Why Violence Has Declined Summary By Steven Pinker

The Better Angels of Our Nature


black lives matter

Murder, rape, robbery, child abuse - nowadays, this news is heard.  It seems as if this world is not worth living at all. 

But is it so?  Is humanity dead from the world?  Is there any hope left now?  Or the media exaggerates every crime to increase its population.

But Steven Pinker believes that the world is much safer today than it was centuries ago.  We are not killing our neighbors for food.  We are not burning women alive as witches.

We are not sacrificing humans to worship any devil.  Of course, there are many parts of the world where fights are taking place, but this is not the norm, besides the world is avoiding using nuclear weapons.

Steven Pinker studies the trend of Violence using science and statistic.  They have got many such proofs which show that in the world the violence has already reduced. 

Looking at the perspective of history, today we are living in a more secure and peaceful society than in the past.

In this Book, you will get to read about six trends.  Due to these major developments in the past, the level of violence has reduced. 

This is Six Trends, the Pacific Process, the Civilizing Process, the Humanitarian Revolution, the Long Peace, the New Peace, and the Rights Revolution.

In this book, you will also read about the Four Better Angels who try to keep humans away from violations.  Human birth is neither good nor bad. 

But we have four battery angels which prevent us from killing others.  This is Empathy, Self Control, Moral Senses, and Region.

The Pacification Process

In 1991, two explorers found a dead body buried under snow.  He put the idea that maybe this man had an accident while skiing.

He called the rescuers.  Rescue workers take out bodies from a jackhammer.  But when the archaeologist said that the body is 5000 years old, everyone was surprised.

And this dead body was named Otzi the IceMen. And when Time magazine featured Otji on its cover, it became an international celebrity overnight.

Many articles, books, and documentaries were made on it. Apart from Neolithic Copper X, the archaeologist had also found a backpack, a backpack filled with arrows, a flint to fire, and a wooden handle knife from Orji.

He wore paint and a hat made of animal skin.  He also wore leather shoes.  The special thing about these shoes was that there was grass inside them so that the feet would not get cold.

Nearly a decade after Otzi's discovery, a group of radiologists got an interesting insight.  It died of an arrow on the shoulder.  He did not die by slipping on the ice. 

It was murdered. The CSI Neolithic team further investigated this. Ontji's head, hands, and chest were found with bruises.

Bloodstains were also found in his knives, arrows, and hats which belonged to different people. The scientist analyzed his DNA.  He figured out that Otzi must have killed a man with an arrow.

And must have raised his body on the shoulder, then he must have killed another man.  Then another comrade must have carried him on the shoulder with blood on his cap.

After that, Otzi may have also been hit by an arrow that led to his death. It was a member of the Redding Party in The Icemen Actual, whose clansmen attacked another clan.

In prehistoric times, people used to attack each other like this.  Thomas Hobbes, the classical work Leviathan, believes that pre-historic Humans fought among the three regions. 

First because of competition, second protection, and third glory i.e. victory pride.

Early Humans often fought among themselves because of three things, food, territory, and partners.  They also used to fight to save their clan.  And at times, they used to fight only to do their power shows. 

And the specification rules are "Don't Strike First" and Pose a Credible Threat ".  Man and animal is a survival machine.

If someone hits us, we kill him in defense.  But the Violence is avoided by the Threat of Revenge.  Today's person will think twice before looking at someone's food, his area, or his wife.

If you do not want someone to attack you, do not attack first, and show that no one can snatch what you own.

Richard Dawkins, the author of Selfish Genre, says, "Human is not naturally bloodthirsty because whenever he has shed blood either for the cervix or for a strategy.

Like Otzi the Icemen, there are other prehistoric discoveries.  Evidence of warfare has been found in all the archaeological sites found in the world.  Steven Pinker explains this through a graph...

In prehistoric times, the death rate of those who died in warfare was up to 60%.  Of this, Hunter-Gatherer time had a death rate of just 30%.  And this rate had reached 60% by the time Hunter Hunter came from Agriculture time. 

The highest signature death rate was during the making of the new states, which was only 10%.

The Civilizing Process

 You would think that during the Agri Culture Revolution, people will live in small beautiful villages comfortably.  By coming to the Middle Ages, Europeans no longer had to hunt or wander in search of food.

