Our first so called Glory are out of sheer hate. Only man does that. And now the question is Why is that instinct. Is that another word for a biologically inherited trait to kill transmitted from generation to generation for tens of thousands of years. Now science care and the older concept of instinct and particularly the biological transmission of what geneticists refer to as unit characters it is believed
today that so called human nature. But the phrase is if one of them precise meaning the phrase human nature it is believed today. Human characteristics and behavior patterns are not something biologically fixed as a unit but are in constant process of evolution and subject to great variations. There is in fact no single human nature. There are different varieties of such nature conditioned not merely by genes but also by Veyron meant in this context. It is possible to say that will which is to say organized killing is culturally induced rather than biologically determined. It was therefore not accurate to speak of the existence of a human
instinct to kill other humans or for that matter to kill animals. A case indeed can be made for the opposite. One can argue that if Nature had intended man to be an instinctive killer it would have provided him with the physical equipment to do so. Actually men have no such natural weapons. Man has neither the teeth of a shark nor the claws of a hawk nor the beak of a vulture nor the muscles of a tiger in a natural state. Man if in fact I'd be fence less animal. But word man has differed from other animals as in his possession of reason and imagination.
Man's brain has given him the Abdellah to create substitutes for his bodily for his physical weakness. This it has been enabled man to invent a weapon from the stone knife to the hydrogen bomb. And this has given man an overwhelming advantage over all other animals including a left where armed members of his own species. It has made it possible for man to kill at will and the worst of all it has provided him with a constant temptation to do so. Now the irony here is that men lacking they kill it. I'm tired of lacking the killing instinct also seems to lack its concomitant namely the restraining factor Conrad Lorentz and his recently published the book
aggression which is a pioneer work by a famous European naturalist. Points out that in the animal kingdom members of the same species rarely fight to the death they will fight but rarely to the vet. This is an observation also made by the Roman poet. You are now almost 2000 years ago. I quote him he said What stronger ally and I ever took the life for my weaker ally in what forest what had ever known that a small bore by the teeth of a larger bone that's not known. An animal in fact in a fight. Feeling itself losing makes a gesture of submission and the winners no matter how and raids he may be is forced by some instinct to accept the submissive gesture and
spare the life of the loser. But this is not true of men. None. And thank the man. However it has no such belt and prohibition. He has no internal monitor or to tell him automatically when to stop. In war he fights to kill and he fights and kills for no particular purpose. After all this is sad however it should be made clear that even though man may not have a biologically inherited urge for violence he does seem to have something close to it they have a cousin or second cousin to the end things I would call it does not think I would call it a learning kept perfectly to kill and even to enjoy doing the learning capacity whether its roots or origin
man's proclivity for violence is well established throughout history and must be reckoned with. To put it in negative light if violence and strain and cruelty did not somehow somehow appeal to human beings men would have revolted against them centuries ago or thousands of years ago. But quite the contrary. Men have gone and as we have seen practicing and refining the arts of violence they have not only practiced violence but I have also honored the violence and numerous symbols and even great literature they have put up unless monuments to the practitioners of violence there were a number of books and poems and legends and what have you. I venture to say that for every one book or article on a Newton or an
Einstein there are 100000 on the podium. Now it is this proclivity that we have to add to this proclivity that we have to address ourselves. It's not an instinct I say a proclivity a tendency. Obviously it is not sufficient merely to condemn and to deplore as has been done for generations by high minded and noble persons. Pacifist movements have had limited success if they have been in effect mainly because they have tended to appeal to a lofty idea lesson while over looking the earthy passions and their individual psychological reality in man. Theologians to have faith and for about the same reason they have talked about the so including the sinful so and have
ignored the urges of the body the preaching of brotherly love and the brotherhood of man has been almost worse than useless for in the absence of the practice of love the word itself becomes cheapened and sounds hypocritical. It is surely clear by now that violence and aggression cannot be exercised by frightening us by nice words or resolution. Nor Can war be outlawed with words no matter how noble sounding or inspired. Something else is necessary. Why this is necessary. First of all it is an understanding of the whole problems of violence and aggression including the fact that it contains elements of social utility and that it is not on pleasing to the human be.
About this we have to be realistic. The first step then if to recognize and accept such reality. The next step is to attempt to explore possibilities for a media ration based on psychological reality. Let us then start with a candid recognition of the existence of human violence and aggression. The source of violence is buried deep in Man Psycho biological makeup. But for the purposes of our discussion we may say that it springs from some form of prostration. Here we made for purely illustrative purposes construct a chain of causation. We can say something like this that when the ego is somehow inhibited and it urges it becomes frustrated. Frustration if continuously repressed
leads to hate. If hate is provided with an outlet and stimulate it it results in violence and aggression. Let me now point out three types of violence which with which we have to reckon there is private violence criminal violence and the publicly organized violence not private violence involved. Individual fighting including such hospital personnel and counters as doing what used to take place in the old days and hunting for sport nowadays. This type of aggression generally has not been illegal. More often than not that has been socially acceptable and even condoned. This is the first type private violence now the second type of violent
criminal violence is also a person know it is individual aggression committed against another human being in violation of existing law and orderly patterns of behavior. Aggressors of this type are considered criminal and are treated as such by society. Every civilized society has laws against criminal aggression. Generally if caught a criminal aggressor is tried by courts courts of law and when found guilty they are usually imprisoned or executed. This is the second type of criminal violence. But I am concerned about the third type of violence that which is publicly organized and approved namely will more as an institution. First of all let's ask ourselves what are the costs. Why don't men organize to
fight and kill. Motives are not simple. Even in primitive societies primitive people wage war for a variety of reasons and then financially they're rarely economic reasons and primitive society primitive men fight for excitement or status or antipathy for the neighboring tribe or white feeling or revenge. In non primitive societies motivations may differ in shading but not in fact. Thomas Hobbes and his Leviathan shrewdly the third and three principal causes of war among men he said. He said this is what we called competition diffidence and glory competition he wrote meant a desire for gain diffidence involved a search for safety and glory
thirst for reputation.
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Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind
The causes of war, part one
Producing Organization
WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program features the first part of a lecture by Saul K. Padover, New School for Social Research.
Series Description
This series presents lectures from the 1968 Cooper Union Forum. This forum's theme is Peace, Love, Creativity: The Hope of Mankind.
Social Issues
War and Conflict
Media type
Producing Organization: WNYC (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
Speaker: Fairchild, Johnson E.
Speaker: Padover, Saul Kussiel, 1905-1981
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-10-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:10
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Chicago: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The causes of war, part one,” 1968-01-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The causes of war, part one.” 1968-01-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Peace, love, creativity: Hope of mankind; The causes of war, part one. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from