Because they had learned to cultivate and raise animals.  Therefore, a middle-aged human was not worried about food.  But it is also true that man was no longer as free as before.  Many people became slaves due to increasing agricultural work and the settling of new cities.

These slaves worked hard so that the merchant and noble class could get food and other facilities.  This was the lifestyle of the people in middle age. 

Norbert Elias, a sociologist, tells us about the violations that occur at that time.  He has studied the art and literature of the Middle Ages.

There is a German menu named "The Medieval Housebook" which was published in 1475.  This book has written about the daily life of Europeans of the Middle Ages.  In one picture, a farmer is cutting a horse.

A man and a woman are being tortured in stocks on his left.  And a dead body is placed on them which the crows are eating.  The dead body of that dead man is tied to the wheel.

And a man is being hanged in his right.  Stocks, broken wheels, and hanging noose were common tools for torturing and decorating which were used in the middle ages.

In another picture of the same book, several nights are shown together attacking a village.

On the lower left side, a night is killing a farmer.  Beside him is a chapel i.e. church where another night is stabbing another farmer.  In the middle of this drawing is a man whose hands are tied with a rope.

And tying it with a night horse is pulling it.  At the top, several Nites are seen burning a farmhouse.  One of them is killing the farmer and his wife, while the other night is taking all his farm animals.

You might not have been told in the history class that the Nights were warlords who tortured the common public and beat them up.  The middle edge in Europe ranged from about 470 CE to 1400 CE.  Many states were created during this time.

The king was just by name, the real power was in the hands of barons and knights. These people used to have a lot of land. He used to get farming done by poor farmers on their lands.

Farmers had to first grow deciduous grains in a particular amount and give it to the landlords, even if there was a drought or flood.  Apart from this, these nights used to attack each other to strike each other's land.

The reason behind this was that if you take possession of the land of another night, then kill all its farmers and waste the entire crop, so that it does not get full revenue.  But after this, it is sure that he too will take full revenge on you.

So here we can see the pattern of Leviathan.  Fit for competition, protection, and glory.  These nights used to openly fight among themselves to show their power and made the people in front feel a fear.

But we have been reading this till now that Nights, Bravery, and Honor are other names.  But now the truth is in front of you.

Many innocent victims were killed in the fight between these Nites. Sociologist Norbert Elias has found another evidence of barbarism in Middle Age Literature.  He has got some such manuals which were written in the middle age.

These books give us a lot of information about the people of that time.  In one word, we can call the daily routine of Europeans "Gros".  Here we are telling some reminders written in these books.

'Do not urinate in corridors or cupboards, do not touch your private parts in public, do not use tablecloths to clean your nose, do not spit in the bowl, do not eat like a pig, do not grease a person while potty.

"Do not put your finger inside the sauce, do not suck the bone back in the plate, do not lick the fingers after eating, rather clean them with bread or with your coat, do not spit the bone in your hand while eating, nose while eating  Do not put the finger in it, do not use the knife like a toothpick.

So now let's come back to Steven Pinker's theory.  Even if the Nights were committing daily robbery and murder, the homicide rate in Europe was still significantly lower than the societies that were still in the stage of haunting Gathering.  And over time the homicide rate kept decreasing.

Steven Pinker showed by drawing a graph that the homicidal rate has dropped significantly in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, England and Scandinavia since the 1200th century.

During the 1300 century in Europe, there were only 80 people killed in every 100,000 people killed. This rate was even lower in the Kung Tribe of Africa and the Inuit Tribe of the Arctic.

In the Kung Tribe, till now only 100 people were killed out of every 100,000 people. And in the meantime, the Homicide rate among the people of the Inuit Tribe of the Arctic was 600 out of every 100,000 people. 

Therefore, Evidence proves that in the Middle Ages the computer of the rest of the Tribal Societies had low Violence and Barbaric.

Norbert Elias says that one of the reasons for this was the downfall of Leviathan rule and the rise of commerce.  Due to these two reasons, people went on becoming more civilized over time. 

The concept of money and contracts was now becoming more used. There was also a lot of change from inventions of technology like Rhodes and Ghari.

Now competition in business and trade was no longer as dreadful.  By the end of the Middle Ages, merchants, bureaucrats, and artists had replaced nites and landlords. 

In the 1400th century, the homicide rate was reduced to 40 people out of every 100,000.

The Humanitarian Revolution

 If you are thinking of going to Italy, then you might want to go to MusoodellaTortura San Gimignano in San Gimignano.  This is a large interest museum where more than 150 torture instruments are placed on the display.

Some of them are real and some are duplicates. And how they were used is also told to you here. There is a Judas cradle here which is like a small tower made of wood.  It has a sharp point at the end.

It was used for torture.  First Victim's clothes were removed and then his hands and feet were tied to the wall.  An iron belt was tied in his waist, which kept swinging in the air.

After that, the real torture started.  Sharp points were inserted into the vagina or anus of the Victim.  And until he confessed his crime, he was not taken down. Till then he used to hang it in the air like this.

For so long, his muscles started hurting and he had to suffer a lot of pain.

The Virgin of Nuremberg is a special type of iron maiden. When the Victim was kept in it, all the spikes would enter his body except the Vital Organs.

The victim used to scream with pain as soon as the steel spikes penetrated inside the muscles.  The body used to bleed and Victim used to suffer a lot before dying.  This was a punishment in which death was gradual.

Another torcher instrument was the Spanish tickler, a long stick with steel hooks attached at the end. The Victim was tied with a bare body wall.  Then the torches used to tear his flesh with the ticker.

Then the Victim was cut in half with saws so that his feet were tied to the bar and his body was hanging upside down.  The torturer used to cut his private part in half from head to head.

There was no system of court trials or arrest warrants in middle age.  If you have committed a crime, you were tortured in this way.  The use of these methods of Tocher was common.

This was the way of Punishment throughout Europe.  Other methods of punishment included branding, blinding, and slashing the tongue.

Doing two parts of the body tied to horses or tied to wood to burn life.  We get to read about all these methods in coffee table books like "Torrent in Art" and "Inquisition".

There are more interesting facts to be read in history.  Between 1095 and 1208, people were murdered in the name of religion and jihad.  The Catholic Church snatched Jerusalem from the Muslims. 

In which close to one million Muslim Turks were killed.  These jihadis did not spare the people of the Jewish community.

The Witch Hunt began in the 1400th century.  People who were suspected of being witches, people would burn her alive and kill her.  The witch hunt spread throughout Europe, in which more than 100,000 women were killed.

People used to make false accusations about these women as if these children steal them and eat them, ruin the crops or overturn the ships moving in the sea. 

It was believed that these women fly on a tall broom and worship the devil.  The Last Witch Hunt took place in 1749.

Spanish inquiries took place in the 15th and 18th centuries.  It targeted those Catholics who had earlier followed Islam or Judaism.  The Church and Monarchy of Spain declare that these people are Heretics.  Which means that these people will return to their religion.

There were many other types of forced arrests in Europe before, but the Spanish Inquisition was the most dangerous, in which 350,000 people were badly tortured and killed.

But after 1800, all these social evils such as torture, witch hunt, inquiries, and slavery disappeared from Europe.  And that's why it is called the Humanitarian Revolution.

England was the first country to ban Torture Punishment in 1700 and then in 1850, Russia was the last.  There is also an amazing fact that in 1875, slavery came to an end all over the world.

So how come there was such a sign fi cant decrease in the violence?  What regions were behind the Humanitarian Revolution, the Age of Reason, and the Enlightenment of the 18th Century?  So the answer can be given in one word "Education".

Johannes Gutenberg invented a movable printing press in 1440.  Since then, book production in Europe has been increasing with every century.  In 1775, there were only 3000 English Books published in every Decade.  But in 1800, this number increased to close to 7000.

And in 1900 100% women and men were educated in England.  Ideas of great thinkers like Voltaire and Thomas Panne changed the minds of people.  And the final Europeans realize how ridiculous it is to accuse a woman of flying by sitting on a broom.

The Long Peace

 So do you still think that today's world is more violent than before, then we give you some more evidence.  Long Peace started after World War II.

Five countries could produce and use nuclear weapons but none of them has done so far.  According to experts, the chances are low that there may be a World War III.

Arnold Toynbee is a famous British Historian.  In 1950, he said that the war is increasing with a lot of intensity in history.  Its proof is the destruction in World War II.  Toynbee believes that worse remains to be done.

Meanwhile, Lewis Fry Richardson, an applied mathematician.  And who is famous for weather prediction using maths, he has done it right without the help of a computer.

Richardson has also propounded the future of the world with statistics and mathematics.

In 1950, he said, "Humanity will be able to survive for a very long time without any world war".  And they also say that there will be a nuclear war, there is no guarantee.

Today, we know which one of Toyambi and Richardson is correct.  The entire 70 years of Word War II have passed.  No other city was ruined like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Since 1950, the average war durations between the world's great powers have decreased.  The cold war is also over now.  Since 2000, the average duration between Allied and Axis Powers has reached zero.

If you still fear that this world will end with nuclear war one day, just remember this number.  Because to date, no country has used nuclear weapons in the fight.  Five countries together could have dropped a lot of atomic bombs, yet no one did it.

Since 1953, Great Powers like America, Germany, Russia have not fought among themselves.  And Zero Bar Development Countries have attacked small countries to increase their temperature.  And it has not happened since 1940.  Zero number since 1975 when partial invasions have taken place.

Indeed, we cannot tell what will happen in the future. But many experts agree that the chances of having a big war in the future are quite low.  The world is indeed going through a long-term period.  And this has never happened in the history of humanity.

What is the secret of this long piece?  What is the biggest change from this?  Great thinkers like Immanuel Kant believe that humans have finally learned a lesson.  War is not the best solution.  And now more and more countries are moving towards democracy.

In a democracy, the power of decision-making is equally divided between the government and the people.  So now this world is becoming more Democratic. 

Today every country of the world is afraid of a situation like war and man has learned a lot from his mistakes.

 The New Peace

 Now, let's talk about Civil Wars, Mass Killing, and Terrorism which were happening since 1950.  And its example is Genocide and Mass Murder in Rwanda and Central Africa which took place in 1994 and the 9/11 attack in America in 2001, which no one can forget.

If you make a graph of the Arm Conflict, then you will find that in today's world, Civil War, Colonial War, and Interstate War have reduced much earlier.  And the number of people who died due to these conflicts has also fallen by 90%.

At the time of 1940, 500 thousand people died in battle every year.  Which was reduced to just 30000 of the year in early 2000.

In 1945, four out of every 100,000 people died in Genocide.  In 1994, just 20 people out of every 100,000 were killed in Rwanda.  And until 2007, the number of people who died from Genocide was Almost Zero.

In 2001, the number of people who died of terrorism was 0.10 out of 100,000, which by 2007 had reduced further. This death rate is for every country in the world except Afghanistan.

So what do these numbers offer?  It is known that worldwide warfare, genocide, and terrorism have reduced the violations to a great extent. 

It is not that the world has changed completely today.  Conflicts occur in the world even today, but still, we can say them much less than in the old times.

The Rights Revolutions

The Right Revolution began in 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Now we have everything from civil rights to women's rights, children's rights, and gay nights.  Because of the movements that have taken place since 1960, today we have all these rights.

Today, the world is a safer place than ever, whether it is race or gender.  Today many laws have been made for the good of children and animals. 

In today's world, Hate Crimes, Reps, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, and Animal Abuse have been much less in number than in previous centuries.

There was a time when it was a normal thing to be strict with domestic violence and children.  But today it is a punishable crime. Same-sex marriage has now been legalized in all 50 states of America. But no one could even think of this till the 1970s.


 Do you still think that we are living in a Dangerous World?  We hope that after reading this book, maybe your mind has changed.

Today's present generation, that is, we have to become the Batter Angels of Nature of this world.  And for this, we have to use quality such as empathy, self-control, Moral sense, and regions within us.

Of course, it seems a stereotyped dialogue that the future of the world is in our hands.  But this is true.  Because we have the power to vote so that we can choose leaders who can maintain peace in the world, who can save this world from the next world war and nuclear weapons.

We have that power in our hands that we should choose lawmakers who protect every citizen of our country, whether women or men, children, transgenders, and animals.  No person should be discriminated against based on his color, caste, or gender.

There should be nothing wrong with a child.  Every child of this world should be safe and healthy.  The soul of any living being does not hurt.  May everyone is happy and live freely  Angels are in this world, and if you want, you can take away someone's pain and become their angel.

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